By Ashley Rader
Dozens of citizens addressed Director of Schools Ed Alexander during a meeting he held Thursday evening to answer questions on his recommendation to not rehire Doug Mitchell as principal at West Side Elementary. School board members Rita Booher, Catherine Armstrong, Dr. Grover May and Phil Isaacs attended the meeting as well.
Some speakers left before they could be identified by the STAR.
Sue Brown – I have a child who has attended West Side Elementary for three years. I have never had communication problems with Mr. Mitchell. The last time I called, he got back in touch with me 30 minutes later and gave me a choice of times to meet with him. I made the call at 9 a.m. and at 11 a.m. I was in his office speaking with him. He spoke honestly and got to the root of the problem.
Linda Gemonde – Mr. Mitchell is always professional and provides a positive example for the students. He is readily available with little or no notice and he works to promote the school and the students. The students both respect and like him.
Name unknown- Evaluations are not an evaluation of character. I am grateful I could send my children to this school. Exemplary character will not show up on the handout that you gave out. I have heard numerous stories about Mr. Mitchell going above and beyond his job description. In all the time I have been involved with this school, both as a student and a parent, I have not heard of such an administrator as Mr. Mitchell. He is completely competent in his position.
Anthony Reece – Mr. Mitchell is an integral part of West Side. I look at him as a shepherd overseeing and taking care of his flock.
Female speaker, name unknown – In every interaction I have had with Mr. Mitchell, I never saw him waiver in his concern for me or for my child. If a man who has worked every day for five years to lead, discipline and support our children is not enough to be a member of this community, I am ashamed of us.
Randy Lacy, former city school administrator – I have served as assistant principal, principal and administrator in the city schools. In my time as administrator, I can only address this for myself, I never did not receive a response from Mr. Mitchell. I can’t address the last two years, but I always got a call back, or time in the office or a visit if I could not come to him.
Tim Larkins – Mr. Mitchell is nothing but respectful and courteous. I take issue with the failure to address homework overkill. When we hear reports of how America is ranking so poorly against over nations and now we have complaints there is too much homework, it sounds like a parent problem and not a teacher or a leadership problem. You are trying to rationalize away his successes as principal. If the scores had gone down, who would you be blaming?
Fifth grade student Tayla Dugger – Please let Mr. Mitchell stay as principal of West Side.
Pam Stewart – Do what is best for the children. Swallow your pride and do what is best for them.
Areanna Edgins – Why is a principal that cares and stands up for his students, why is he being punished?
Former intern at West Side, name unknown – There is a side to Mr. Mitchell that not everyone gets to see. There is a humbleness that he has, and a true love for the children. I seen him doing jobs he did not have to do and reaching out to the students to let them know he does care.
Dave Wortman – I am not hearing a change of heart (from Ed Alexander). He has the power to go through with this. Contact the school board members. After Mr. Mitchell, who is next? How many times do we have to let this happen before we stop this?
Vicky Manuel – I am not familiar with the situation at West Side Elementary. I do know there are communication issues at other schools. There are problems internally in the school system. If you are not a ‘yes, man’ or say ‘yes, sir’, you do not exist.
Susan Peters – The same mistakes that were made in the past with a different director of schools are being made again. These issues have nothing to do with the education of the children. To ask the other administrators for their opinion is pitting the employees against each other.
Male speaker, to Alexander – You have a good man here as principal. It feels like this is a personal vendetta. I ask you to do the right thing for the students.
Male speaker, to Alexander – From what I have heard during this meeting, you have spoke in a snarky and condescending way. If that is the way you communicate, I wouldn’t want to communicate with you either.
Male speaker, to Alexander – I am not from here and am not familiar with the school system or the school. It seems like the only person here who does not like Mr. Mitchell is you.