Board members differ on principal proposal

6:00 am | April 7, 2013

Elizabethton Board of Education members Rita Booher and Catherine Armstrong offered differing views of Thursday’s public meeting where the director of schools outlined his reasons for recommending that an elementary school principal not be rehired.

But they were in agreement on one point: Principal Doug Mitchell’s future role is Ed Alexander’s call.
“I don’t agree with the recommendation but the whole hiring and firing process is the superintendent’s job,” Armstrong said. “It is not the board’s job.”

“I understand some of the public is frustrated that we can’t overrule that decision,” Booher said. “It is clear what the role of the school board is and we have to go by what the law says we can do.”

On other points, the board members saw things differently.

Armstrong was pleased with the turnout and the community interest in education, while Booher said the meeting started impressively but spun out of control.

“I am grateful and touched that so many people came to the meeting and showed they cared about the school and the children,” Armstrong said. “We haven’t seen that in quite a while. I hate that this happened and came down to this. The meeting did give a feeling that people care and they want what’s best for the teachers and the school. I am so appreciative that they would stand up and give their support.”

Booher, the board chairman, said she attended the meeting to hear what would be said concerning the recommendation. She said she appreciated Alexander’s effort in organizing the meeting, but felt he was not given an adequate chance to explain the reasons behind the recommendation.

“The meeting was civil until Mr. Alexander started to speak,” she said.

“He was never allowed to finish a thought. The parents walked away from the meeting without getting any answers on his recommendation. I appreciate that Mr. Alexander was there to talk with the public but he was never allowed to.”

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