Terrace Middle School Principal Ousted From Job

The Lakeport Unified School District has removed Terrace Middle School Principal Rachel Paarsch, returning her to a teaching position instead. The reason for Paarsch’s removal is unclear, but her husband told Lake County News that there are “serious” complaints contained in a more than 30-page report that demand further explanation.

Paarsch was removed from her position last Thursday in a 4-0 vote by the school board, just over two years after she assumed the principal’s job. Board member Phil Kirby, who is also her father, recused himself from the vote.

The meeting was both tense and emotional. Nearly 200 people attended, most of them expressing support for Paarsch and questioning the motivations of Superintendent April Leiferman and the Board. Three of its members are currently up for re-election and Paarsch has endorsed their challengers. Likewise, her relationship with Leiferman has been “fractured,” her husband said.

Paarsch was placed on administrative leave on Sept. 24 for reasons that have not been made public. Board President Dennis Darling indicated she could return to a teaching position as of Oct. 5, but Paarsch said she would not be returning that day as she remains on leave.

Paarsch did not offer comment on the decision to remove her as principal of Terrace Middle, but she called the kind words from supportive teachers and parents “encouraging.”

President Darling says there was nothing easy or malicious about the decision to remove Paarsch from her post.

“This was a very difficult matter,” he said. “We gave it our absolute best.”