MODESTO -- Despite passionate pleas and a student march to save a principal's job, the Modesto City Schools board voted in closed session to approve removal of six administrators at school year's end. In open session, the board approved high school attendance boundary changes to even out enrollment.
Five of the removed administrators will be reassigned to teaching or other positions. One, a temporary employee, was dismissed, said board President Nancy Cline.
Principals from Johansen, Elliott and Davis high schools and Franklin Elementary, along with assistant principals at Elliott and Johansen, all addressed the board before the panel met in closed session.
Franklin students and parents marched from the school to the meeting to plead with the board to reconsider reassigning Principal Michael Brady.
Third-grader William Johnson, 8, said the walk was nice except that dogs barked at them.
"I don't understand. Why is Mr. Brady losing his job? What did he do wrong?" William asked.
His mom, Carolina Maciel Johnson, said she wanted her children to get answers.
Parent Angela Garcia said before Brady came a year and a half ago, "Franklin was in a downward spiral." Scores were dropping, attendance was down, there was no parent involvement and "it was such a sad place for students," Garcia said.
Principals plead their case
Brady told the board the school had eight principals in 15 years, so he focused on making staff and parents feel valued and respected. "I'm a builder and I want my job back," he said.
Elliott Principal Julie Beebe, who is now on paid leave, said she was told her leadership and communication styles did not meet expectations, but she has started innovative programs, lowered discipline problems and raised attendance.
Davis Principal Lynn Lysko called her years at Davis "the most rewarding time of my life." Lysko said she created a Professional Learning Community at Davis and trained other administrators in the program.
Positive job evaluations
Julie Moore, principal at Johansen, released last year's job evaluations, which show a mix of good and outstanding checks. Moore said she believed her superiors were pleased with her work.
The board announcement reaffirming Superintendent Pam Able's staffing changes was made without additional comment.
In other matters, the board unanimously approved spending up to $99,000 with CaliforniaSafeSchools.com to update and standardize safety plans and training. Firm President Rex Osborn said many of the older schools have systems that do not mesh with what is in place at newer campuses.
Board members unanimously approved the boundary shifts meant to balance enrollment at their high schools. Some Enochs students will shift to Beyer and Johansen. Some Beyer students will shift to Davis. But the district will allow affected incoming freshmen to pick their schools if they apply for open enrollment by March 4.
Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2339. Follow her on Twitter, @NanAustin.