Kiviõli school crisis may be resolved with new principal pick

Anu Vau (second from right) also participated in talks seeking to resolve the dispute at Kiviõli High School.
Anu Vau (second from right) also participated in talks seeking to resolve the dispute at Kiviõli High School. Source: Rene Kundla/ERR

The crisis at Kiviõli High School may be headed toward a solution, as the likely candidate for next school principal is the school's own Estonian language and literature teacher Anu Vau, who also has the support of the school community.

Vau came second 2-6 to former Mäetaguse Basic School and Jõhvi State High School principal Tarmo Valgepea in Lüganuse Municipality's competition for a new school principal, but Valgepea formally declined the offer for the position on Wednesday, citing the fact that the school community was against his becoming principal. Vau had likewise initially declined the offer, however on Thursday she responded in writing that she was prepared to take on the position.

Lüganuse Municipal Mayor Viktor Rauam and Vau are to meet on Friday to work out the details of her employment.

Vau, Kiviõli High School's Estonian language and literature teacher, has worked at the school since 2008. After completing her degree at the University of Tartu, she worked at Maidla Basic School from 2000-2008. Vau graduated from Tõrva High School in 1992.

According to the candidate herself, Vau applied for the position of principal because she wants to ensure that Kiviõli High School continues to raise and educate charitable, active and curious citizens.

"I want to carry on that which was created together with Heidi," she said, referring to Heidi Uustalu, who was dismissed as principal of the school late last year, sparking the current crisis. "I want to help the team achieve goals set together. This team, my companions, ended up being a major factor. I feel like with this team, it'd be possible to move mountains together if necessary. A lot of messages, phone calls, endorsements from parents, colleagues and friends — these also helped me make my decision. I know I have something to offer the community and the school."

It was this support from the community that convinced her to change the no she initially gave over the phone to a yes.

"The 'no' answer I gave in response to the offer made on the phone by the municipal secretary yesterday was due to the fact that as I was picking up a call from an unknown number, I was mentally prepared to fend off a telemarketer, and I didn't fully understand at all exactly what was really offered — not magazines or vitamins, but the job of principal!" Vau recalled. "When I realized what had been offered by the time I got home, and when the enormous avalanche of messages of support began to arrive, then I started to realize what had really been offered."

Kiviõli High School has been without a principal since Lüganuse municipal government dismissed Heidi Uustalu, who had served as the school's principal for 15 years, from the position on December 5. The ex-principal has challenged her dismissal in court.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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