by The Republican Newsroom
Wednesday September 09, 2009, 1:15 PM
By DIANE LEDERMAN
AMHERST - Some parents are praising the middle school principal who resigned last month and questioning whether something could be worked out where she might be able to return.
Parents at a Tuesday night Amherst Regional School Committee meeting pressed for the reasons Glenda Cresto resigned Aug. 31, three days after the start of the school year.
Some Amherst Regional School Committee members, meanwhile, said they were concerned that Amherst Regional High School principal Mark Jackson was being overburdened by being named temporary principal of the middle school in addition to his regular duties.
Amherst Regional School Superintendent Alberto Rodriguez explained that by law he cannot divulge more information about the reason that Cresto, the former site director of the Boston Teacher Residency training program, resigned after one year on the job. She reportedly told faculty that the position wasn't a good fit for her.
Parent Karen Lavine said Cresto "was a wonderful asset to the middle school." She said there are concerns that her resignation "was shrouded in mystery."
One parent, Julia Y. Rueschenmeyer, asked whether Rodriguez would contact Cresto to see if they could discuss the possibility of her returning under Rodriguez's tutelage. Rodriguez said Cresto would need to contact him with the request.
Committee member Catherine A. Sanderson would also like to see Cresto return. In an e-mail, she wrote that she felt that Cresto was "making good progress" on changes at the school. "I certainly wish she would come back, and I certainly have heard that sentiment expressed by parents in the community," Sanderson said. She also believes having a stable leader would be better than the temporary plan in place.
Parents were also upset that they didn't find out about the resignation right away.
Rodriguez apologized and said he could have done a better job at communicating the news, but that his first concern was ensuring interim leadership was in place.
"My priority was acting quickly to bring stability to the middle school," he said.
Diane Chamberlain, the South Amherst campus program coordinator for special education, will be designated as temporary assistant principal, joining Annie M. Leonard and Miki Lee Gromacki in support of high school matters.
Michael C. Hayes, a former co-principal at the middle school, will serve as senior assistant principal during an interim period, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the middle school.
School committee member Irvin E. Rhodes said he was concerned about having Jackson "being between two schools. I'd like to see it as temporary as possible."
Rodriguez said he would reexamine the situation in December and will begin a search for a new principal. However, he believes that since most likely candidates for the job are already locked into contracts at other schools, a new principal would not begin until July 1. He also said he wants to hire a consultant to evaluate the middle school.
My Goal in Blogging
I started this blog in May of 2008, shortly after my election to the School Committee, because I believed it was very important to both provide the community with an opportunity to share their thoughts with me about our schools and to provide me with an opportunity for me to ask questions and share my thoughts and reasoning. I have found the conversation generated on my blog to be extremely helpful to me in learning community views on many issues. I appreciate the many people who have taken the time to share their views. I believe it is critical to the quality of our public schools to have a public discussion of our community priorities, concerns and aspirations.