In Turnaround, Tabor Academy Headmaster Jonathan Quirk Placed on Leave Following DUI
The Head of School at Tabor Academy in Marion has been ordered to take a leave of absence for the rest of the year. Trustees of the private boarding school made the announcement on Tuesday, and said headmaster Jonathan Quirk agreed to the arrangement.
The announcement represents a pivot from the board's previous statement that Quirk would stay on the job.
Quirk, 53, was arrested by Bourne police early on Jan. 31. He was arraigned later that day in Falmouth District Court on charges of DUI, speeding, and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. Police say they clocked him driving 78 in a 55-mile-per-hour zone and that he failed field sobriety tests and a breathalyzer. He was initially booked and released on $40 bail.
In court last week, a judge allowed Quirk's case to be "continued without a finding," meaning that if he stays out of trouble for a period of time, his record will be wiped clean. In such rulings, a defendant admits to sufficient facts for a guilty finding, but no actual finding is entered.
The Tabor Academy Board of Trustees, in a Feb. 13 letter to the school community, said that Quirk could stay on the job and issue a public apology. The board said Tabor believes in second chances, and that Quirk had learned a lesson.
But in this week's follow-up letter, the board stated that it would benefit both the school community and Quirk if he stepped down for now.
"Therefore, John will be on a leave of absence from his role, effective immediately until the end of the school year," the letter reads.
Quirk has served as head of school at Tabor, known as the "School by the Sea," since October 2011. Previously, he was associate head of school affairs at Brooks School in North Andover, where he spent 25 years.
Julie Salit, associate head of school for faculty and school affairs, will now serve as acting head of school, Tabor Academy announced.
The full text of the most recent letter is as follows:
February 18, 2020
Dear Tabor Community,
Since our letter last Thursday concerning our Head of School John Quirk, we have continued to consider this incident and its aftermath. We decided that it would benefit both the school and John for him to take time away from his responsibilities at Tabor. John agrees. Therefore, John will be on a leave of absence from his role, effective immediately until the end of the school year.
Julie Salit, Associate Head of School for Faculty and School Affairs, will assume the role as Acting Head of School. We are grateful that she has accepted the assignment and we are confident in her leadership and readiness to move Tabor forward at this critical time. Julie has a long history in independent school leadership and education. Immediately prior to joining Tabor as a member of our faculty in 2007, Julie served as Science Department Chair at St. James School. Before then, Julie was Dean of Students and Director of Admission at Bancroft School. Julie’s robust involvement in managing school affairs at Tabor as Associate Head, combined with her knowledge and experience as a career independent boarding school educator and administrator will allow the school to move forward in John’s absence.
In closing, all of the trustees thank you for your time, patience and understanding as we work through this challenging matter. We understand that this has been a difficult period for our community, and we apologize for the stress and upset this has caused. With your support, we are confident that we will emerge a stronger community.
Tabor Academy Board of Trustees
Here is the full text of the earlier letter:
It is our belief that John can continue to help Tabor fulfill its mission, and it is our commitment to you that we continue to monitor, care for, and protect all that we have built as Tabor heads into an extraordinary future.
Tabor Academy Board of Trustees