Longtime Principal at St. Joseph’s Fired After Nearly 20 Years…Blames Father Pins

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Phyllis Konchar has been the Principal at St. Joseph's for 19 years, but now she's out of a job and she says her ouster is because of Father Joseph Pins.

"It started probably last July when we got a new pastor, and it was one of those things when you can just tell that someone doesn't like you," said Konchar.

Konchar says things came to a head in November.

"At that time he was trying to put me on a plan, that in the Diocese, it's an improvement plan, but it really leads to termination," said Konchar.

The two tried mediation but then another shoe dropped on Friday.

"He texted me and asked me to come into his office," said Konchar. "And, when I arrived there, there was a trustee there, and he told me that the purpose of the meeting was to inform me that I would not be offered a contract for the upcoming school year and that I could finish out the school year as long as I kept quiet."

Konchar says she was told if she didn't keep quiet, she would be fired immediately.

"I came home and I talked to my husband and talked to my family and we decided that I was not going to be silent," said Konchar. "And, I put it out to our families on a program called Dojo, which is a communication tool that we use."

The letter, addressed to parents, says in part: "As you can tell, I have made the decision to be terminated. It has been my privilege to serve you and your children."

"I called Father Pins and told him that I had done that and we went up to clean out my office and my door FAB had already been deactivated and my email had been deactivated," said Konchar.

"I think he feels very threatened by the relationship that I have with the community and with the students and with parents," said Konchar. "And, I think he doesn't like that I`m not afraid to speak up when something is wrong and it's a good way to silence me."

The Office of Communications for the Diocese of Des Moines released the following statement:

"An investigation by the Diocese of Des Moines was conducted at St. Joseph School regarding the school administrator after a series of internal concerns were presented to the diocese.

The outcome of the investigation pointed to serious irregularities in the school administration under her direction. The principal was advised of these and invited to remain in place for the remainder of the school year on the condition that the situation remain private. She chose otherwise.

The parish and school community regret this turn of events but assure Mrs. Phyllis Konchar of appreciation for her 19 years of service to the school, wish her well and assure her of our prayers."

Meanwhile, here is a press release from the Diocese from a few years ago announcing that Mrs. Konchar had been selected as Iowa’s 2010 National Distinguished Principal.