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Ex-principal suing Canterbury School of Florida

ST. PETERSBURG — The former principal of Canterbury School of Florida's lower school is suing the school, alleging she was fired two months into a yearlong contract without cause. Kathleen Swafford was principal for two years before her termination and wants Canterbury to pay the remainder of her contract.

"The school has, at least through their counsel, said there is no cause for termination," said Swafford's attorney Denis Cohrs of Cohrs Law Group in Clearwater.

In a letter dated March 12, Mac Hall, head of Canterbury wrote: "I would like to start by thanking you for a successful 2009-2010 school year. Because of your dedication and commitment to Canterbury's mission, our students continue to enjoy learning in a sensitive and intellectually challenging environment in spite of the economic challenges we have faced. I am so appreciative of your hard work, patience, and support, and I am looking forward to the upcoming school year." She was terminated shortly after that.

"There has been no answer filed yet so we don't know exactly what their defense will be at this point," said Cohrs, who is waiting for Canterbury's response to the suit.

"Then I guess we'll go to court and find out who's right and who's wrong," Cohrs said. Hall did not respond to questions for this article.

"I thought (Swafford) did a fabulous job. She really was moving that school in the right direction academically," said Beth Spillane, who had two children enrolled at Canterbury before moving to Atlanta this summer. "She had a whole lot of knowledge about talented and gifted children, about developing curriculum and about trends in education."

Swafford, who referred questions to Cohrs, now works at Canterbury Episcopal School in Desoto, Texas.

Nancie Hobby is the new principal of the local Canterbury's lower school, which is at 1200 Snell Isle Blvd. NE, next to St. Thomas Episcopal Church. She has taught there since 1987.

Katherine Snow Smith can be reached at (727) 893-8785 or kssmith@sptimes.com.

Ex-principal suing Canterbury School of Florida 10/02/10 [Last modified: Saturday, October 2, 2010 3:29pm]
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