Helena Flats School Principal Resigns as Superintendent Awaits Trial 

Principal Allison Hawes announced her resignation to the school board on Tuesday night. Superintendent Andy Maheras, who is currently working remotely, is facing misdemeanor assault charges following an alleged altercation with a student last year. 

By Denali Sagner
Helena Flats School in Evergreen on Dec. 19, 2023. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

The principal of a small, rural school district outside of Kalispell has resigned while the district’s superintendent awaits trial following the alleged assault of a student last August

Allison Hawes, principal of the Helena Flats School, resigned at a Tuesday night board meeting. Hawes will serve out the end of her contract at Helena Flats, which extends through July, before becoming the principal of Ruder Elementary School in Columbia Falls. Hawes was hired by the Helena Flats School District as a school counselor in 2021 before becoming the district’s principal. 

Hawes told the Beacon on Tuesday that she is “beyond humbled” and “so excited” about the opportunity to work in the Columbia Falls School District. The educator lauded Columbia Falls Superintendent Cory Dziowgo, who she described as supporting “strong academics” and “building strong relationships” in the district. 

Hawes’ resignation leaves the school district in limbo as superintendent Andy Maheras works remotely following allegations that he physically assaulted a 12-year-old student last August. 

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed in November 2023 by Deputy Flathead County Attorney Larissa Malloy, Maheras allegedly grabbed the student by the arms and face and pushed the student into a locker after Maheras attempted to discipline the student for kissing another student in the hallway. Maheras’ trial is scheduled for April 19 in Flathead County Justice Court. 

Helena Flats School Board Chair Jessica Dyer in December said that the board was notified of the criminal charge against Maheras in early December and that the district resolved the matter during an internal investigation months prior.

Maheras is working remotely until further notice and has been in attendance at in-person school board meetings. 

The decision for Maheras to work remotely arose from a unanimous vote by the school board following a closed Dec. 7 special meeting. It is unclear if and when Maheras will return to in-person duties and who will lead the school should the district be unable to hire a new principal. 

Parents and former teachers have voiced concerns at recent school board meetings, accusing the board of withholding information and failing to be transparent about the accusations against Maheras. 

Helena Flats parent Rob Treat at a Dec. 19 board meeting said he was “very concerned with what’s happening in our school.”

Stephanie Brown, another Helena Flats parent, told the board on Tuesday that she is “very bummed” about Hawes’ resignation and concerned about the district’s future given that Maheras is continuing to work from home. Brown added that she would “really like to see more communication from the school board” about who will be leading the school next year given Hawes’ resignation and Maheras’ remote status. 

Editor’s note: A former version of this story stated that Andy Maheras is on paid leave. He is not on paid leave, but is conducting his responsibilities remotely.

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