West Fargo elementary school principal resigns amid allegations of misconduct

This is the second longtime West Fargo School District principal to resign in less than six months.

Markusen, Jason.JPG
Jason Markusen.
Submitted photo

WEST FARGO — The principal of Legacy Elementary School has resigned after the West Fargo School District launched an investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior.

District administrators placed Principal Jason Markusen on leave on Wednesday, March 8, and he submitted his resignation on Thursday, according to an email sent to Legacy Elementary families.

Details of the allegations have not been disclosed. The allegations do not involve students, according to the district.

The West Fargo School Board on Monday, March 13, accepted his resignation by unanimous vote. The letter did not specify reasons for his resignation.

School Board Superintendent Beth Slette said it would be inappropriate to speculate at this time his reason for resigning. She confirmed, however, that the district began an investigation into the allegations on Thursday. The Forum has requested a copy of the investigation report, which officials expect to be released later this week.


School District Spokeswoman Heather Leas said law enforcement is not part of the investigation and are not expected to be.

This is the second longtime West Fargo School District principal to resign in less than six months. In December, Freedom Elementary Principal Jeffry Johnson resigned amid allegations and an investigation into bullying. District officials said two allegations were brought against Johnson and one was substantiated.

The Forum's attempts to reach Markusen on Monday for comment on this story were not successful.

Before becoming principal at Legacy Elementary in 2015, Markusen was the principal of Horace Elementary.

Markusen first came to West Fargo Public Schools in 2004 and was a middle school alternative education teacher until 2010. He then left the district, but returned in 2014. He started his career as a classroom teacher in 1998, according to the West Fargo School District. He has served as a junior high school assistant principal, an elementary school principal and the principal for an alternative learning center during his career.

Markusen has a master's degree and a specialist degree, both in educational leadership, from North Dakota State University, and a bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University of North Dakota.

Legacy Assistant Principal Erin Spies will serve as the interim principal for the rest of the school year, according to Leas.

"Please know that Dr. Spies, district leaders, and I are all committed to the well being of every learner at Legacy," she said in a statement sent to families Friday. "This team will be meeting and planning together to determine next steps to best support the needs of learners, educators, and families. We are open to meeting with you if you have any concerns about the remainder of the school year."


As the West Fargo editor, Wendy Reuer covers all things West Fargo for The Forum and oversees the production of the weekly Pioneer.
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