Cindy Mann has been reinstated as head of school at Padua Academy for the remainder of this school year, according to a statement released by St. Anthony of Padua parish.
Mann had been dismissed as the top administrator at the school after a dispute with St. Anthony’s pastor, Father Nicholas Waseline.
Mann was restored to her job by Father Waseline under the terms of her current contract, according to the parish statement.
“Father Waseline took this action in the best interests of Padua Academy and its students, and in the hope that Mrs. Mann and he can work together for the benefit of both the academy and the parish,” the statement read. “After Mrs. Mann returns to work, as the end of the school year approaches, Fr. Waseline and she will discuss the renewal of her contract. The parish is willing to consider a two-year renewal, which would be inconsistent with diocesan policy, but the diocese is willing to make an exception for Mrs. Mann under the circumstances.”
Mann could not immediately be reached for comment. She issued a statement through her lawyer, Thomas Neuberger.
Students at Padua Academy staged a protest March 19, staying out of school in support of their principal. They returned to classes the next day. A meeting among parents was held March 22 during which efforts to support Mann were discussed.
The Diocese of Wilmington issued a statement March 21 in which it said Bishop Malooly was “working behind the scenes in conversation with leadership from the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales and several members of the Padua Academy Advisory Board in efforts to resolve this painful and divisive situation.”
The bishop expressed hope for the possibility of reconciliation.
Thomas Neuberger, a lawyer representing Mann, issued a statement this week raising concerns about Mann’s health and detailing cardiac issues she confronted last year.
In its statement announcing Mann’s reinstatement, the parish said it wants to be sure Mann’s health will allow her to return.
“Mrs. Mann may return to work as soon as her treating physician certifies that she is able to resume her duties as principal,” the statement read.
Alex Musial, a junior, said she found out from friends while traveling to the Pandas’ softball game Tuesday afternoon.
“I was ecstatic,” Musial said, a pink ribbon in her hair. “We all had hope, but we didn’t know if it was going to come through.”
In a statement last week, St. Anthony’s outlined a parish plan instituted two years ago aimed at maintaining financial stability throughout the parish, including Padua Academy. The plan called for several initiatives including collection of a “stewardship assessment” from Padua Academy.
Leaders of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales religious order on March 26 said they were part of discussions to resolve the employment dispute involving Mann. Padua Academy operates as part of St. Anthony’s and Mann had reported to Father Waseline, an Oblate priest.
“While Oblate leadership has no authority over the hiring and firing of parish personnel in any of its parishes, Oblate leadership immediately offered assistance to help resolve this crisis as we believed that a solution based on dialogue and conversation, as opposed to litigation, would be best for all parties,” reads the statement issued by the Oblates.