Parents at two elementary schools — Western Hills and Williams Magnet — petitioned for special School Board meetings recently to protest the reassignment of their popular principals. Holmes has said the reassignments were part of a plan to "refresh" all the schools.
UPDATE: It's confirmed. Superintendent Holmes' memo follows in full, but it says little beyond reaffirming his original decision. He doesn't respond specifically to complaints from parents at schools that have been reporting good results. Following his note is a report to the Williams PTA Board from its leader.
Seventeen schools have newly assigned Principals for the 2012-13 school year, and all but one were accomplished by transfers. The transfers were administratively recommended, Board approved, and announced at a Special Board meeting on June 14, 2012.
No position in the Little Rock School District compares to the functioning of the Principalship. District leadership is charged with the responsibility to recruit, select, assign, remove, transfer and place individuals in forty-nine school
campuses. While it is an arduous process matching skill sets with the needs of each campus, these decisions are made with the best interest of our students in mind.
Each Principal transferred and/or assigned to a school is an experienced classroom teacher and administrator with several years of working with curriculum, programs, parents, teachers, students, and the school community. The expectations are that each school’s accomplishments are sustained; needs for growth are strategically identified; partnership with parents is solidified and welcomed; and teachers and Principals have collaboratively focused goals to ensure that students are prepared academically to achieve proficiency, advancement, and be prepared to negotiate paths leading into the intellectual and demanding rigor that is required for success in college, work, and American citizenship.
Both the Superintendency and the Principalship must shoulder disproportionately high levels of responsibilities. Why else would one want to be either a Superintendent or Principal? Parent groups, Principals, community volunteers and leaders from four schools, with two schools demonstratively surfacing their requests, have petitioned me and the School Board through public meetings, by e-mails, telephone calls, and meetings requesting that some or all Principals’ transfers be rescinded.
Again, I want to express my appreciation and sincere concerns for all opinions, thoughts, suggestions, diligence, and no-letting-up pursuits. I certainly understand the affection that a community has for its school and principal; however, as Superintendent, I have to focus on the entire District.
After thorough consideration, it is my decision that the recommendations and approvals made related to all Principal transfers and assignments on June 14, 2012 stand. It is my hope that parents, teachers, administrators and all stakeholders would remain firmly involved in our schools with the same enthusiasm they have recently demonstrated for the sake of all of our children.
NOTE TO WILLIAMS PTA BOARD
Dear WMS PTA Board,
Attached, please find the official and final word from Dr. Holmes re: the principal transfer. In essence, he has listened to and appreciates the concerns expressed from the parents at WMS (and other schools), however, he is sticking with his decision on all principal transfers.
Mrs. Register has done many wonderful things for WMS and it is hard to see her go. However, we must now stick together and show our support for Ms. Brown. I know that our excellent staff, parents and students at WMS will continue to make ours the best school in the LRSD.
I plan on sending an e-mail to the entire student body sometime tonight. I also plan on sitting down with Ms. Brown in the very near future to welcome her to WMS and to lend her our help in transferring to our school. I pray that you will all join me in rallying around our new principal.