By NICK GRABBE
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
AMHERST - Superintendent Alberto Rodriguez announced Tuesday that Glenda Cresto will not withdraw her resignation as principal of the Regional Middle School and described her parting as an amicable one.
Rodriguez said he spoke to Cresto Monday at the urging of a school parent. "I can assure the community that Ms. Cresto is on her way to bigger and better things," he said. "I know the community felt there needed to be closure."
Meanwhile, High School Principal Mark Jackson described the "awkward situation" of his taking responsibility for both buildings two weeks ago.
Jackson spoke to a group of 70 middle school parents Monday, and to the School Committee Tuesday. "There's no handbook on how to manage a transition like this," he said. "I wasn't a candidate for this job."
He noted that he was a middle school principal elsewhere for 10 years, and Mike Hayes, the senior assistant principal at the middle school, has 10 years experience there.
Jackson said he wants to clearly define roles and responsibility to avoid "careening."
"We want to avoid pinballing ourselves from one urgent emergency to another, so there's a sense of settledness on the large issues we face," he said.
Jackson urged parents who have questions about courses or assignments to contact teachers or department heads. "I am going to have to step back from some of the first-line contact with parents and students," he said.
The plan is for Jackson to be principal of both regional schools until December and then reassess the situation. He said there are some positive aspects.
First, budget preparation for next year may be more efficient and unified because he oversees both schools, he said. Also, he will get a better sense of how aligned the two schools are instructionally. He noted that the two schools share some faculty, such as in music and language.
Several committee members said they felt reassured by Jackson's presentation. But member Andy Churchill said he is "concerned that we don't burn out the high school principal, too." Member Steve Rivkin urged that a "serious evaluation" of math instruction in the middle school proceed and warned of "inertia."
Member Catherine Sanderson said she was concerned that residents who think the schools have too many administrators will look at the temporary staffing setup and conclude that it is adequate. She said she's heard from parents who worry that the middle school will be "treading water for a year."
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.