Incoming Flathead High principal accused of plagiarism steps down


We will likely know next week what Kalispell School District officials plan to do after the newly hired Flathead High principal stepped down just days before taking over.

Superintendent Mark Flatau sent a letter to district employees that accused John Blackman of plagiarizing the majority of an introductory email he sent to school workers.

Flatau and Blackman both said the two agreed that Blackman would rescind his decision to take the job.

We checked one paragraph from Blackman's letter. " As the instructional leader of our fine school, I enthusiastically embrace the task of continuing to utilize fiscal, human and material resources to ensure that students have the necessary tools to be productive citizens as they prepare for the next chapter of their collegiate and career experiences. I realize that distinguished, rigorous, and relevant instruction that meets the needs of each student will be the vehicle to continuing the success that has been experienced."

We found similar wording in the Accomplished Principal Standards published by the National Board Certification for Educational Leaders. We found similar wording used by school leaders in districts around the country.

The superintendent is out of town and school board members expect to find a solution by mid-July.

Click here to read the full email correspondence.

Flatau's email says the district then offered the principal job to the second choice, but was turned down.

Blackman was hired to take over for Peter Fusaro, who left after 20 years at the high school, including 11 as principal. Fusaro stepped down to fill a new position at Flathead Valley Community College as director of the Trades and Industrial Arts Department.

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