The appointment of William M. Ekey as acting principal at C. Milton Wright High School near Bel Air has parents wondering about the fate of Thomas W. Ackerman, who has served as principal there the past two years.
Donald R. Morrison, a spokesman for Harford County Public Schools, said that Ekey, who most recently served as assistant supervisor of research and evaluation for the school system, would be acting principal at C. Milton Wright "for an indefinite period of time."
He was appointed to the position Wednesday.
Morrison called the replacement a "personnel issue" and declined to comment about Ackerman.
Ackerman was being investigated by the school administration for his use of $6,600 to pay for the installation of a shower in his office at the high school.
The shower was not approved by the school system, and no building permit was issued for the work.
Schools Superintendent Jacqueline C. Haas said several weeks ago that the unauthorized installation was caught during an audit of the school's books.
She said that Ackerman paid back the money after the audit picked up the unauthorized expenditure.
When he left Sept. 4, Ackerman told C. Milton Wright staff members that he would be away for three weeks.
"We would like to know what is happening to Tom Ackerman," said Paula Smith, a member of the Parent-Teacher-Student Organization at C. Milton Wright.
"If there is something he has done to be pushed out of school, we would like to know," she said. "The school system won't tell us anything. They won't even return our phone calls."
Smith said that she and other members of the PTSO are considering a protest Tuesday evening when the school holds its annual back-to-school program.
She said the demonstration would be in support of Ackerman. "We want an explanation of why he was removed."
Smith said that Ackerman is popular with parents "because he was always going to school board meetings and fighting for ways to improve the school.
"He got the new parking lot, an addition to the cafeteria and the new science lab," Smith said.
Ekey joined Harford County Public Schools in 1973 as a math teacher at Edgewood Middle School, Morrison said.
During the 1996-1997 school year Ekey served as principal at C. Milton Wright.
The next year he was appointed director of secondary education, and in July of last year he was appointed assistant supervisor of research and evaluation.