Rock Bridge High School Principal Bruce Brotzman resigned from his new administrative job in Iowa on Thursday, the same day Columbia School Board members met behind closed doors to discuss sexual misconduct allegations stemming from an incident at MU’s Ellis Library.
Brotzman, 46, submitted a resignation letter to the Cedar Rapids Community Schools on Thursday afternoon, said Cedar Rapids Superintendent Dave Markward.
Brotzman was scheduled to begin work as an executive administrator for secondary education on July 1.
Markward said the Cedar Rapids school district’s internal investigation of Brotzman, which began Tuesday, did not influence his resignation.
“He resigned. It’s his initiative,” said Markward. He declined to provide a copy of Brotzman’s resignation letter.
The Cedar Rapids Community School Board will hold a special meeting today to discuss its new hire’s sudden resignation. A majority vote is required to formally release Brotzman from his contract, Markward said.
“By the board approving the resignation, it will relieve both parties of obligation of the contract Brotzman has,” he said.
Brotzman was barred by MU police from all campus libraries for one year following a July 2004 complaint of sexual misconduct by Michael Hopkins, an MU junior and library employee. Hopkins, 22, reported that Brotzman appeared sexually aroused and had touched himself on the fourth floor of Ellis Library while Hopkins shelved books nearby. No formal charges have been filed.
Contacted at home Thursday afternoon, Brotzman declined to discuss his resignation from the Cedar Rapids job.
He was hired by the Iowa school system in March, two months after announcing his resignation from Rock Bridge, which would be effective at the end of the school year. He served as principal for nearly seven years.
Mary Meisterling, president of the Cedar Rapids School Board, said she was saddened by Brotzman’s decision.
“I think it is an unfortunate circumstance and I’m sad it’s come to this,” she said. “But I do understand why he did it. Coming from his position, I think it’s generous and nice of him for submitting a resignation letter.”
Earlier Thursday, the Columbia Schools Board of Education held a closed session meeting for nearly two hours to discuss matters relating to Brotzman. When the meeting concluded, board members left through a back door. Reached by telephone after the meeting, School Board member Don Ludwig said the board had no part in Brotzman’s resignation. Ludwig was unaware of the news until told by a Missourian reporter.
“Our school board has not been involved in that discussion, and that was totally up to him,” said Ludwig, whose son is a Rock Bridge student.
Superintendent Phyllis Chase, who also declined to discuss Brotzman’s status, issued a statement Thursday morning on behalf of the school board.
“An allegation has been made against one of the Columbia School District’s building administrators,” the statement reads. “In this, as in all situations, the safety of school staff and students is paramount. We will do what is necessary to maintain school safety and adhere to policies and procedures in support and protection of our staff and students.
“Thank you for trusting the process that is being followed by your elected officials and staff,” the statement concludes.