As reported by Ann Marie Quill at the Reporter Newspaper, BOE member Nancy Meister held a community meeting last night for parents to discuss the recent principal turnover in the cluster. Per the report,
A group of parents expressed concerns over three principal vacancies in Buckhead schools … Some 40 parents gathered …to hear Meister and others address the fact that North Atlanta High, Sutton Middle and Morris Brown Elementary will need to fill vacancies in the schools’ top spots. … Additionally, Morris Brown Elementary’s Karen Evans was one of seven Atlanta Public School System principals reportedly told in March by the system that they would not be returning next year.
One parent expressed a concern that seemed to be shared by many of those in attendance,
“We don’t ever seem to solve the root cause,” said Gail Moore, who has two children at North Atlanta. She said students at the school have no desire to go to school amidst the turmoil. “What are we doing to address what the root issue is?”
In addition to Meister being present, other APS officials present included Ron Price, chief human resource officer; Rick Beaulieu, human resources executive director; and Sidney Baker, interim executive director for the north region. In regards to the current search effort,
Baker said that to date 253 candidates have expressed interest in Morris Brown, 144 in Sutton and 82 at North Atlanta.
The APS officials also acknowledged that there continues to be outdated processes and barriers that continue to hamper a principal’s ability to perform effectively. However, they were adamant that these practices were being corrected as they were being identified. Price stated that they were trying to do everything they could to allow the principal to operate as the “CEO in their building”.
I attended the meeting and was again impressed with Ron Price – who started with APS last November and comes with 25 years of HR experience in educational organizations. He appears to be top-notch and, at least as it relates to HR, is making strides in changing the ‘command and control’ culture emanating from the downtown office.
Rick Beaulieu, who joined APS last year and comes from the Cobb County School System, where he served as an area assistant superintendent and as a principal, will be leading the principal recruiting effort. He indicated that the interest in the positions was very high and that a number of very high quality applicants were lining up.
Both Price and Beaulieu noted that the new superintendent, who will begin in July, has already indicated that the principal selection process is her highest priority and that she is already reviewing candidate portfolios. APS hopes to fill all the open principal positions by June 1st.
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