Eastside Catholic School leader resigns amid turmoil

SEATTLE -- The president of a Sammamish Catholic school has resigned in the aftermath of the turmoil that followed the school's decision to force out a vice principal who married his partner.

Sister Mary Tracy submitted her resignation to the Eastside Catholic School trustees on Sunday, effective immediately. In an email sent to parents, staff and others on Tuesday evening, the school says a search for her replacement will begin soon.

The email says, in part, "For Sister Mary it was a difficult but necessary decision so that a new leader can be brought in to ensure the entire Eastside Catholic community is on a positive path forward."

The suburban Seattle school and former vice principal Mark Zmuda have disputed the circumstances of his December departure, with Zmuda saying he was fired and the school saying he resigned after acknowledging that his marriage violated Catholic teaching and, subsequently, the terms of his contract.

For weeks, Eastside Catholic students and others have protested Zmuda's departure.

Reached by phone on Tuesday evening, Tracy confirmed her resignation but wouldn't go into specifics about the decision.

The school's board of trustees, along with a search committee, will immediately begin looking for a new president. In the email to parents, school officials say they are setting up a town hall meeting to answer questions about the process.