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Cleave Hay told the Otago Daily Times yesterday Mary Miller had quit before he was appointed.
"Mary resigned sometime prior to my involvement which commenced this week. However, as it was school holidays the community had not been informed."
In a statement sent on Tuesday night to staff and community members, Mr Hay said deputy principal Kath Russell would take up the role of acting principal at the start of the school year - until a replacement was found.
"Mary has been at school supporting our new school secretary and will assist Kath in ensuring all is set to go when teaching resumes on January 30."
He also assured parents - saying they should not worry as pupils are their priority.
"The students are in a safe and strong learning environment at Gore Main School and are the primary focus of the board, management and staff."
Mr Hay was appointed limited statutory manager on Monday via a Notice of Direction on the Ministry of Education's website.
He said his role is to support the board of trustees, with a particular focus on areas of employment, policy and communications.
The most recent Education Review Office report on the school, which has about 220 pupils, said a "concerted effort" needed to be made to address in-school disparities and build on recent educational improvements.
The report noted greater urgency was needed to lift the achievement of Maori children who were below expected levels in literacy and mathematics.
"Leaders and teachers need to show what they will do differently for these children."
However, the report also said that "the school is very well supported by its parents and wider community".
Mr Hay apologised to staff and the community that they had to learn about his appointment through the press.
"A communication plan was being developed to let staff and then the community know of the intervention."