Saugus district announces new principals at Emblem, Mountainview 

Parent Heather Dillin shares her concerns during the public-comment portion of a Saugus Union School District board meeting Tuesday. Perry Smith/ The Signal

Saugus Union School District officials Friday confirmed leadership changes at Emblem Academy, following dozens of complaints made at a governing board meeting just over two months ago. 

Katie Demsher, who was principal at Mountainview Elementary School last year, was named principal of Emblem, according to school board President Katherine Cooper, who confirmed several personnel changes during a phone interview Friday. 

The previous principal, Sahar Moshayedi, was placed on leave in May after a number of community members complained about her at a meeting of the district’s governing board.  

The day after the board meeting, Superintendent Colleen Hawkins issued a statement that said she was taking the concerns expressed by parents very seriously and that the matter would be under investigation. 

Cooper said Friday the district is not planning to publicly discuss the results of the investigation, citing privacy laws regarding personnel issues.  

“(Moshayedi) is not currently assigned to a campus,” she said, declining to discuss the matter further.  

She also expressed optimism about the changes for the Emblem community. 

“I think Katie Demsher and Christine Ivey are a very strong team,” Cooper said, noting Demsher has been with the district since 1997 and Ivey, who was previously a teacher, has been with the district since 2002. 

Amy King, who was assistant principal at Emblem, will now be the principal at Mountainview, Cooper said.  

Moshayedi upset many parents with a stark contrast in style to her predecessor, Jon Baker, who had been principal at the site since 2000. Changing classroom assignments for teachers also upset many staff, according to several who spoke at the meeting in May as well to The Signal on background. 

Board member Anna Griese, who doesn’t represent Emblem in her territory but said she was contacted by dozens of parents who had concerns, spoke to some of the concerns she had heard prior to the meeting in which parents complained.  

“I was a little concerned based upon some of the explanations from the individual parents … and I understand personality conflicts, and so I can understand that part,” Griese said back in May. “But I think really hearing what was going on regarding some of the students and the behaviors towards parents, what the teachers were going through … I found it very alarming that that behavior was even happening, especially at an elementary school.”   

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