The principal of a Catholic school on the Main Line who sparked outrage after reportedly firing a teacher because she is in a same-sex marriage resigned on Friday, according to reports.
Nell Stetser, five-year principal of Waldron Mercy Academy, announced her resignation via email on Friday citing a personal decision to leave her post, Philly Voice reported. Stetser raised public ire after she fired Margie Winters, director of religious education, in July 2015 for being a lesbian.
Winters said she told the school about her relationship when she was hired eight months prior. According to 6ABC, a parent complained to the school upon learning about Winters’ relationship.
Kimberly M. Baxter, chair of the school’s Board of Trustees, sent out an email on Friday directly after Stetser’s was sent writing that Stetser had informed the board of her plan to resign on Wednesday.
Baxter called Stetser a “true woman of Mercy” who has “led our school with great integrity,” Philly.com reported.
Baxter continued the email referencing “the many challenges and difficult decisions through which Nell has had to shepherd Waldron Mercy Academy. We recognize that much pain still exists among the Waldron family in regards to the difficult decision that led to the loss of a beloved teacher, colleague and friend. It is our hope that this community can continue in the healing process, so that together we can maintain the wonderful traditions that have made Waldron the special place that it is.”
Last year, Sisters of Mercy, the religious order that sponsors the school, claimed Waldron Mercy’s Catholic identity could have been put at risk if Winters had not been fired.
Stetser, “shaken” by the firing, arranged for parents and students to meet and talk about the situation, but the parents of the 532 students threatened to withdraw their children from the academy.
Winters and 50 others hand-delivered a petition signed by 23,000 people to the offices of the Archdiocese’s Center City offices in August 2015. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said the school showed “character and common sense” by firing Winters, Philly Voice reported.
“Schools describing themselves as Catholic take on the responsibility of teaching and witnessing the Catholic faith in a manner true to Catholic belief,” Chaput said in 2015, NBC10 reported. “There’s nothing complicated or controversial in this. It’s a simple matter of honesty.”