On [May 23], Asheville City Schools will announce the new principals for Claxton and Vance Elementary schools. April Dockery has been appointed as interim principal of Asheville Middle School effective June 1. Meanwhile, we have developed principal profiles for both Asheville High School and Asheville Middle School. … The week of May 23, finalists for the Asheville High position will go through an extensive interview process, with selection advisory teams representing all stakeholders. A similar collaborative process at AMS will follow in the coming weeks. Plans are to have permanent principals in place for both schools before school starts on Aug. 29.
These personnel changes — and others we have recently announced — are part of a bigger picture as we move forward to address early childhood education, academic achievement and the “whole child” for the students and families we serve. Those are the focal points of our 2015-20 Strategic Plan.
It is important to note that in preparation for a new school year, it is not uncommon for school districts to make principal reassignments, assistant principal promotions and other personnel changes. In fact, from 2002-04, new principals were appointed at six of eight Asheville City schools for a myriad of reasons. Over the past 15 years, including this summer, new principals (including reassignments within the district) have been named on 35 occasions at our eight schools. The average tenure has been about three to four years. Bottom line: Pubic school leadership is a dynamic business!
This summer is no different. Gordon Grant is retiring from Hall Fletcher Elementary to begin a second career in a “dream job” with Outward Bound. Cynthia Sellinger is moving, with enthusiasm, from Asheville Middle School to Hall Fletcher, based on her excellent record as the Vance Elementary principal from 2004-12. Current Vance Principal Carrie Allen will become the district’s director of elementary education, a plus for both her career advancement and for our K-5 students/families district-wide. And Claxton’s Kim Dechant will fill an important void in our critical human resources division here at central office.
We appreciate our families and students, teachers, specialists and administrators. Change is not easy for any of us. Yet we continue to battle an achievement gap that has persisted for decades. At the same time, many of our “high-flying”students must stretch for even higher achievement. Society is changing. Students come to us with a variety of hopes and needs. Working together we can and must achieve excellence with equity for every single student we serve.
— Charlie Glazener
Executive Director, Community Relations/Communications
Asheville City Schools
Editor’s note: This letter is in response to the letter, “Asheville City Schools Should Have Consulted Parents,” also in this issue. Also, an update: Asheville City Schools has named Derek Edwards, current Claxton Elementary assistant principal, as the new Claxton principal, and Ruletta Hughes, current assistant principal for sixth grade at Asheville Middle School, as the new Vance Elementary principal.