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Board, administration dispute principal role at school


A dispute over how the administration is being handled at Center School erupted at Monday night’s school board meeting.

Grand Coulee Dam School District Chair Joette Barry started things rolling when she told Superintendent Dennis Carlson that she didn’t see any difference between the leadership model now presented from the one presented a month ago.

Carlson had told the board last month that he would have an updated version of an administrative plan put together since the departure of principal Sue Hinton.

Board members responded by passing a motion for middle school Principal Lisa Lakin to move to Center School, and for Carlson to bring in an interim principal for the middle school.

The school board also agreed that Carlson should produce a model of how the two schools should be managed and a budget to support that.

Currently, Center School is being co-managed by Carlson and Lakin who drop in at various times of the day to provide supervision.

Board members also got a letter from the staff at Center School saying how energized the school is and that they think things are going well under the new arrangement.

But the school board wasn’t convinced.

Ken “Butch” Stanger suggested that the school might move forward with the part-time “joint” management plan of Carlson and Lakin, but the district needed to come up with a longer term solution by December’s board meeting.

Fellow board member Ted Piccolo said flat out that the school needed the added capacity of a full-time principal.

Chair Barry also noted that three weeks into the school year and you “wonder what is going to go haywire.” She said that she is concerned that things could happen while Lakin is absent from Grand Coulee Dam Middle School.

“We are almost in an emergency management mode at Center,” Piccolo stated.

The board felt that moving Lakin to Center School would put her in with the teachers and staff that she would have when the new school is built. The district then will move to a two-principal leadership model.

Carlson told the board that it was moving into his area of responsibility and that it was “over stepping its authority.” He reminded board members that they are to set policy and establish a budget and that it is up to him to run the district.

Piccolo asked if the district had a full-time principal for Center School before, what has changed. “Didn’t we need a full-time principal before?”

Currently Carlson and Lakin are providing the administrative leadership for Center School, along with lead teachers stepping up at both schools to help out.

The district will still be facing the same problem when it meets Oct. 22.

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