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School council at West Jessamine High School prepares for principal search

May 22, 2013|By Jonathan Kleppinger | jkleppinger@jessaminejournal.com

The West High site-based decision-making (SBDM) council met Tuesday to begin the process of selecting a new principal with still no official details available on the circumstances of their previous principal's departure.

Ed Jones had served six years as principal of the school. He was suspended with pay April 29 and was no longer the principal as of May 15. An open-records request from The Journal for the personnel actions acknowledged at Monday's school-board meeting is pending, but officials have given no details so far on the reason for the suspension or why Jones was no longer the principal.

Superintendent Lu Young, who is required by law to serve as chair of the school council for the purposes of principal selection, told the West High school council Tuesday that she wanted to move forward quickly with a selection and not appoint an interim principal for next year.

Young said she would have recommended an interim principal if the vacancy had occurred a month later but that she believed pursuing a permanent principal right now would be the “most important thing” for stability. Young said she hoped the council could name a new principal by June 24.

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“I don’t have what I consider to be a good-enough reason to put an interim in place because I am convinced that we’ll have a really good applicant pool,” she said. “I’ve heard from several potential applicants already by email and word of mouth the last few days, and we also have applications coming in.”

The other principal search that Young has headed — earlier this year at Wilmore Elementary School — worked from what Young called a “shallow” pool of nine completed applications that yielded three “exceptional” finalists.

Jessamine County chief operations officer Jimmy Adams will assist the council in the search process. Adams will begin gathering feedback from students as early as next Wednesday and will begin mandatory principal-selection training for the school council at a special meeting Friday.

Young pointed out during the meeting that council members Marci Smith and Leo Labrillazo are both in the district’s pool of potential principals and assistant principals but said she found no legal or ethical conflict in their involvement in finding a new principal for West. Young said a conflict would arise if one of the two became an official candidate for the position. Smith is West’s technology coordinator and co-head of the math department; Labrillazo is a teacher at Wilmore Elementary but serves on the West High SBDM council as a minority parent representative.

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