Parents group upset by mid-year switch in principals

Sk’aadgaa Naay and Agnes L. Mathers Elementary Schools will soon be trading principals.

Sk’aadgaa Naay and Agnes L. Mathers Elementary Schools will soon be trading principals.

Later this school year, Principal Vicki Ives will move to ALM in Sandspit while Principal Leighann Rodger will go to Sk’aadgaa Naay in Skidegate.

The school board announced the decision to parents late last month.

“Ultimately, it boils down to an HR [human resources] matter, so we’re not able to really discuss the reasons,” said Superintendent Dawna Johnson-Day.

Johnson-Day did say the decision was made partly because of the extraordinarily high number of roles the ALM principal had on her plate, but added there were other, more significant reasons.

Several parents told the Observer they were concerned the switch was fallout from the school board’s controversial decision last May to phase out the French immersion program at Sk’aadgaa Naay.

Johnson-Day said she had heard the same rumour, but the decision had nothing at all to do with the French immersion decision.

“Absolutely not,” she said.

Jo Brunsden, chair of the Sk’aadgaa Naay Parent Advisory Council, said she can’t speak for everyone, but whatever the reason, many feel that switching two popular principals mid-year has needlessly upset staff and students.

“My 10-year-old daughter ripped up the notice coming home from school, before she even gave it to me,” she said.

“Morale in the schools is low.”