St. Paul schools hire gay teacher forced out at Totino-Grace

  • Article by: ANTHONY LONETREE
  • October 8, 2013 - 7:58 PM

A former Totino-Grace High School teacher who lost her job at the Catholic school after acknowledging she was gay has been hired to teach English full time at Highland Park High School in St. Paul.

Kristen Ostendorf began work Monday, said Toya Stewart Downey, a St. Paul School District spokeswoman.

Last month, Javen Swanson of the gay rights group OutFront Minnesota said that Ostendorf had been fired at Totino-Grace “not for her performance, but because of who she is and who she loves.” She was seeking new employment, he said then.

At Highland Park, Ostendorf is teaching accelerated International Baccalaureate courses to ninth- and 10-graders and 11th grade English, Stewart Downey said. Higher-than-expected class sizes prompted the school to seek out a full-time English teacher as well as half-time social studies and career and technical instructors.

Ostendorf had been an English teacher at Totino-Grace since 1995.

Her departure marked the second time in recent months that a gay employee had left the Fridley school. Totino-Grace’s former president, William “Bill” Hudson, resigned in June after revealing he was in a same-sex relationship.

Hudson later was named director of institutional advancement at Mounds Park Academy in Maplewood.


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