Archive for Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Former principal’s license is revoked

February 7, 2007

The Kansas State Board of Education has revoked the license of former Tonganoxie Grade School principal Jerry Daskoski.

In December, Daskoski resigned from his position effective Dec. 31, saying he needed to spend more time with his wife and family.

But Thursday, Kansas State Department of Education attorney Kevin Ireland said Daskoski's license was revoked Jan. 9 in light of felony theft charges filed against him in November 2005 in Wichita. The revocation included Daskoski's license to teach elementary school and work in school administration.

Ireland said Daskoski had filed a petition to appeal his license revocation. Ireland said it's likely the state board will consider Daskoski's request this month.

"That's not the same thing as applying for a new license," Ireland said of Daskoski's petition. "The bottom line is the state board of education acted to revoke his license."

According to the Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office, the charges stem from a Nov. 25, 2005, incident at a Sam's Wholesale Club in Wichita in which Daskoski concealed a $1,555 Sony 31-inch television in a box that had previously held a file cabinet. And he concealed a $188 DVD player into another box that had held a less expensive item.

When he checked out, he paid $160.77 for the item in the file cabinet box and $16.44 for the item in the other box.

Monday, Daskoski said he didn't know why he committed the theft.

"I don't understand why," Daskoski said. "It's not anything that I've ever done before or anything like it, I couldn't begin to explain."

Daskoski started his career with the Tonganoxie school district in 1991 as elementary school assistant principal. Two years later, he was promoted to principal.

The stress of being a principal, he said, gradually led to psychological problems.

He said he has been under the care of a mental health professional for obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, panic attacks and depression. During that time he took prescribed medications for his conditions.

"Being a principal and a principal of a large school was not a positive situation for a person with the emotional challenges that I was dealing with," Daskoski said. "It's kind of like asking a person who's soaked in gasoline to be a firefighter."

The situation ultimately led to two actions that were out of character for him, Daskoski said. He and his wife, Karen, who have been married for 33 years, began to grow apart. His wife asked him to quit his job and take another that was less time-consuming and less stressful.

"I told her that in making more money as an administrator and doubling my salary over that as a teacher, I couldn't afford to quit," Daskoski said.

And in the fall of 2005, Daskoski said, another out-of-character incident occurred -- the shoplifting incident at a Sam's Club in Wichita.

Daskoski was arrested and placed on $2,500 bond, after which he entered into a diversion agreement.

In addition, Daskoski was required to pay $152 for court costs, $33 for jail processing fee and $160 in diversion costs.

Monday afternoon, Daskoski's voice broke as he talked about the felony theft charges, the diversion agreement, his resignation and the revocation of his professional license.

"I am just sorry. It's been my life to serve kids and to serve our teachers, and I feel like that I did something that totally flies in the face of what all I'm about," Daskoski said. "I can't explain why I did it. I've just given up on trying to figure out why. I love Tonganoxie. I love the elementary school and the teachers and students, and it was tough to write that letter (of resignation) and to hand that in. To not go back on January 3 was the hardest thing I have ever experienced in my life."

And though Daskoski has appealed the state board's decision to revoke his license, he's not optimistic.

At any rate, he has other immediate concerns. Daskoski said his wife, Karen, was diagnosed in January with ovarian cancer. She had surgery last week and in about three weeks will begin chemotherapy.

"Here I am to take care of her," Daskoski said. "She had three days where she couldn't even get off the couch, and she's been here in the hospital for four days. Then when she comes home she's going to need a lot of help. ... It's been a godsend that I've been able to be here for Karen."

But still, the knowledge that he resigned his job haunts Daskoski. He feels he let down a community, including the school board and Erickson.

And for Daskoski, who's long been an authority figure whom area children looked up to, he's taking full responsibility for his actions.

"But the bottom line is just like I've always taught the kids," Daskoski said. "We are responsible for what we do. I can say all kinds of things because of the emotional challenges and things like that, but it doesn't take away from what happened. I have to take ownership and responsibility."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.