Lane’s Local School Council (LSC) called for a special meeting June 1, addressing rumors concerning why Mr. Tennison left and deciding on a date for the new principal announcement.
Initially Tennison was set to stay until the end of the school year; however in a May 26 email, he announced that his official last day as principal would be June 1. To accommodate, the LSC discussed possible changes to the principal hiring interview process.
With the regular LSC meeting still scheduled for Thursday, June 3, more public comments can be made as the special meeting was mostly a closed session, Chairperson Emily Haite said.
Read below for a full recap of public participation, open session, and moments after the closed session:
Haite said that public participation would be focused on the topic of the hiring of the principal.
Rosalynn Walker, a parent of a current sophomore, said that the LSC is very capable in the job that they are doing, but also expressed a wish that the LSC will take into consideration hiring a principal who is sensitive to the different student populations.
“Please keep in mind to have a principal that is sensitive to the diverse learners, and as our nation is going through a racial awakening, have a principal that is sensitive to different populations, both culturally and orientation-wise,” Walker said.
Before going into closed session, Haite said the LSC received seven resumes from CPS, but only five are eligible, as the other two have not gone through the CPS principal eligibility process. Haite said that the LSC would discuss the five candidates during the closed session and choose who will be interviewed.
There would also need to be further discussion during the closed session, if the LSC wants to repost the principal listing for more resumes to consider. Haite said she doesn’t see that happening as she thinks there are “a good bunch of candidates” to interview. As Tennison’s departure date moved up, Haite said she wanted to keep the hiring process moving.
“We want to keep this process moving. We are not going to hire someone just for the sake of hiring someone, so I want to calm everyone’s fears about that,” Haite said.
Next week, the LSC is scheduled to do interviews on Tuesday, June 8, combining first and second round interviews (this was decided later in the meeting, during the closed session).
Haite said she asked the LSC liaison from CPS and the network chief if the LSC could combine the first and second round of interviews to move the process up by a week if there are only a few candidates. The answer: the LSC has to post the position and hire someone; everything in between is up to the LSC, Haite said.
Later in the meeting, after the closed session, Haite said the LSC plans on having the candidate finalists forum on June 14. (This was moved up one week from the original tentative date of June 21.)
Haite said the LSC was hoping to do second round interviews in-person and do a hybrid of the candidate forum so they can be together during this process. However, CPS isn’t allowing them to meet in a CPS environment, as the only things that are allowed in school are athletics and academics, Haite said. As the LSC isn’t allowed to have meetings in-person, they are trying to find a non-CPS site for a hybrid candidate forum, she said.
The goal is by June 23 (at the latest), to have a meeting and offer a contract to the new principal.
Haite also addressed different rumors that have been circling around Facebook.
“We [the LSC] did not force Mr. Tennison to leave early, it was not his choice. He wanted to stay through graduation, but he had things that he had to take care of. He and CPS couldn’t come to an agreement on how to get through the next month,” Haite said. “I’ve been a little frustrated with all the rumors I’ve heard, so I just wanted to address those right now.”
Haite also addressed senior parents who are angered by the fact that Tennison won’t be at graduation, stating how the AP’s run graduation and Tennison gave up giving a speech to be able to call out everyone’s names so he doesn’t really give a speech.
Closing the public portion of the special meeting, Haite moved the LSC into a closed session.
Haite said that in the LSC’s closed session, the council discussed the candidates, who will be moving on to the rounds of interviews and if they should combine the first and second round of interviews.
After the closed session that lasted about an hour, the LSC moved back into open session to review upcoming dates for the rest of the month.
June 8: The Interviews
June 14: The Candidate Forum
June 15: LSC Meeting (Hopefully New Principal Announcement)
Details about how the interview will be conducted will be discussed in a closed session at the June 3 meeting, according to Haite. The LSC will also review and approve closed meeting minutes from previous meetings.
The special meeting was then adjourned, but the search for a new principal remains open.