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Performance plays role in shifting of principals

May 23, 2002|BY TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

A day after the Washington County Board of Education shifted 21 principals, school officials said job performance - good or poor - played a role in the moves.

"That's one of the criteria," School Board member Paul Bailey said. "It's only one of many."

Director of Human Resources Donald Francis said the School Board tries to place principals and assistant principals in schools where they might perform the best.

"You don't just move it just to move it," Francis said. "One principal may have great strengths in leadership but doesn't have as good a strength as someone else instructionally. People are different depending on where you are."

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Some principals will go to jobs at the School Board's central office, while most of the others will change schools. All shifts go into effect July 1.

Director of Secondary Education Boyd J. Michael III said transferring principals also brings a fresh perspective to schools.

"As we move them around, they each step up and take their new schools to a new height," he said. "A new person always brings change with them, and we expect it to be a change for the better."

If a principal's performance is greatly substandard, Michael said they may lose their titles as administrators.

"If we have anybody who is not performing ... they just don't stay in the administrative ranks," he said.

Francis said there's no set time for how long a principal remains at a school.

"You may get a principal who does a terrific job someplace and may be there for eight or nine years," he said. "The last thing you want to do is move people every year."

The School Board voted Tuesday night to move two principals who had been at schools for a year, including Western Heights Middle School Principal Robert Myers.

Myers will become the principal of North Hagerstown High School next year.

Francis said the School Board makes exceptions on occasion and moves principals after a year at a school. He said Myers' good performance during his year at Western Heights landed him the job at North High, the largest high school in the county.

"He's done a great job with moving Western Heights in the direction we want it to go," Francis said.

Western Heights PTA President Robin Vogel said the move means the school will have its third different principal in as many years.

"I was a little disappointed..." Vogel said. "Mr. Myers has done a wonderful job, so I was sorry to see him go."

She said parents and students must build new relationships with new principals and adjust to a new set of rules and expectations.

She said Myers brought energy and programs to the middle school and that communication with parents increased during his year at Western Heights.

"If he's leaving, it's nice to see someone who has done such a nice job is going to get rewarded," she said.

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