HITCHCOCK — With two months to go before the start of the school year, the high school is without a principal.
With time running out, the school board president suggested that Superintendent Barbara Derrick might have to do double duty.
“We want the perfect candidate,” school board President Monica Cantrell said. “I’m not willing to hire the wrong person for the job. If that means the superintendent has to also be the high school principal until we find the right person, that may be what we have to do.”
Last month, Derrick thought she had the right fit for the job when she recommended Brazoswood Assistant Principal Chad Jones for the Hitchcock High School post.
But in a unanimous vote, the school board rejected the proposal.
Cantrell said the board is looking for someone with small school experience. She said the proper fit would be someone understands who to manage a campus with a high minority student population.
Hitchcock High School’s student population is 67 percent minority, according to the most recent state figures.
According to the Texas Education Agency data from the 2012-13 school year, 38 percent of the 278 Hitchcock High School students are African American, 29 percent Hispanic and about 28 percent white.
Cantrell said that attention is needed at the high school because of its low-performing status. The school district has been under TEA monitoring for two school years.
To address what needs to be done to get someone to manage the high school campus, Cantrell called for a special meeting of the school board for Tuesday.
Derrick, who was on vacation, said she wasn’t aware of the meeting until Thursday morning and wasn’t sure what was being discussed.
The public might have been in the dark as well. The agenda gives no indication of the details of the meeting, which calls for a closed-door session by the board to discuss legal details of employment contracts with the district’s attorney as well as a second executive session item listed as personnel.
Both items are generically worded.
Texas Open Meetings laws require that governing bodies be more specific about what they plan to discuss when positions involve administrators. The Hitchcock agenda lists almost every position within the school district and does not specifically note that the position of high school principal is the topic for discussion.
It also generically references a discussion about the duties of the superintendent, but in that same posting includes business manager and assistant superintendents.
Cantrell said she cleared the agenda’s language with the district’s attorney.
But Charles Daughtry, a lawyer who represents The Daily News in open records and open meetings issues, said the agenda is too vague and does not include the specificity required by the law.
Cantrell said the board also would discuss filling some vacant positions, especially those of a new softball and new volleyball coaches at the high school.