Sources: RPS principals on the chopping block after ‘unannounced visits to schools’

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RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) — Sources have confirmed to 8News that Richmond Public Schools plans to get rid of nearly a dozen principals by the end of the fiscal year.

8News has learned that principals are being reconsidered at 10 schools, including George Mason E.S., Overby-Sheppard E.S., George Wythe H.S., John Marshall High School and Thomas Jefferson High School.

Earlier this year, administrative officials made several unannounced visits to schools earlier this year. Schools were observed to see how things were being run. Several principals were then placed on administrative improvement plans ‘with no merit,’ according to sources. 

Some principals will be invited back into classrooms to teach. In some schools, vice principals will be promoted. 

However, in light of the news, 8News has learned that many RPS principals decided to submit their resignations this week rather than wait for a decision to be made.

George Wythe High School’s principal resigned Thursday, sources say, but will remain employed with RPS through the end of June. 8News is told other principals also submitted their immediate resignation.  

On the agenda for Monday’s school board meeting is an update from RPS Chief Schools Officer Harry Hughes regarding the principal selection process. 

The presentation includes the seven step process to hire new principals.

The administration plans on first identifying candidates with principal tenure in an urban area as well as instructional experience and leadership. 

Candidates will then be interviewed in person by principal directors, RPS administration, a community panel, and finally with superintendent Jason Kamras. 

As of Friday April 12, the administration had received 210 principal applicatoins and 17 interviews are scheduled with principal directors. 

Parents are split down the middle on the sudden changes though.

“In school systems as well as in corporate, you know a lot of times you do have a shake-up,” said Lisa Foster, an RPS parent. 

Foster’s twin boys enrolled in RPS. She is also a teacher and realizes the challenges fellow educator face each day, adding “administrating is very very difficult..”

She said that she sees these changes as an opportunity for RPS to recruit strong candidates who are up for the challenge. 

“It’s OK to make change,” she said. “I think it’s most importantly how you make the change.” 

8News has reached out to the school district and are waiting to hear back. 8News has learned that RPS hired a principal recruiter to help implement the forthcoming changes. The principal selection process will be a topic of discussion at Monday’s school board meeting, according to sources.  

8News has also obtained a letter from the superintendent’s chief of staff, asking principals to reach out to council members and go to the city council meeting in support of the budget. 

School policy says all political action from teachers must represent their own views and not the views of the school district.

Stay with 8News for updates to this developing story

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