MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota school principal accused of stalking an ex-girlfriend made his first appearance in court Tuesday.

Christopher Grote, 47, is charged with stalking, disorderly conduct and fleeing police.

The Cambridge Primary School principal was arrested Sunday after a woman he used to date told police he wouldn’t leave her home. When officers arrived, he ran into the woods, but was later caught and arrested.

“I was shocked because I would never expect that [from him],” Trisha Matthews, from Isanti, said.

Matthews has two children who used to attend Cambridge Primary School when Grote was principal.

“From what I know of him, he was amazing,” Matthews said. “One of the best principals that I’ve known in the school district.”

Grote has been principal at Cambridge Primary School for eight years and with the district for 23 years. In his initial court appearance in Isanti County, he was quiet and kept his head down. The judge ordered Grote to stay away from his ex-girlfriend.

Cambridge Public School Superintendent Ray Queener said it’s too soon to determine Grote’s job future until the court plays out.

“They need to really determine truth before they decide on position,” Theresa Nesbitt, whose grandchildren also attended Cambridge Primary School, said. “I’d be very disappointed if they removed him without knowing what truth is.”

Grote was released from jail after posting $6,000 bail following his court appearance. He’s due back in court October 30.

Kate Raddatz

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