FJHS principal to take new position

Published 8:57 am Saturday, January 13, 2007

Veteran Ferriday Junior High School Principal Dorothy Parker will be leaving the academically struggling school for a central office position.

Parker’s move to Title I supervisor was approved at Thursday night’s school board meeting.

And though the step up is a good one for Parker and for the Title I department, officials said, it’s not immediately good for FJHS.

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“For me, in the middle of the year, to pull a principal and have to start over, I’m happy for Mrs. Parker, but I’m not happy about the situation,” Superintendent Kerry Laster said.

Laster recommended the move, and said the decision was the right one.

“We were going in the right direction (at FJHS) and I hate to lose her,” Laster said. “But you hate to hold people back just because you need them in the position.”

Parker has been principal at the junior high since 2000. Before that she was assistant principal for a year.

Two years ago, the school was labeled “academically unacceptable” by the state. Last year, that ranking dropped another level, putting the school at risk for state-mandated consequences.

Parker has been part of a team that instituted a new reading program at the school this year.

Laster said the district will begin advertising immediately to fill the position, and that Parker will stay connected to FJHS until her replacement is hired.

“My biggest concern is that she’s got to stay there until I get somebody there,” Laster said. “The bottom line for me is those kids in the building and not central office personnel.”

Once Parker does make the move she’ll be working with federal programs like the English as a Second Language curriculum and education for homeless children, among other things.

She is replacing Beatrice Williams, who retired from the position last month.

“I’m looking forward to being able to assist other principals,” Parker said Friday. “(I’ll work to) assist other schools with identifying and using materials and best practices to assist with student achievement.”

The Title I department, led by director Julius Huhn, currently has one other employee.

Laster said the district might look at reorganizing some duties with the addition of Parker.

Parker was one of four applicants for the job. All four were from within the district.

Parker said she would miss parts of her job at FJHS.

“I do love the school,” she said.

“I like dealing directly with students. I love my faculty and my parents, but I do want to have the opportunity for continued personal and professional growth.”

Laster said, internally, the district has a lack of candidates qualified for the FJHS administrative position. Advertisements for the position will go on Web sites and regional newspapers.

“We’ll advertise and hopefully have somebody by the next board meeting,” she said. “But there’s no guarantee. We don’t get that many people that are willing to make that move (to a junior high administrative job).

“I am looking at salary supplement changes for administrators which might help us attract some people.”