HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Several Mae Jemison High School students and their parents called a press conference outside of the Huntsville Board of Education.
Students said they were pleased and grateful for their most recent principal, Dr. McDaniel, but she has chosen to leave the school system.
The parents in attendance think it's because the principal was micromanaged and lacked support from the school board.
The District 1 Board Representative, Michelle Watkins, issued a statement on Facebook about Dr. McDaniel:
The Jemison High Principal, Dr. McDaniel is leaving for a position in Gulf Shores. It is unfortunate that people have started rumors about her reasons for leaving.
She was being renewed and she had full control of the school. Dr. McDaniel's is leaving on her terms and she had the full support of the Superintendent and HCS board. We wish her well and are disappointed that she is leaving. However, she wanted to be close to her family.
One soon to be graduate said it's nearly impossible for high-risk students at Jemison to succeed with the way the school's administration has operated in the past.
"I've had, over the course of my high school years, 5 principals. Our motto at Mae Jemison is build a dynasty." explained Sincere Anderson, Mae Jemison Senior. "But we can't build that dynasty if we have so much inconsistency, with principals coming in and out and teachers coming in and out.
Those in attendance urged the school board to select a new principal who not only does their job well but fosters relationships with each student.
"No other school on any level, in the history of Huntsville City Schools has had 6 principals in 5 years," explained Laura Lemley, parent of a Mae Jemison student.
Those in attendance believe the new principal should be better supported by the school system, in hopes that he or she will stay more than one year.
Huntsville City Schools issued a statement as well:
We are supportive of but saddened by Dr. McDaniel’s decision to return home to south Alabama. We have appreciated her time, and we would have welcomed her as the principal for Jemison High School for the future. However, we wish her nothing but success in Gulf Shores as she joins Dr. Akin’s team.
Regarding the way forward, it is the Board’s goal to find stability in leadership at Jemison High School. It is important for the students, faculty, and community, and it is important to the Superintendent. The Superintendent is already working on finding the right fit for JHS and will fill the vacancy as soon as possible to ensure that the community has a chance to get to know their new principal.