GEORGETOWN — Superintendent Carol Jacobs announced that middle/high school Assistant Principal John Faucher has resigned his position to take a job as principal of North Reading Middle School. Faucher will start his new job July 1.
Faucher has worked as assistant principal for eight years, primarily with middle school staff and students. He was honored with an A+ Administrator Award by the New England League of Middle Schools last year.
Jacobs told the School Committee last week she is planning to hire another assistant principal, rather than a middle school specific principal, since there is such short notice to make the necessary changes to change the position.
"I don't want the middle school to lose its identity, and the current model is working OK. When you have a 6 to 12 school, there is shared staff, and it's not the norm to have two principals in one building," Jacobs said.
Jacobs' ideas came under fire by School Committee member David Bjork, who feels strongly that the middle school needs its own principal and its own culture separate from the high school, even though they share the same building.
"I feel strongly that this is an opportunity to make a middle school principal part of the administrative team," Bjork said. "We have the chance to make a quantum leap and allow middle school students be middle-schoolers. I would like to see a full-time middle school principal build upon what John (Faucher) has done and do what is best for middle school kids. The middle school person should not have to report to the high school principal to make decisions."
School Committee chairman George Moker said that while he agrees with Bjork that the middle school needs equal standing with the other schools, the School Committee has no say in Jacobs' decision.
"We don't have the authority to interject into this process," he said.
After doing much research into the special needs of middle school children, Bjork said that Georgetown kids are being shortchanged by not having a principal.
"Ages 11-13 are very challenging," he said. "This is a time in their lives when they need and deserve a lot of attention. If they were in a separate building, they'd have a separate principal. Just because they are on the third floor of the high school doesn't mean they deserve less than the other kids."
Jacobs countered, saying that she is making a mindful decision.
"There isn't money in the budget for a full-time principal for next year," she said. "This is not the time to change logistics. Regardless of the job title, the person we hire will have a voice in middle level education."
To make his point clear, Bjork voted against transferring funds to pay for an advertisement for an assistant principal. As only three members of the committee were present, no funding was authorized for the ad, which will delay placement of the position. The topic will be revisited at the next committee meeting May 22.