South Dallas parents rally around DISD principal amid 'growth plan' rumors



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Posted on March 22, 2013 at 10:52 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 22 at 11:19 PM

DALLAS -- A day after dozens of parents lashed out at Dallas Independent School district officials over fears their school’s principal might be fired, many were still upset Friday.

“My nieces, they love the principal," said Paula King. "They love the principal."

James Madison High School has taught generations of King’s family. Besides her nieces, she went to Madison, and her son is a junior at the school this year. She and other parents fear the school could soon lose its principal.

Marian Willard has been the James Madison principal since 2005. The Texas Education Agency rated Madison academically unacceptable during the 2010-2011 school year.

“I heard that they was going to let her go,” King said.

Ramona Williams said she heard the same thing.

“For what reason I don’t know, but she’s good principal to me,” Williams said.

The district confirms several principals are on, or have been on, growth plans. Growth plans require principals to improve or risk losing their jobs, but the district has not said if any principals are not being renewed.

Executive Director of the Dallas School Administrators Association Linda Isaacks told News 8 Friday as many as a dozen principals are already on notice.

“They don’t have a piece of paper in their hands, but they verbally have been told that their supervisor is going to recommend that they be non-renewed,” Isaacks said.

Isaacks said many DISD principals are on edge.

“Most of them are fearful, distrustful, and concerned, and not only the ones on growth plans and who may be facing a non-renewal recommendation, but also their colleagues that worked with these people. Many of them for years,” Isaacks said.

Deborah Everette was one of several parents who attended a meeting at Madison Thursday night demanding answers about the fate of the school’s principal.

“She’s done a perfect job," Everette said. "She’s the only reason why my daughter is here.”

Now Everette said she wonders if that reason is going to be taken away, and when.

The district does not comment on personnel matters.

Willard didn't attend Thursday night’s meeting, where several community leaders urged parents to attend next week’s school board meeting to speak up on her behalf.