Resignation of Washington associate principal approved

Michael Johnson, who was to become athletic director, out after teacher-student sex case

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CEDAR RAPIDS — The Cedar Rapids school board Thursday night unanimously approved the resignation of Michael Johnson, the second Washington High administrator to leave in the wake of the ongoing teacher-student sex scandal at the school.

Johnson, 57, was to start as the high school’s athletic director this school year. He was an associate principal at the school for 21 years.

An interim athletic director will be named late Friday, Superintendent Brad Buck said.

The board met in two closed sessions Thursday before approving Johnson’s resignation — first to discuss the purchase of real estate and then for a litigation discussion with the district’s legal counsel.

Kristin Janssen, Rafael Jacobo and Nancy Humbles were not present for the meeting in public.

The district announced the departure of Johnson, whose salary last year was $124,377, on Aug. 9. In an email that day, district spokeswoman Marcia Hughes said Johnson and the district “reached an agreement” as a result of an ongoing district investigation into the Washington High situation.

A long-term Washington substitute teacher, Mary Beth Haglin, 24, has been charged with sexual exploitation. She is accused of sexual relations with a 17-year-old student.

Ralph Plagman, Washington principal of 35 years, also left his position. The school board approved his resignation Aug. 8.

Both Plagman and Johnson qualify for retirement benefits, Buck said.

In an interview with The Gazette, Haglin named Plagman and Johnson as the administrators who investigated rumors of her relationship in February. School administrators determined the rumors to be unfounded, district officials said.

A second investigation in May by Washington administrators resulted in Haglin being removed from the school.

A district investigation, including a look at how the inquiries were conducted at Washington High, is ongoing.

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