Parents stand by the side of an Elizabethton principal, whose current job is on the line for next school year. West Side Elementary parents say they've been kept in the dark about the status of a man who has helped their school. News Channel 11 has received numerous phone calls and emails about the concerns. News Channel 11's Kylie McGivern is in your corner, reaching out to parents and seeking answers.
“To begin with it's unusual for a personnel matter of this nature to be handled by the media. but I do understand that the community is concerned,” Elizabethton Schools Superintendent Ed Alexander said.
An outpouring of concern flowed from the source of parents, worried this year will be the last for West Side Elementary's principal.
“When you couple that love and care and affection that he has for students with the fact that we have had a really prosperous term while he's been there it makes it hard to understand why this sort of decision would be made,” parent Rebecca Powers said.
No decision on principal Doug Mitchell's future at the school has been made yet, but Powers says the NOT knowing, is what has parents demanding answers.
“We don't know why this is happened. We've had no feedback or any concern in the past that there's been a problem,” Powers said.
Taking a stand beside a principal she says, has stood behind them.
“Under his 10 years as principal we've had the highest achievement scores we've able to achieve. We also had some stability that was not present before in West Side principals. In the last 10 years, there's been over 11 principles,” Powers said.
“I certainly do not want a controversy and I knew this would be someone along that line,” Alexander said.
After a week of keeping details under wraps, Alexander wants to set one thing straight.
“For the clarity of the circumstance, please note that he is not dismissed, he is not fired, he is recommended at this point for a non-rehire next year in the same role. He is a tenured employee, so he will have a position within our system regardless of what transpires.”
“That was a discussion that he and I had, so that if you (Mitchell) wish to go elsewhere or seek an administrative job, he certainly would have plenty of time to do that so he would not be hindered… I wanted to let him know, I'm willing to take the grief it comes with the controversy now rather than do it at the end of the year,” Alexander said.
The recommendation for non-rehire came from Mitchell's yearly evaluation – not open for public viewing. But Alexander says details will be revealed in meetings Wednesday and Thursday.
Faculty and staff will have a meeting with the superintendent Wednesday at 3:15, and then parents and community members are invited to attend Thursday night's meeting at 6:30. Depending on the turnout, that meeting will be held either in the gym or the library at the elementary school.
Alexander told News Channel 11 the meetings and parent reaction will hold weight in the decision-making process.