(WHBC) – The longtime director of a Canton preschool says she’s “shocked” that she has been relieved of her duties.
Suzanne Griffiths says in a letter to families that she was “blindsided” when she was told that she was being removed as director of Westbrook Park Nursery School.
Griffiths says Westbrook Park United Methodist Church Pastor Joel Adkins told her she was being “retired” immediately and that she would not be allowed to finish out her 50th year and be part of the school’s celebration in May.
She also says she was told that she and her family could not enter the church for any reason for two years.
“I have been a member of this church of 72 years. Born, baptized, confirmed, married and buried all of my relatives there. My grandfather signed the original mortgage on that building. So I not only have my whole life taken from me, but also I do not have a church home to go to.”
Griffiths says she had no plan to resign or retire, and that the school is her entire life.
In the letter she says her dismissal is because of a personal agenda on behalf of the leadership of the church, and two years ago she knew it was the beginning of the end.
When reached for comment, the church provided the following statement from Rev. Adkins.
“Since August 2018, all staff members and congregation leaders of Westbrook Park UMC have worked with Tuscarawas District Superintendent the Rev. Benita Rollins and a consulting firm to review all ministries of the church and develop a vision for the future. As part of that process, the Staff Parish Relations Committee and I made the decision to change directors of the Westbrook Park Nursery School. Making the change during the winter break provides for the least disruption to the children. We have expressed our appreciation to Mrs. Griffiths for her many years of leadership and dedication to the school. She declined our offer to host a retirement reception for her.”
Griffiths was featured in WHBC’s Share The Good Stark County series, which you can watch below.