Some north Omaha parents want the principals of their children's elementary schools to stay rather than be reassigned, as Omaha Public Schools officials have planned.
Thirteen parents asked the OPS board Monday night to let their principals continue doing what they called great work, such as increasing parental involvement, boosting school pride or improving discipline.
About 120 people attended the meeting, including about 100 parents, staff members and residents who support three north Omaha principals.
Four parents asked the board to allow Shelly Burghardt to remain at Hartman Elementary School, 5530 N. 66th St.
Last month, interim Superintendent Virginia Moon announced the reassignments of eight elementary principals, including Burghardt to Central Park Elementary. She has been at Hartman since 2008.
Amber Bettis, whose daughter is a first-grader at Hartman, said Burghardt has built trust with parents who don't speak perfect English.
Lorraine Johnson was one of four parents who asked the board to keep Decua Jean-Baptiste at Franklin Elementary, 3506 Franklin St., instead of moving him to Masters Elementary. Jean-Baptiste has been the Franklin principal since fall 2006.
“My son has pride in who he is,” said Johnson, who has had five children attend Franklin.
Five parents told the board that Dan Hoeck, principal at King Elementary, 3706 Maple St., has succeeded overall and handled student discipline well in the two years he has led the school. Hoeck was reassigned to Florence Elementary.
Tressa Cavitte-Prince, whose daughter is in first grade at King, said principals should stay at a school longer than two years.
Several parents paused during their remarks as emotion overcame them, and the audience applauded each speaker.
Board member Justin Wayne, who attended Hartman Elementary, said he, too, supported keeping Burghardt there. The board as a whole didn't discuss the parents' requests.
In an interview, OPS spokesman David Patton said he couldn't comment on the specific reassignments. In general, though, some research suggests that moving principals every five to seven years can be good for schools, Patton said.
OPS sometimes moves principals to find a better fit for them, he added.
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