Some parents of Houghtaling Elementary School students expressed concern to the Ketchikan School Board Wednesday about the process for hiring a new principal.
Liz Jones, reading letters from other Houghtaling parents, said they were sent an email on Wednesday inviting them to meet a candidate for the school principal position.
“That was probably the first indication that a lot of parents had that there was even a change to our administration in our school,” she said. “They were unaware of that. There was nothing formal that went out from the district saying that there were going to be some changes.”
Jones continued reading the letters, which noted that the candidate for principal wasn’t named, the candidate’s credentials were not provided, and only one candidate was going to attend the meet-and-greet.
She also noted that the event was scheduled on short notice, and will happen during the middle of most people’s work days. Jones added that the process for hiring principals at Fawn Mountain Elementary School and Ketchikan High School was different.
“The principal selection for both Fawn Mountain and the high school appeared to be a fair and transparent process,” she said. “Quite frankly, it’s appalling that the selection process for Houghtaling be any different.”
Several other parents also spoke on the same subject.
Superintendent Beth Lougee later invited any parents with concerns to come talk to her.
“I will be happy to discuss these topics with you. I can give you some of the other side,” she said. “I can’t always give you all the details, but I think that will help fill those holes that I’m hearing, or some of the misinformation that I’m hearing. Or at least give you the other side of what’s going on and why decisions are being made.”
Lougee said they delayed naming the candidate for privacy reasons. She said the principal candidate is Michael Cron, a social studies teacher at Ketchikan High School.
The principal leaving Houghtaling is Sheila Klosterman. She spoke during public comment, but didn’t address that topic.
Instead, Klosterman presented the board with a U.S. flag. She said her husband, Jeff, recently returned from his fifth overseas tour, and during that time, he flew that flag in Iraq.
“As we enter the long weekend to celebrate Memorial Day, Jeff wanted to share this as a reminder that it takes a service member’s family and community for them to do their job,” she said. “So, this weekend, I encourage you to reflect on this flag and what the colors, the pattern and the sacrifice it represents to Americans. Gunalcheesh.”
Memorial Day is Monday. It’s a national holiday to honor members of the Armed Forces who died while in service to the country.
The next Ketchikan School Board meeting is June 12.