Replacement of Midland principal seen in 2 weeks
District 11 Human Resources is interviewing candidates for principal at Midland Ele-mentary, with a hiring recommendation expected within two weeks, according to
Board of Education President Tami Hasling.
The board is not scheduled to meet again until Aug. 13. “We'll probably have to have a special meeting” to make the final hiring decision, she said in an interview this week.
The principal “will probably be interim,” Hasling added. Then, during the school year, the district can conduct an extended search for a replacement, “unless the interim does a bang-up job.”
The hiring will be to replace Barbara Bishop, who had been Midland's principal since 2001 and guided its International Baccalaureate “magnet” program since it started in 2003. She was unexpectedly transferred out of Midland in an unpublicized board action in May.
Going into the June 25 meeting, District 11 staff had proposed replacing Bishop with a principal who was not IB-trained - triggering objections from Westside neighborhood leaders that such might cost Midland its IB certification - and the person's name was withdrawn.
Asked if the district is now looking for a principal with IB background, Hasling said, “I would hope the person is IB-certified. If not, then the person will have to be interim while we look for someone who is certified. I think we will have some luck.”
She said that “we [board members] want to be careful how we handle anything with Midland,” and pointed out that she and others had felt “rushed” with the staff- proposed candidate at the June meeting.
Hasling said that because the district is looking for a probable interim replacement on relatively short notice, inputs from the neighborhood are not being sought in the process. However, such involvement will be invited when it comes time to hire someone permanently, she said.
Typically, the school superintendent oversees hirings of principals. However, Bishop is the wife of District 11 Superintendent Terry Bishop. “The board is staying more involved with Midland because of the conflict of interest issue,” Hasling said.
Due to the privacy implications, the board has not revealed its reasons for removing Bishop. As a result, speculation has been rife because of the family connection, the timing of the decision (a week before school ended) and the haste of its effectiveness (72 hours). Bishop has been lauded by some for making IB work in a Title 1 school, and chastised by others for allegedly not managing the building well. Hasling reiterated in the interview that she could not comment on the matter, but “I assure you there are reasons behind it.” As a result, being unable to talk about it publicly “is frustrating for me.”
Through the district, Bishop herself declined an interview request with the Westside Pioneer.
An outspoken opponent of the district's handling of the affair is Westsider Pam Staley, a long-time parent and volunteer whose son attended Midland several years ago. She said the majority of the board, including Hasling, “ran on a political campaign of no more chaos… The old board would never have removed a successful principal without a proper replacement.”
She recommended that people who have concerns about the issue should contact Hasling, who can be reached through District 11 at 520-2000.
Westside Pioneer article