Abrupt leadership change at Whittier

Anne DePerry had led the magnet school since 2012

WHITTIER — Whittier International Elementary parents learned of an abrupt change in leadership for the school in a letter sent out by the district Monday afternoon.

The letter contained no explanation for the departure of Anne DePerry, who was named principal at Whittier in 2012. DePerry will be replaced by veteran principal Karen Pederson, who retired in 2007 from a 28-year career with Minneapolis Public Schools.

The letter, signed by Associate Superintendent Lucilla Yira, states Pederson’s “role will be to provide stability and consistency in the school until a new principal is hired.”

District spokesman Dirk Tedmon said DePerry was “on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.”

Jeff Carlson, community education director at Whittier, described the school as “very shaken-up” by the unexpected news.

“Nobody saw this coming,” Carlson said.

On the Southwest Minneapolis magnet school’s web page DePerry writes that she started as a district elementary school teacher in 1993 and was a teacher on special assignment (or TOSA) serving as mentor and coach at Whittier beginning in 2008. Whittier is an International Baccalaureate World School with about 635 students.