Oklahoma City Public Schools In Need Of Several Principals
OKLAHOMA CITY - A significant shake up at Oklahoma City Public Schools, about a dozen schools are in need of principals for the upcoming school year.
Ed Allen, President of the American Federation of Teachers for OKC said about 8 of 11 high schools are rumored to lack a principal. He cites student conduct as the number one reason.
"It's unprecedented for this year to have that number in the high school," Allen said.
"This is the toughest place to teach or to work in education in Oklahoma, most can't or won't do the job, and so if you don't feel like you're getting support, then you leave, you retire, you try to transfer to a building where do get support."
The district cites a different cause, saying various factors are to blame including, retirement of the principals at Douglass Mid-High School, Southeast High School, Buchanan Elementary School, Jackson Enterprise Elementary School and Kaiser Elementary School.
There are also the resignations of principals at U.S. Grant High School, Centennial Mid-High School, Capitol Hill High School, Gatewood Elementary School and Shidler Elementary School.
There is also a vacant position at Northeast Academy for Health Sciences and Engineering.
Superintendent Robert Neu issued a statement, saying:
“Oklahoma City Public Schools has received notices from a total of 11 elementary and secondary building principals of their plans to resign or retire at the end of the month. Those who are retiring have spent decades of their lives working with students, and I commend them for their work with students. There are principals who have decided to resign and continue their educational careers outside of OKCPS; I wish them the best as well. Resignations often occur when an organization is making significant, major improvements; this is often seen in the private sector and the education sector is no different. We were prepared for the fact that making bold, student-focused changes to shift the culture of Oklahoma City Public Schools could very well lead to some resignations and staffing changes. We expected it, and we are prepared. Our Chief of Human Resources and Associate Superintendent of Curriculum & Assessment proactively implemented rigorous new hiring practices this year, and created principal candidate pools to identify current staff and interested applicants who aspire to serve our schools in a leadership role. Interviews are being held weekly, and dozens of highly qualified candidates have already been interviewed. Our staff and community can also expect new educators to join our district as principal supervisors. These leaders will ensure accountability from our principals and support a healthy school climate for students. Systemic change is hard, but necessary, when we know we need to dramatically improve student success. We feel certain that the changes we are making are right for our students.”
Still, Allen states other than Emerson, Star Spencer and Classen SAS, the remaining high schools are all looking for new principals.
"Regardless of how they're leaving, that means eight high schools will not have an experienced principal and without an experienced principal in our buildings, it makes it doubly tough for students to learn," Allen said.