Firing and Hiring Principals


So the superintendent has been on a hiring binge of late for principals. He has also been actively firing and moving current principals out of their positions and into new ones without preamble, preparation, or pause.

To what end?

Well, as with everything the superintendent does, these moves are entirely about control. In order to control the district, he must control the teachers and employees. For that to occur he must control the schools, and the schools are under the control of the principals.

So, first you threaten all of them by saying that all of their jobs are on the table. Those who can retire, probably will.

Then you actively move principals out of the schools they are currently serving and into new, increasingly difficult situations as he has done with Leslie Esneault by calling it a promotion.

And you do the same with a principal who you moved into her current position less than a year ago as with Ava Waters-Maze.

And of course, you fire everyone you can, like Chad Laqua and Kurus Jamison, even if you were singing their praises just eight months ago.

All of this to establish control over a system. To make the system ready to be remade in Eli Broad’s image and idea of what education should be.

As a prelude to all of this, you hire PROACT Search to conduct “six to ten national searches” for suitable principals to replace all those you’re firing or “promoting.” Yes, PROACT Search has direct ties to Eli Broad supported activities. What of it?

So we pay PROACT to conduct a “national search that we couldn’t conduct on our own” $11,000 (with up to $2,000 per search to cover expenses) for every candidate that they find.

To date, we’ve paid PROACT a total of $77,999.99 according to the district’s check registry since September of 2011.

Here are the actual links if you want to check the numbers for yourself:

  • February 2012: $13,000.00 (Pg. 4)
  • February 2012: $26,000.00 (Pg. 29)
  • December 2011: $5,500.00 (Pg. 3)
  • November 2011: $14,666.66 (Pg. 31)
  • October 2011: $7,500.00 (Pg. 24)
  • September 2011: $11,333.33 (Pg. 32)

By those figures according to the original contract, we should have hired about seven new, “nationally competitive” principals.

We have, insofar as I can tell, hired four principals as a result of a search conducted by PROACT Search. Bet you’ll never guess which four were recommended by PROACT?

  • Michael Scott Campbell of Fairfax, VA.
  • Ray Landers, of Attalla, AL.
  • Dan Meier, of Fairfax, VA.
  • Paul Bonner, of Charlotte, NC.

So, we’re paying PROACT Search $11,000.00 (plus $2,000.00 expenses) per search to find two new principals from Fairfax, VA., one from Attalla, AL., and one from Charlotte, NC. All four of these new principals were hired with probationary contracts that would establish which school they would be placed at, at a later date. This past Thursday, Wardynski claimed it would be the end of May before these placements would be decided.

One of these contracts, Mr. Meier’s, was rescinded at a specially called board meeting on Thursday, April 12, 2012. Despite Dr. Robinson’s claim that the rescinding of the contract proved that “Dr. Wardynski is doing things in new ways and developing new processes,” the board, on the day they voted to rescind the contract, did not discuss the action at all. They simply voted, as unanimously as they did to approve the contract to rescind it.

Again, there was no public discussion of any of the “new processes” of which Dr. Robinson spoke.

I suppose we’re just supposed to trust her on this. Just as we were supposed to trust her when she praised each and every one of the recommendations Dr. Wardynski has brought to the board.

Note: There is a rumor floating around that Dan Meier wasn’t one of the PROACT Search recommendations. It’s possible that someone saw his name on a PROACT list and said, “we already know about him, so we’re not going to pay for PROACT to recommend him.” Thus, it is possible that it wasn’t PROACT’s responsibility to vet Mr. Meier before he was hired as has been reported. (This despite the fact that both the Board President and Vice-President claimed that PROACT Search did not inform the board that they knew about Mr. Meier’s past.)

If this is in fact the case, this still means that we’ve paid PROACT nearly $80,000 over six months to find exactly three candidates. In other words, we’re paying more than twice the amount that the contract calls for us to pay.

So much for a “new” way of doing business.

And this assumes that the other three all work out.

This is a big assumption where Ray Landers is concerned. Somehow I think once the RSA informs him that this will impact his retirement that he will also quickly discover that he too has a family that he wants to spend more time with (as Merts Center Monitor points out that Dan Meier realized).

By the way, if you’re not following that Blog, you should be.

So that leaves us having sent $80,000 to a Eli Broad connected company to hire two principals, one of whom (Paul Bonner) has already a $1 million dollar Broad Prize (as Bonvillian points out in her article about his hiring).

It’s always nice when Broad Foundation people can keep public money within the Board Foundation Family, isn’t it? I’m sure this should prove to me that Eli Broad cares for my kids nearly as much as I do.


$80,000 just to find and recommend two principals is an excellent return on investment, supposing that you’re on the receiving end rather than the spending one.

By the way, in case you were wondering why we have to pay our teachers the state minimum salary, we have to free up funding to keep hiring these amazing, awesome contractors to do the work that we already pay the central office to do.

This is why we can’t pay instructional assistants more than they would make working at a fast food joint to work with our children.

Keep this in mind the next time that Dr. Wardynski, or his biggest cheerleader Dr. Robinson, tries to tell you that they are doing all of this, you know, for kids.


$80,000 just to find two principals doesn’t sound like it’s going to benefit the kids too much to me. Does it to you?

"Children see magic because they look for it." --Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel according to Biff, Jesus' childhood pal.


  1. I was actually going to leave another feedback on your previous post that stated the following:

    Pam Hill made the statement that she did the work (Star Enterprise Reading and Math DATA) and her principal got promoted, but did this principal get promoted? Perhaps, this principal was transferred downtown to a different position to make room for a principal that W handpicks to fulfill the job of being principal at Hampton Cove? Gosh, I wonder if this principal will come from Colorado or West Virginia, or North Carolina?
    Is anyone keeping a count of the number of principals that have retired? Is anyone keeping a count of the number of principals that have been transferred to other positions or schools until their contract is up? I am guessing when their contract is legally fulfilled… Things will just work themselves out naturally. I believe it’s called attrition.
    I went back and did some basic Google research and came across a ten minute interview that W gave to a local news station. I’m sure you have seen it, but I included the link for those who may have not. It’s about ten minutes long and counts down. Around the 3:00 minute mark (toward the end of the interview) he talks about “agility” and moving principals around to different locations. Apparently, this was filmed before he was every officially hired (May 26, 2011). We should have seen this coming.


    As always, I love your blog and everything you do for this community. Thank you

  2. I wonder how superintendents and Boards with the principles we wish ours had find their principals?

    You know, I betcha the National Education Association might have a free or cheap jobs board. Or maybe monster.com?

    An ad in a used car rag could hardly bring in a more unsuitable, unprincipled candidate than Meier, who must think the rest of the world is so below him in intellect that they will buy into his “whoops, I forgot I had kids” claim, among others. The arrogance.

    The West Point connection — could that be how Meier came to W’s attention, through the underling who is looking for military men who will unquestioningly take W’s orders?

    Advice to W: Huntsvillians, by way of the military or contractors, do a lot of business up in DC and outlying areas.

    And it’s a small world after all. What goes around comes around, eventually. And if I were one of those scammed by Meier, I would no longer naively expect justice from the system, but I’d be watching. Cue: Every move you make, every breath you take…

    As for Robinson, am I going to have to post that fangirl video again? I think I might just pop over and do that.

  3. Concerns:

    1. Who informs these incoming principals they will be working in a district with an extremely high principal attrition rate (and soon to be teacher) managing (responsible for) the most inexperienced and lowest paid teachers in the state?

    2. Is the board aware of new teacher turnover rates? Is the superintendent? How about HCS district taxpayers?

    3. How long does the board, superintendent, and HCS district taxpayers think it takes for a new teacher to get settled in and really plant their feet firmly on teaching ground? Will our students’ achievement have to wait during this process?

    4. Will these incoming principals have time in their schedules to mentor all the new teachers in their schools? I certainly would not expect experienced teachers wanting to groom the “newbies.” What’s their incentive and motivation???


  4. Three sons currently at West Point, which was his “reason” for leaving. And despite local news outlets reporting that he was “cleared” of any wrongdoing, that is not the case. He bankrupted over $108 million in debt. His bankruptcy got him dropped from the civil case, but a high school principal doesn’t get $108 million in debt by being squeaky clean.

  5. The HHS principal’s promotion is a joke. She is now a “coordinator” which isn’t a promotion at all. It’s the same pay scale. Same old story..different day. We’ve survived a year in the “age of Casey” now what….

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