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Washington Co. school board takes two votes to OK personnel moves

June 17, 2012|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — Typically, votes on Washington County Public Schools personnel moves pass with little fanfare and take little time, even when they aren’t approved unanimously by the Board of Education.

During the board’s June 5 meeting, the measure was defeated by a 4-3 vote, and then passed by a 4-3 vote after the board took the unusual move of calling for a recess in the middle of a regular business meeting.

The seven board members retired to a conference room, where they met for more than 15 minutes in a closed session to try to resolve whatever obstacle prevented the personnel moves from being approved the first time.

Board member Donna Brightman was the one who changed her vote, allowing the personnel moves to be approved.

During a later discussion about the facilities master plan, Brightman had several questions, and at one point addressed the board president, saying, “I just took a bullet, so give me some latitude for this one.”

After the meeting, Brightman acknowledged that her bullet comment referred to her being the one to change her vote on the matter.

“I was being flip and probably inappropriate in saying that,” Brightman said.

The three board members who voted against personnel matters both times were Paul Bailey, Jacqueline Fischer and Karen Harshman.

None of them, nor Brightman, would say specifically what item or items among the personnel moves caused concern.

Harshman said there were a couple of things the board needed to clear up and questions she had. The board’s June 5 morning closed session was hurried because members had a lot of business to discuss, she said.

Brightman said her concern was about the process, not an individual, and that her concern had nothing to do with retirements on the list.

Asked if her concern was about one or more positions, Brightman said there was a domino effect because one move led to another.

The only moves on the personnel list that appear to involve a domino effect revolved around transfers for principal and assistant principal positions and moves affecting administrative interns.

Brightman would not say whether she was concerned about the principal and assistant principal moves.

“The process needs to be consistent and fair. I was assured of that, and that’s why I changed my vote,” Brightman said.

When asked why they voted against personnel moves, Bailey and Fischer at first said it was a personnel matter and referred questions to school system spokesman Richard Wright.

Bailey and Fischer elaborated on their votes.

“I just voted because I wasn’t completely happy with the package as a total,” Bailey said June 11.

“I just had more questions about the position and the person chosen, as I think some of my fellow board members did,” Fischer said Thursday.

Fischer said board members did discuss concerns during the second closed session, held during the recess of the business meeting, but she still did not agree with one particular item on the list.

“(There’s) quite a few retirees among the administrators this year,” Fischer said. “(That) created a domino effect. I didn’t think we’d been given enough information even before we went into closed session.”

After the June 5 meeting ended, Superintendent Clayton Wilcox said he thought there had been some misunderstanding.

“Sometimes (it’s) just hard to see how one thing leads to another,” Wilcox said.

He said the morning closed session had been rushed, which didn’t give board members a chance “to see how it came together.”

The three-page list of personnel moves included new appointments, transfers and separation from service moves that include retirements.

The following is a list of Washington County Public Schools personnel moves affecting principals, assistant principals and administrative interns. The changes are effective July 1, unless otherwise noted.

• Timothy Dawson Sr. was promoted from acting principal at South Hagerstown High School to principal, effective retroactively to May 29.

• Martin H. Potash, who was supervisor of secondary English/Language Arts at the Central Office, will become a Common Core writing project coordinator at South Hagerstown High School.

• April E. Bishop was promoted from acting principal at Williamsport High School to principal, effective retroactively to May 29.

• Heath T. Wilcox, an administrative intern at Williamsport High School, was promoted to assistant principal at Williamsport, effective June 6.

• Todd J. Ullery, an assistant principal at North Hagerstown High School, will become athletic director at Williamsport High School.

• Adam K. Robinson, an assistant principal at E. Russell Hicks Middle School, will become assistant principal at North Hagerstown High School. The school board already had approved transferring Hicks Principal Duane McNairn to be principal at North High. Superintendent Clayton Wilcox said Hicks Assistant Principal Kelly Buckwalter-Daniels will remain at Hicks this upcoming school year.

• Theodore E. Hunter III, who served as an administrative intern at Boonsboro and Smithsburg middle schools in the past school year, will be the other assistant principal at E. Russell Hicks Middle School.

• Eric A. Meredith, who is assistant principal at Eastern Elementary School, will become principal at Pangborn Elementary School.

• Scott M. Noll, who is assistant principal at Boonsboro High School, will become principal at Clear Spring Middle School.

• Jethro F. Reid will be assistant principal at Boonsboro High School. Reid most recently served as assistant principal at Gov. Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick, Md., and used to be an assistant principal at Western Heights Middle School and South Hagerstown High School, school system spokesman Richard Wright said.

• Christina M. Yeager, who was an administrative intern at Western Heights Middle School, will become an administrative intern at Boonsboro Middle School.

• Phillip J. Campbell, an administrative intern at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, will become a special education teacher who serves Ingram and Ruth Ann Monroe Primary School.

• Daniel W. Fowler will become assistant principal at Eastern Elementary School. According to the school system’s website, Fowler was a student achievement specialist based at Old Forge Elementary School.

• Robert A. Stike will become an administrative intern at Hancock Middle-Senior High School. Most recently, he was an instrumental music teacher at Williamsport High School, according to an email from school system spokesman Will Kauffman.

• Amy N. Seylar will become an administrative intern at Western Heights Middle School. She was a secondary curriculum and instruction specialist for math, Kauffman said.

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