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Tuesday, June 28, 2022
ArlingtonQuestions linger as school leader is put on leave

Questions linger as school leader is put on leave

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The status of Mike Krulfeld’s job as Yorktown High School’s director of student activities has remained in limbo after he was put on administrative leave June 3 by Arlington Public Schools for reasons not completely clear to the 24-year employee of the school system.

Sources within the school system told the Sun Gazette that Krulfeld had not been given any reason for his suspension with pay, and no timeline for resolution of the issue had been laid out.

Krulfeld did not want to comment on the situation, but has told others he has done nothing wrong.

“I have no comment, but refer you to my lawyer,” Krulfeld told the Sun Gazette.

That attorney is Jim Faughnan. “I’m not comfortable talking about this at this point, yet,” he told the Sun Gazette.

Requests for clarification of the situation led to Deshan Turner, assistant superintendent of human resources for the school system. Turner did not respond to a Sun Gazette request for comment; he was hired last October but is leaving the school system this week.

Deborah DeFranco, supervisor of health, physical and driver education & athletics for Arlington schools, had no comments on the specifics of the matter but confirmed Krulfeld is on leave.

Krulfeld is receiving strong support from many coaches at Yorktown and others throughout Arlington county schools. One coach has discussed having “Free Mike” T-shirts made.

“This is just so outrageous that I can hardly believe that Arlington Public Schools actually feels this was the appropriate way to handle this situation,” said Steve Severn, the longtime president of Arlington Girls Softball Association, who has worked with Krulfeld for years on various matters.

Dani Seltzer is the head of the spirit program at Yorktown, and is spearheading a move to have Krulfeld reinstated.

“After 20-plus years as a varsity coach in the region, I know the value of a good director of student activities, and in Mike we have a great one,” Seltzer said. “Mr. Krulfeld’s absence is felt by all of us.”

With school officials mum, the rumor mill has been working on overdrive.

One possible reason sources gave for the situation is that Krulfeld allowed the Yorktown crew-team boosters to supplement coaches’ out-of-season stipends. But that has been a commonplace practice by Yorktown, Wakefield and Washington-Liberty high schools for decades, well before Krulfeld’s tenure at Yorktown.

School athletic Websites indicate crew-participation fees for students competing in crew include paying coaches. The school system pays coaching stipends for only the spring’s competition season, not for any out-of-season practices or events. The crew boosters pay that.

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