Brooks parents identify desirable principal traits

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By DREW CARTER

Brooks Middle School parents met last Wednesday night at the school to identify characteristics they'd like to see in a new principal and what a successful school might look like. Information gathered at the meeting will guide the district in choosing a replacement for Principal Flora Green, who was reassigned to assistant director of special education in April.

A frequent theme among comments made at the meeting was moving past the "crisis mode" the school has been under for two years after a consultant explored problems at the school and a Critical Issues Process addressed them.

"I think this was a constructive step," said Julie Steenhuysen, a Brooks parent, after the meeting. "I think we need to come together as a community to move on."

About 30 parents attended the meeting.

During the meeting, Steenhuysen and others said having a strong new leader would obviate the Critical Issues Process. She appreciated the leadership shown by parents on the School Leadership Team, but said it was time for a change.

Others argued that a new principal could fit into the improvement process, and that it should be ongoing.

"I want a professional educator running this school," Steenhuysen said.

Parents said the new principal should be strong, able to stand up for?#34;and to?#34;both parents and teachers, and experienced in strong community dynamics. "Bulletproof, basically," one parent said.

District spokeswoman Gail Crantz and Human Resources Director Felicia Starks Turner moderated the meeting and will digest the information shared by parents and teachers, who met earlier in the day, into a "collective statement."

Linda Dallam, the assistant principal for curriculum, will help read applicants' resumes and narrow the search. Administrators will pick five or six to send to an interview team composed of about 20 parents, staff and administrators. That team will interview the candidates and make recommendations to outgoing Supt. John C. Fagan and incoming Supt. Connie Collins. Collins will make the final recommendation to the Dist. 97 Board of Education.

Crantz said that recommendation could come by the end of the month "if everything goes swimmingly." If not, the district expects to have a recommendation by early June.
Contact: dcarter@wjinc.com

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