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Principal hiring haste casts unfair shadow

The important surprise announcement Wednesday of the hiring of new principals at Brookhaven High School and Brookhaven Elementary School was, unfortunately, accompanied by procedural errors by school trustees. This inopportune turn of events has cast an unfair shadow on the district’s newest school leaders that could have been avoided.

     Our understanding is that both David Martin and Janee’ Harrison are qualified and very capable administrators. A committee of teachers and parents, we understand, vetted a total of eight individuals for the two vital leadership positions in our city schools.

     “We understand” and “surprise” are key terms in that they point to poor communications between the school system’s administration and parents, as well as the taxpayers who foot the bills. There needs to be a better effort there.

     We understand the reason behind a phone vote was to allow the surprise announcement during the Wednesday morning Convocation for the school system’s faculty and staff. There was no recommendation of hiring during Tuesday’s night’s regular school board meeting.

     According to the Mississippi Open Meetings Act, such phone votes without a discussion during an open meeting are questionable. The board has corrected that procedural question with a specially called meeting Thursday to formally take the vote. Unfortunately, the public discussion during the meeting was never held.

     While it is wonderful to keep the faculty and staff informed before the school session ends, we think it is more important to keep the public and taxpayers in the forefront. Hopefully, school administrators have heard the public outcry and will more closely follow procedures and strive to better communicate their plans and actions in the future.

     In the meantime, our children need the best teachers and best school system possible. These are trying times, and the public must trust their officials to make the best decisions.

     In filling the newly vacated principal positions, Superintendent Lisa Karmacharya and the board obviously felt they had found the top candidates; unfortunately, they let their excitement get the best of them. The strength of our schools is vital to the economic strength of our community. More importantly, the strength of our school systems is seated in the public trust.

     We welcome Principals David Martin and Janee’ Harrison and look forward to their efforts to lead our local schools. We think they will find a good system that has stumbled recently but is on the right track to reach higher goals.