By Jackson Masiel,
Approximately 75 Davis High faculty members in support of the hiring of Tom McHale as permanent principal crowded into the DJUSD district office building during a school board meeting on April 19. However, the school board removed the decision of the DHS principal from the agenda for the April 19 meeting.
The group responded passionately against the news of another principal being considered by the school board.
According to third-year English teacher Drew Barclay, who led the discussion on behalf of the teachers, the response by DHS faculty to the news was enthusiastic and immediate. After hearing about the consideration of an alternative to McHale on the morning of April 18, they sent emails, made signs, coordinated a meeting time and gathered support in less than 48 hours.
Most every teacher sported a supportive sign, most reading “Team Tom.”
Every academic department at DHS was represented at the meeting’s turnout.
After crowding from the outside into the district office, over 10 faculty members spoke their opinion to board members Tom Adams, Barbara Archer, Madhavi Sunder, Bob Poppenga. Trustee Alan Fernandes tuned in by telephone.
DHS faculty have multiple concerns regarding the board’s consideration of an outside candidate.
The process’ lack of transparency and consideration of teachers’ feedback is concerning to many. As one sign read, the faculty is calling for “Honesty, Integrity and Transparency” in the principal selection process.
To science teacher Darryl Bailey, the district’s consideration of an alternative to McHale is indicative of a disconnect between the district and the desires of faculty. Bailey believes that more transparency as to what the district’s goals are for a principal during the hiring process would greatly increase faculty morale.
The group solidified their support in a rally of praise of McHale’s professionalism, integrity and true care for the well-being of every department at DHS.
According to teacher Doug Wright, McHale was clearly the most fitting choice for interim principal during the interview process, and he continues to display traits of an excellent principal.
“Bottom line, there is only one person who should lead this high school for the next five to 10 years– and that’s Tom McHale,” Wright said.
As opposed to a showing of personal loyalty, teachers such as David Achimore stressed that their support of McHale is of professional respect.
The frequency of principal turnover is another major area of concern for faculty. English teacher David Achimore would prefer to see a principal like McHale, who has dedicated his career to DHS, as opposed to an outsider.
“[McHale] is the only administrator who is still there from the first day I walked on campus. Having a vision come out with a new principal, and having that be worked on for a year or half a year, and then have a new vision come out with a new principal. Although I’m still new at this, I can already see that it gets exhausting,” Achimore said.
Above all, faculty members advocated for the sense of stability and leadership that McHale provides as a long-time DHS administrator.
Several more faculty members spoke during the public comment section of the open session board meeting.