Archive for Thursday, January 27, 2005

Principal’s departure a surprise

January 27, 2005

The Basehor-Linwood School Board voted Monday night to accept the resignation of Glenwood Ridge Elementary School principal Linda McFarlane. A week ago, McFarlane submitted her resignation letter, which indicated she would remain as principal for the remainder of the school year.

However, school district administrators and board members had a different idea as to when McFarlane's resignation would take effect -- immediately. As of Tuesday morning, Brenda De Groot, director of the Basehor-Linwood Virtual School, began serving as Glenwood Ridge's interim principal.

Originally, the school board was scheduled to vote on McFarlane's resignation in February. However, a special meeting was called Monday night to vote on the proposed changes at Glenwood Ridge.

Jill Hackett, Basehor-Linwood School District superintendent, said employee privacy laws restrict her from speaking about McFarlane's tenure as principal or the timing behind Monday night's vote. However, she said "upon further consideration it appeared it would be in the best interests of all" for De Groot to take the helm at Glenwood Ridge as soon as possible.

"She has been an employee that has been valuable as a teacher and an administrator," Hackett said. "She is well thought of and an excellent leader."

De Groot, the primary architect of the Virtual School, a state-honored pioneering program in online learning, will serve as Glenwood Ridge principal until the end of the year. Her chief lieutenant at the Virtual School, Nicole Williams, will serve as interim director until De Groot returns.

De Groot began Tuesday to familiarize herself with school faculty and students, which shouldn't be difficult considering this year won't be her first stint at the school. In 2003, on the heels of then-principal Tom Sack's resignation stemming from admitted improprieties on state assessment tests, De Groot served as interim principal.

McFarlane, then a reading specialist at the school, was chosen weeks later as an in-house replacement for Sack.

In a letter sent out to Glenwood Ridge students and parents Tuesday, Hackett said an extensive search will begin immediately to find the highest quality candidate to lead the school permanently.

"It is our goal to keep the school functioning smoothly with as little disruption as possible for our students and staff," Hackett's letter said.

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