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Some Hopewell High parents are concerned about another leadership change

Hopewell High School in Huntersville will get its second interim principal of the 2013-14 school year on Monday. Some parents are worried the changes point to instability in the school’s leadership that could disrupt planning and learning.

“That does not sound like continuity for the students or the staff,” Wendy Roland, president of the school’s Parent-Teacher-Student Association, said in an email to Dawn Robinson, CMS North Learning Community superintendent.

Parent Clarke Meakin said in an email to Robinson that Hopewell had its “worst school opening in history” with scheduling troubles that forced some students into classes they didn’t want and out of classes they needed.

Ann Ferguson’s subsequent appointment as interim principal restored some stability, Meakin wrote, “and now we are faced with a third principal in 6 weeks,” which “does nothing but create INSTABILITY.”

“Our 1700+ students, our 150+ staff members and our entire community deserve better,” Meakin wrote.

Ferguson, a CMS assistant principal, was appointed as Hopewell’s interim principal after principal Michael Jones went on medical leave.

Robinson told the Observer this week that Ferguson was scheduled to stay at Hopewell for only a month, because the school where she was an assistant principal needs her back.

Meanwhile, Jones needs to be on a longer medical leave, Robinson said.

Ferguson’s last day at Hopewell will be Friday, Robinson said. The naming of a new interim principal hasn’t been finalized, she added.

Robinson said class scheduling problems at Hopewell have been resolved. She said parents who have emailed her and the Observer with concerns about getting another interim principal represent a tiny fraction of parents at the school.

In a reply email to a concerned parent, school board member Rhonda Lennon, whose district includes Hopewell High School, said her niece and nephew attend the school, and “the situation is one that I am monitoring closely from a personal as well as a board member perspective.

Lennon said in the email that no one could have predicted the health issues faced by Jones and that she hopes he’ll be able to return soon.

“I don’t think anyone anticipated the length of his needed medical leave either, and administration is looking to put plans in place to be more long term if needed and also make plans for additional support when Mr. Jones returns at some level …,” Lennon wrote.

“Hopewell is an awesome school with great students, parents and staff, and we can all work together to get through this difficult time.”

Marusak: 704-987-3670; Twitter: @jmarusak
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