SCHOOLS

SRHS principal seat still empty

SRHS principal seat still empty

It was recently announced that a permanent hire for Scripps Ranch High School (SRHS) has not been made to fill the principal’s seat, and the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) decided to wedge two retired administrators into the position for the time being.

Earlier this month, SDUSD Area 6 Supervisor Fabiola Bagula released a statement saying that no experienced candidates met the requirements to lead SRHS, and Beverly Greco along with Walter Fairley will share the responsibilities of principal while the district starts the search process again. Greco and Fairley are both retired SDUSD administrators.

Coincidentally, Bagula, herself, left the district a few days after issuing the announcement. She was replaced by Judy Tenorio on an interim basis. SDUSD Area 6 includes the Scripps Ranch, Crawford and Hoover school clusters.

Meanwhile, hundreds of SRHS students, along with their parents, had to endure the results of a decision by the College Board to throw out Advanced Placement scores from exams taken by the students in May, based on a technicality in the way the seating was arranged. Although none of the students who completed the exams are at fault, they must retake the tests if they want their scores. Those who are available are retaking the exams this week, with another session of retesting being offered in August. SDUSD attempted to gain a temporary restraining order in hopes of forcing the College Board to validate the scores of the exams taken in May, but a federal court ruled against the school district.

Adding to the chaotic summer, SRHS has been undergoing campus construction work and upkeep. For instance, the gymnasium is currently closed for cleaning and floor refinishing through Aug. 6.

Principal Ann Menna retired in June at the end of the 2016-2017 school year after 37 years with the district. Before SDUSD knew anything about the AP exam fiasco, the district began a step-by-step search for a new principal. Bagula held both a morning and an afternoon public meeting at SRHS to explain the process on June 8. Only six people attended the afternoon session that day, and two of those attendees were students.

The open principal position was publicized for 10 days, from June 1 to 10. It was publicized through the district and the opening was also posted on EdJoin.org, an education job board.

Those who appeared to be qualified candidates underwent a first interview with all SDUSD area superintendents, the district’s Office of Secondary Schools, and the district’s Human Resources Department. This was to be a quick, 10-minute, open-ended interview, according to Bagula.

Those selected from the first set of interviews were to proceed to a second interview with a panel at the SDUSD offices, scheduled for June 19. The group chosen for the panel to help interview the SRHS principal candidates included a certified district administrator, two classified employees, two parents, one community member, two students, a high school principal and the area supervisor.

The members of the panel must agree on the process for interviewing the candidates and the qualifications. Bagula said the area supervisor must not influence the panel’s selection process.

There was long list of attributes that the candidate must possess and panel would consider when interviewing candidates. Here are just a few:

  • Administrative experience
  • Familiarity with high school needs
  • Vision for all student types
  • High school classroom experience
  • Collaborative

The few attending the afternoon public meeting on June 8 at SRHS suggested several more attributes, which Bagula added to the list for possible consideration. Some of these were:

  • Versed in restorative justice practices
  • Values parents and their input/open to meeting with parents at times when parents are available
  • Welcoming to community partnerships

Some of those attending the afternoon meeting began to describe concerns about the way SRHS was being run.

One parent was concerned that SRHS after school athletics have become geared only toward elite athletes and less toward inclusive participation. A student mentioned an instance in which a community service club from Scripps Ranch was recently banned from providing its longtime program for students. One attendee wanted more college fairs at the school to help students.

There was a complaint that SRHS had become too restricted. Another person described the aesthetics at the school as being too sterile. She was concerned about school spirit. She felt the feeling of pride one gets when attending the high school was missing.

Candidates recommended by the panel were to go through a third interview involving a walk-through of the high school classrooms. The third interview includes SDUSD Superintendent Cindy Marten and her chief of staff. If convinced that a specific candidate is the right person for the position, the superintendent would recommend the candidate to the SDUSD School Board.

The candidate that is chosen must be approved by the entire SDUSD School Board before ultimately gaining the principal position at SRHS.

At the time of the June 8 public meeting, Bagula said the district was hoping to hire a principal in July. Now, the process has begun again, and there is no clear date in which a new, permanent SRHS principal will assume the role.

SRHS students are scheduled to return for the first day of classes Aug. 28.

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