Broad River Elementary School's current principal will be staying on after all -- albeit with the title "principal apprentice" -- a decision the Beaufort County School District says is an attempt to enhance Constance Goodwine-Lewis's leadership skills.
But the district's failure to adequately explain the awkward situation it has created suggests it could use a few pointers in that area, too.
Citing the slow pace of academic progress at two of its schools, district officials announced in December that Goodwine-Lewis and Shanklin Elementary School principal Mark Mansell would have to reapply for their jobs if they wanted to keep them.
Mansell instead transferred to Robert Smalls Middle School, where he will be an assistant principal next school year. To find his replacement, the district advertised the vacancy and went through its usual hiring procedure, which includes interviews of applicants conducted by a panel of teachers, district staff and parents.
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That process wasn't followed at Broad River. Instead, Melissa Sheppard, a district academic-improvement officer, was assigned to be the school's principal and to supervise Goodwine-Lewis.
"Whenever there's a concern in terms of what is happening at a school academically, it's up to the district administration and the (Board of Education) to determine what would be a good way to resolve that," district human resources chief Jackie Rosswurm said last week.
But that's a reminder that the district has the authority to fill a position the way it chooses; it is doesn't explain why it did what it did with regard to Goodwine-Lewis.
Pressed to provide one, Rosswurm said there was no specific reason the district did not follow its usual hiring procedure at Broad River Elementary.
One hopes that if the district really wants to improve Goodwine-Lewis's leadership skills, it was more direct and clear in explaining to her why she was required to reapply if applications from others were not going to be solicited and reviewed. One suspects that next school year's unusual arrangement has less to do with professional development and more to do with support of Goodwine-Lewis from Broad River's School Improvement Council.
Whatever the case, the district is not giving clear answers to several questions. Among them:
The answers to these questions speak directly to the district administration's ability to set clear expectations and provide predictable consequences when they are not met.
Good leaders do both.