New Principal Should Be Chosen Soon, More Time to Get Acclimated


When Principal Dan Meier announced his retirement, he said he wanted to give his successor an opportunity to be involved in the decisions made at the end of this school year for the following year. A week before his retirement, however, the board is left without any candidates and an interim principal and the school is left in the dark.

While the interim principal Jon Ponton is highly qualified, he cannot fill the need for a permanent principal placed at the school. There are certain decisions which will need to be made in the following months that should be made by the person who will be left to deal with their consequences next fall.

It is shocking and disappointing the selection board did not have a back-up plan beyond the three candidates they were considering. If they had to restart the entire process after eliminating these candidates, then there was clearly not sufficient preliminary work done. Now we are back to square one, with even less time left to make this important decision.

After the initial information collection process, when they ran a GMR clip asking for student input and recruited students and teachers for an interview panel, little has been heard from the selection board. Many staff members are just as clueless as students as to where matters stand and what needs to happen next. Students should not have to exert extraordinary effort in order to be informed about such things, and without their awareness it will be hard to retain their cooperation.

The student body is so large and the school’s traditions are so old the process of getting acclimated will take the new principal months and possibly even years. Not only will the new principal have a difficult time settling in at the beginning of next year, when they are called upon the most, but the interim principal will leave before he has even had time to settle in. At the same time, students will be catching spring fever and in anticipation of summer be more unruly than usual. The new principal will have to jump in just as quickly as they will have to jump out of the position, which a lot to ask from both him and the school.

Now that the principal selection process is being restarted, the selection board and others involved need to make sure students and staff are kept in the loop. At the same time, although the current situation is definitely not ideal and needs to be addressed immediately, students and staff members will need to be patient and show extra support for the interim principal in their own best interest.