Heidi Green, who has been principal at the diverse, 2,000-student Skyline High School for just over one year, told her staff yesterday that she wouldn’t be back in the fall, according to two teachers present when she made the announcement.
Tim Jollymore, an English teacher at Skyline, confirmed this afternoon that Green said the district had offered her a position at another Oakland high school — she didn’t say which one — but that she declined the job.
Green’s tenure was a bit rocky from the start, partly because some teachers and parents were unhappy with the way in which she was chosen. Her predecessor, Amy Hansen, quit in August 2006, shortly before the start of school, leaving little time to hire a replacement. For months, there wasn’t a principal in place.
Green’s supporters, such as parent Wandra Boyd, say she is a strong, student-focused leader. But critics have complained that the young principal lacked the experience to run a large, urban high school such as Skyline — and the people skills to smooth over inevitable bumps in the road.
Last fall, parents and students called me to report a major scheduling snafu that led to overcrowded classes and kids placed in the wrong sections. Green told me at the time that many people were pointing fingers — often, at her. (I left a message for Green this morning about her announcement, but I have yet to hear back from her. )
Now, as the school — and district — look to hire Green’s replacement, some parents and teachers are anxious to make sure the right person takes the helm.
Skyline is the highest-scoring non-charter high school in the district. Parent boosters emphasize its strong performing arts programs and advanced placement courses. At the same time, it is in Year 3 of Program Improvement under No Child Left Behind.
Skyline faces other real challenges, as well. Just today, I got a call from a father whose ninth-grader was reportedly threatened on campus by students who wanted to take his video game. The boy told me they pulled a knife and a BB gun on him before school started, but that he managed to get away.
What kind of a leader does Skyline need (aside from a superhuman), and how do you hope teachers and parents will be included in choosing that person?
photo by Ryan Barnes, Skyline Oracle