Tom Shannon Daniels, principal of Stanley Elementary School in Swampscott, Massachusetts, says they are undergoing a gender identity transition and are dropping "Tom" as their first name. Shannon Daniels penned a letter first posted by the New England News Channel (NECN) Wednesday, detailing their lifelong struggle and asking for "understanding and support" from parents in the Swampscott Public Schools community. 

The 52-year-old Stanley Elementary School principal said they are making a transition to becoming female after more than four decades as a man.

"I did my best to suppress those feelings for more than 40 years, and while I was successful to a degree, I have never felt completely happy or at peace. I got to the point that I thought I would never be able to reveal my true self," Daniels wrote in the letter first reported by NECN. "I can now say it: I am transgender. For me, that means I identify as both a male and female and I plan to move toward presenting myself and identifying as female."

Principal Daniels writes that the pronouns he, she and they are all acceptable references amid gender fluid identity transition. Daniels adds that "Shannon" is their middle name and they are simply dropping their first name of "Tom" moving forward. They reiterated that "Principal Daniels is the same caring person" and that Stanley School is a "a great place to be and learn."

Swampscott Superintendent of Schools Pamela Angelakis followed up Daniels' announcement by applauding their coming forth. 

"I applaud Principal Daniels and admire the courage, honesty, and transparency that comes through in the letter you received. I hope you will join me and the entire district leadership team in offering Principal Daniels our acceptance, understanding, and support," Angelakis wrote in her own letter to parents. 

"People express themselves in many ways and it is important that we accept them as they are," continues Angelakis' letter. "Principal Daniels identifies as both a male and a female, but over time will look more like a female."

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 3 Tom Shannon Daniels, principal of Stanley Elementary School in Swampscott, Massachusetts, says they are undergoing a gender identity transition and are dropping "Tom" as their first name. Photo: Screenshot: Stanley School Principal Page