When a district has more than 40 administrators, resignations can cause a ripple effect.
That’s what has happened since Jacque Douglas, Title I program administrator for Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp., and Cynthia Frost, principal at Clifty Creek Elementary School, announced they will be stepping down from leadership roles.
Douglas will retire at the end of the school year, and Frost has taken a medical leave of absence and will return to the district as a teacher in the fall. Superintendent John Quick said the district did not want to launch large searches to fill both positions, so there has been some shuffling within:
Laura Hack, principal at Smith Elementary, will fill Douglas’ position at the district level beginning in the fall.
Gina Pleak, principal at Mt. Healthy Elementary, will take over at Clifty Creek following spring break.
Amy Wetherald, assistant principal at Southside Elementary, will lead Mt. Healthy beginning next school year.
In the meantime, Jim Darnell, currently an elementary counselor, will step in as interim leader at Mt. Healthy.
A search will begin to fill the Smith Elementary principal position and the Southside Elementary assistant principal position.
Linda DeClue, assistant superintendent of human resources for the district, said Pleak was selected to lead Clifty Creek for her relationship-building skills and her experience. Before arriving in Columbus, Pleak led a turnaround at Waldron Elementary School.
Clifty Creek has earned an F in the state’s A-F accountability system for the past three years and was required to take several actions to demonstrate to the state and to the public that improvement plans are in place. Pleak will attempt to bring Clifty Creek up to a C grade so the school can be removed from priority school status.
Quick said the transition will be minimally disruptive, especially with many of the changes not taking effect until the next school year.
Hack will focus on Smith Elementary for the time being; and although Wetherald may spend some time at Mt. Healthy this year, her priority will be finishing the school year at Southside.
“She’ll have a toe in at Mt. Healthy and her feet in at Southside,” he said.
The school board will not vote on the recommendations until its April 14 meeting, but Quick said he already has briefed the staffs at each school on the shuffle.
“They’re great people, and the schools will be in good hands,” he said.