Brooks Middle School Principal Flora Green and nine others defended her professional performance and urged the District 97 Board of Education last night not to vote to begin a process that could remand her to teacher ranks.
However, the board voted 6-1 to do just that, with Sharon Patchak-Layman casting the dissenting vote because she wanted to discuss comments made by Green and Brooks teachers, parents and community members with the rest of the board.
Patchak-Layman moved to table the motion to pass a resolution giving Supt. John C. Fagan the green light to give Green notice of being reclassified next fall to teacher status. The move was not seconded. Green has been principal at Brooks, previously known as Emerson Junior High, for a decade.
Board President Ade Onayemi spoke sternly to Patchak-Layman about the motion, saying the vote on the resolution was just the first step in the process. Green will be given due process as afforded by state law, namely the opportunity to request a private and/or public hearing with the board.
Green has 10 days to request "a written statement of the facts regarding reclassification" and a private hearing with the board to discuss reasons for the reclassification, the law states. If Green is not satisfied with the private hearing, within 5 days she can request a public hearing, and has the right to have legal representation at both hearings.
Green said that Fagan had given her only "nebulous" explanations for the move, including that "things just aren't moving fast enough at [Brooks]." She said she had no performance issues prior to the building of the new school.
Green also said Fagan told her she would not be principal of Brooks the summer before the new school opened and after she had completed the preliminary work in getting the school built.
Fagan was out of the office Thursday and could not be reached for comment.
Upon completing her address to the board, Green was met with a standing ovation from the crowd of more than 100 gathered in the Brooks Commons for the board meeting.
Other speakers called on the board to produce data showing Green's performance warranted her removal.
No one spoke in favor of the reclassification.
If Green requests the hearings, and if the board decides to continue with the reclassification, it would need to notify Green in writing within 15 days of the last hearing.
Nothing in the school code prohibits the board from requiring a principal to make a lateral transfer to a position of similar rank and equal salary.
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