Change of Leadership
Summer school started today, and a chance encounter with my principal at the copier left me dismayed. She said she’s thinking seriously of not returning next year. Her contract expires on June 30th, and at this moment, it would take a miracle to make her sign a new contract. She’s fed up with the way this district is being run.
Just two weeks ago, for example, a new superintendent was appointed to replace the retiring superintendent. However, the school board has apparently changed its collective mind and the superintendent-elect is now persona non grata and is being railroaded out of the district. “It’s a witch-hunt,” the principal said.
I’ve watched my principal do the work of two (no, make that three) people since I arrived in January. (There is no assistant principal to handle discipline issues.) At the rate she’s been going, I wondered how long it would take for her to burn out. Apparently, now is the time.
During our initial conversations last fall, she told me that she had made a five-year commitment to lead this school. I think she probably told several other people the same thing, and I’m sure they breathed a sigh of relief. There’s a high rate of turnover both among teachers and administrators in this district. (One of the schools has had three different principals since last fall.) Having a leader stay here five years would help to add some stability to a volatile situation.
After only one year, however, my principal has had enough. She said she needs to be in a district where the school board gets out of the way and lets the superintendent lead. “I can’t work for a leaderless organization,” she said.
I don’t blame her—but I am shocked and saddened. This is the first principal in several years who has treated me as a professional and does not try to micromanage my classroom. I’m experiencing no little anxiety as I anticipate the almost certain change of leadership.