KENWOOD — King College Prep parents and teachers are asking the Local School Council to play a smaller role in choosing the next principal after embattled Principal Shontae Higginbottom resigned last month.
The council called an emergency meeting Wednesday night at the selective-enrollment high school at 4445 S. Drexel Blvd. to determine the selection process to replace Higginbottom, and parents and teachers were eager to include more voices beyond the council in the selection.
“The opinion of the faculty did not get a lot of weight last year and I think that was a missed opportunity,” said David Hayes, a former computer science teacher at the school who left to teach at Lane Technical College Prep after his class was cut by Higginbottom. “The result of the last process installed a person who was not a good fit for this school and damaged the school.”
Hired in August 2012, Higginbottom was a controversial figure at the school, leading the students and staff through the murder of student Hadiya Pendleton, but also implementing disciplinary rules that caused a sit-in by nearly all of the 900 students at the school in December.
Parents complained that the school was not prepared for the loss of state funding this week that forced the school to cancel three sections of American Sign Language and two special education classes.
Deatria Johnson said her son, Ryan Mix, a senior, was accepted into college based on his enrollment in the sign language course and now feared losing that spot at the University of Iowa and several scholarship offers.
“We should look at ourselves if there was a bad vote,” said Robert Davis, adding he felt council members let powerful personalities get in the way of sound judgment. “We should face that.”
Lance Williams, chairman of the council, agreed that the process could benefit from more input from teachers and parents not on the council.
An interim principal is expected to be named Tuesday. Who is named could dictate how much urgency the council feels in naming a new principal.