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Principal Principles

Matthew King, Myers's Massachusetts attorney, who initially told Westword that he wanted to discuss the Denver allegations with his client before commenting, did not return subsequent phone calls.

P.S.1 co-founder Reilly says students told her about interactions with Myers that made them uncomfortable as well. "I talked to both Steve and Rex [Brown] about it," she says. "Rex told me I was blowing it out of proportion, that I was exaggerating." When the Massachusetts allegations became public and Brown was questioned about it by the Rocky Mountain News, he told the paper that he was shocked. And that's what bothers Reilly the most. "I told Rex that that was one of the reasons I was quitting, and now he's saying he's never heard anything about this?"

The other reason she left the school was because Myers and other staffers introduced Steps Ahead, a youth program with ties to Landmark Education, a company that grew out of Erhard Seminars Training, also known as est. The company offers controversial self-help workshops ("The First Step," May 4, 2000). Beatty and Huggins also left P.S.1 in part because of Steps Ahead, which is still being offered at the school.

Brown, who retired from his executive-director position last January but remains on the P.S.1 board of directors, says he can't confirm or deny whether the staffers ever approached him about Myers. "If they had, it would have been a personnel matter that would have been dealt with confidentially." He points out that Myers left P.S.1 at the end of the 2001 school year of his own volition. "After I left, the board decided it wanted to combine the jobs of principal and executive director, so that was a new job," Brown says. "The question was, did Steve want that job, and he did not. He liked being principal -- that's what he'd signed on for. He didn't want the new job as head of the school."

Brown also gave Myers a recommendation when he applied for the job at Amherst, which Beatty says is "the real problem here." He adds, "All these people in Massachusetts have been under the impression that Steve Myers was just a prince. To them, this was an isolated incident."

Though Brown wouldn't comment on whether he wrote Myers a letter of recommendation, Sayer confirms that the former executive director was indeed a reference for the former principal; however, he declined to discuss what Brown said or wrote about Myers. "We visited the school and talked to about 25 people -- staff, parents and administrators," he adds, explaining that all of them had good things to say about Myers.

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