TISD board to name principals, vote on bond issues

Published on Wednesday, 19 June 2013 20:39 - Written by BY EMILY GUEVARA eguevara@tylerpaper.com

The next principals of John Tyler High School and three Tyler ISD elementary schools should be named today.

The TISD school board is scheduled to vote on the hiring of principals for Orr, Owens and Ramey elementary schools along with John Tyler High School. If approved, the John Tyler hire comes a bit sooner than expected.

District spokeswoman Dawn Parnell said earlier this month that the position opening would close June 18 and search firm officials would screen candidates after that providing the district with at least two semifinalists by July 7.

“We don’t want to act too quickly, but at the same time we understand the importance of getting” someone in place soon, Ms. Parnell said at the time adding that the schedule was fluid.

However, on Wednesday, she said the process was expedited when one candidate really stood out from the group.

She declined in an email to elaborate further on the interview process and the number of people who applied for the position saying, “We will have information and a statement after the board reviews and approves the candidate(s).”

The John Tyler position came open when former Principal Michael Timms resigned in April after less than one year on the job. The district placed Timms on administrative leave in February pending the outcome of its own investigation.

The other open principal positions are the result of retirements, transfers and one resignation.

Orr Principal Walter Perez is moving to Austin Elementary School where he will serve as principal.

Perez has been at Orr for four years. Before that, he was assistant principal at Austin Elementary for seven years.

Owens Principal Linda Payne retired this year after working 14 years as a TISD principal and many more in education. Ramey Principal Dr. Alfreddie Felder resigned after two years as principal there.

In other business, the board is scheduled to vote on the departure of two administrators.

Crystal Forrest, TISD’s director of career and technical education, submitted her resignation.

Ms. Forrest is taking a position with Westwood ISD in Palestine, where she lives. She worked as Westwood High School’s coordinator of career and technology education prior to coming to TISD.

She said she has enjoyed working with the Tyler community and the district as they support the career and technical education program.

Stewart Middle School Principal Debra Robertson is retiring. Ms. Robertson has been the principal at Stewart for seven years and has more than 30 years experience in education.

Apart from hiring, the board is scheduled to vote on several issues related to upcoming bond projects and campus upgrades.

The board is scheduled to authorize district officials to sell $160.5 million bonds in the coming months if market rates are favorable. This will provide the district with the funds needed to move forward on the six projects including the recently approved bond package.

The projects include the construction of a career and technical education center, three new middle schools: Boulter, Moore and one in southwest Tyler, and the remodeling of Rice and Dixie elementary schools.

Construction of the new career and technical education center is expected to begin this year with construction on the other projects slated to start next year.

Chief Financial Officer Tosha Bjork said the district will sell all the bonds at one time, likely late July with a closing date in late August, according to an email.

In a separate item, the board also is scheduled to vote on the purchase of an almost 25-acre parcel for the career and technical education center. The land is off of Earl Campbell Parkway near the Tyler Junior College West Campus. The district secured a purchase option for the property in June. The price provided at that time was $2.5 million.

The board is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. tonight in the Dr. Jack L. Davidson Conference Center in the Jim Plyler Instructional Complex, 807 W. Glenwood Blvd. A 6 p.m. executive session meeting also is scheduled.