Case Study # 2 Group 5 Shawn Kerr Colin Purcell Bryan Rotella Nicole Vourliotis
Background• The assistant principal position has, in the past, been a position of high turnover for a number of reasons: o It is a stepping stone for many future principals o Varied responsibilities and duties across districts and buildings o Poor mentoring relationships amongst principals with regard to their assistants• Recently, the assistant principalship has become the "ultimate career goal" for many administrators that are unwilling to sacrifice family and personal time for career advancement.• With increased emphasis on building level improvement across the nation, stability in both the principal and assistant roles are vital to effectively implement initiatives and programs for change.
Case SummarySetting:• Bentonville, Iowa • Small farming community in northern Iowa with roughly 2,500 residents. • Community pride is exceedingly high. • Bentonville Junior/Senior High School• Parents and school board members expect school administrators to live in the community and take an active role in Bentonville Junior/Senior High School activities. • For someone who has never lived and worked in a small community, this can be a major adjustment.
Case SummaryBentonville Junior/Senior High School:• Serves approximately 450 students.• Is replacing George Stileke as a result of his retirement. o Served as AP for 10 years. o Teacher, coach and close friend to the Principal.• The Principal, Oscar McCammick, has never worked in another district. o He has served in Bentonville as a science/math teacher, assistant principal, and in his recent and most current position as the Junior/Senior high school principal.
Case Summary continuedScenario: Hiring Process• Started with an internal job search. • No applicants as of early June• Opened to external applicants by Superintendent Potter • July 15 deadline • Six applicants One eliminated due to lack of qualifications Five were sent to Principal McCammick Three out of the five eliminated Two Finalists:Norman Emons, 51 and Raymond Tyler, 29.
Case Summary continuedThe interview: Mr. Emons• Middle School Teacher from Des Moines.• Recently obtained license to qualify him for an AP position.• Prior to seeking an administrative position, he owned a small business with two other teachers. • Business dissolved.The interview: Mr. Tyler• Teacher in Davenport• Moved to Iowa to attend school. • Lived with his family in a relatively affluent Chicago Suburb.
Case Summary continuedThe interview:• During Tylers interview he was asked how long he intended to stay in the assistant principal position.• He responded by asking them what there expectations were.• Mr. Tyler satisfied them with a response indicating he anticipated no issues staying for five years as he expected it would take that long to complete his doctoral program on a part time basis. o Upon completion of his doctoral program he would like to pursue a position as a principal or a professorship at a university.
Case Summary continued ...The Decision:• The superintendent considered Tyler to be the bettercandidate based upon recommendations and the interview.• Principal McCammick was unsure how Tyler would fit in thecommunity and school. o McCammick did not believe Tyler would stay more than a few years, but he agreed to offer Tyler the position.• Tyler moved into a small apartment within the school districtfor the beginning of the first school year. o He was very busy, and mildly overwhelmed by extra responsibilities at school and his Ph.D. coursework. o McCammick was pleased with his performance.
Case Summary continued ...Conflict:• After some time ,Tyler decided to move out of the district toLincoln.• The principal began to doubt his decision once again.• At Tylers annual performance review, he was told thatsome board members and parents were displeased with hisdecision to move out of district. o His evaluation was given a number of "above average" and "average“ marks. However, a negative remark regarding his maturity with students was noted.• AP Tyler was still offered a new contract next year. o Although disagreeing with parts of the evaluation, he signed the contract for the following year.
Case Summary continued ...Conflict:• In late May, AP Tyler’s friends informed him the Principal McCammick was asking other teacher’s if they know of AP Tyler’s intentions for next school year.• A week later, it was brought to the attention of PrincipalMcCammick that Tyler was seeking a new position in Chicagowhen a principal called for a reference.• After questioning Tyler about the job search, Tyler sharedthat he was not actively seeking a position. o His wife had just accepted a teaching position in a Chicago high school and mentioned him to her principal. o He indicated that he would still do his best and work in Bentonville if he did not get the job.
Problems in the Case What are the initial reasons for Asst. Principal Tylers intended departure?• AP Tylers fiancé accepted a position as a teacher in Chicago, and he does not feel it would be an ideal situation living away from her.• The Chicago position offers a better salary• The Chicago position is likely to offer more opportunity for advancement, while the Bentonville position offers little to no opportunity for advancement• AP Tyler never truly identified with or was accepted by the community• AP Tylers relationship with Principal McCammick has begun to degrade since his first year performance review
Problems in the Case What are the underlying issues surrounding AP Tylers possible departure?• AP Tyler originally stated he did not have any problem to stay in a position as an AP for at least 5 years before advancing to a principalship or higher education• The initial question by Principal McCammick was a loaded question, as the candidate knows what the principal wants to hear, and what he needs to say in order to gain employment• Nothing is legally binding Tyler to the position for 5 years, nor is anything binding the district to employ him for 5 years• Relationships are strained between McCammick and Tyler, and job stability may be a concern for him
Problems in the case What are other possible problems in this case?• What the superintendent and principal are looking for in an assistant principal is not what they are hiring. o The district had a difficult time gathering a well qualified and diversified candidate pool.• The district needs and wants longevity in the AP position for the future to benefit their school community and it is not what they hired.• Principal McCammick may have came across as a flawed or ineffective leader to AP Tyler during the review process. o It appears Principal McCammicks personal concerns with AP Tylers departure may have clouded his performance evaluation of him.
Problems in the caseWhat the district wants:• a motivated, driven, energetic AP, who is willing to stay in the position for 5+ years without a desire to advance within the district• someone familiar with, or even from, the Bentonville community that will reside within and become an active member in the community during his/her tenure thereWhat the district hired:• a young, driven, and ambitious candidate that meets or exceeds the professional qualities desired by the district• a candidate that, from the beginning, gave red flags that he was not going to meet the personality mold the principal was looking for, as was the case with Norman Emons.
Legal Dimensions • With apparent discontent with his current position and recent evaluation, AP Tyler still signed a contract for the next school year. o Depending on the language in his contract, this could result in a legal matter if he decides to break his contract. Such a matter if the Bentonville district is able to and pursues, can result in a filed complaint, possible fine or other ramifications depending on state laws in regards to contracts. o This possibly could result in Mr. Tyler having no job at all.
Possible Solutions• Provide the Chicago principal with an appropriate recommendation and aid Tyler in obtaining employment there. Develop an exit plan for Tylers departure to assist in a smooth transition and delegation of his roles and responsibilities until a new AP is hired. Rework the hiring process and expectations for the next assistant principal with a better understanding of the districts needs and realistic expected outcome• Begin seeking interview applicants for a possible AP opening, while asking AP Tyler to keep all parties informed of his decision.
Possible Solutions• Continue to deny providing Tyler with the recommendation in an attempt to keep him in the district for the time being.• Offer Tyler an incentive (i.e. salary or benefits) to stay in the district, while working to heal the gap between the principal and his assistant.• Offer Tylers wife a position within the district o Help him find housing that would suit his needs. o If this does not work, then the district should put together a policy to help external applicants find appropriate housing in the area.
Analysis• There are four main issues in this case study.• The first is the natural progression of the assistant principal position. o Gateway to principal position o High turnover, as APs leave once they get a job. o In this case, AP Tyler does not want to leave to become a principal, rather because of the location and his wifes job.• The second issue is the ethical and legal dimension of AP Tylers career decision. o A verbal promise is quite different from a signed contract. In many cases, pursuing legal recourse are costly and take a long time. o In this case, AP Tyler implied that hed stay in Bentonville for at least five years. o He said that he wanted to work under an experienced principal for that long. His conversation not quite as troubling as the fact that he signed a contract for the next school term. o If the school district wanted to pursue legal action, they could.
Analysis, Continued• The third issue is the actual assistant principalship. o Assistant principal positions vary from school to school and are quite different from that of a teacher. o An assistant principal needs a strong mentor in the principal in order to be a successful leader. o The case study says nothing about McCammick mentoring AP Tyler. There is evidence to support the opposite.• The fourth issue in this case is the relationship between AP Tyler and Principal McCammick. o Principal McCammick had reservations about AP Tyler from the beginning. o He was unsure whether or not Tyler would flourish in Bentonville. o When the Principal and Assistant Principal relationship is strained, it can be very difficult to carry on a harmonious working environment.
Analysis, Continued• Living and working in the same small community can be challenging. o Professionals may find it difficult to keep their professional and private lives separate in a place where everyone knows each other.• AP Tylers personal life was not congruent with his professional life. The required work beyond normal work hours surprised him.• Personal issues also played a significant role on AP Tyler interest in pursuing another position. o Starting a PhD program. o Fiancé living and working away from him.• McCammick was angry at Tyler for not being professional by informing him of his interest in another position.• McCammick did not act professionally when he talked to teachers about Tyler and refused to provide an adequate reference.
Possible Outcomes• AP Tyler will move to Chicago. o AP Tylers fiancé is seemingly committed to the position in Chicago. o More motivation for AP Tyler to want to move. o Even if the Bentonville district could keep AP Tyler, they may not want to. Distance from his fiancé and discontent at position will likely effect his job performance.• The district will have to rehire a new assistant principal to fill the position left by AP Tyler. o He may leave with minimal notice. o May develop a professionally responsible exit plan.
Solution• Rework the hiring process for the assistant principalship to extend to other markets. o Consider seeking external applicants earlier and for a longer period of time. o If possible, improve the salary and benefits package.• The district essentially desires an administrative candidate from within their own district, they must promote and develop internal applicants through leadership roles within the district o Provide tuition reimbursement packages for administrative degrees o Provide step or salary advancement for obtaining additional college credit hours o Build relationships among leaders within the faculty (i.e. department chairs, committee leaders, and teachers who serve as coaches)
Questions?• What would you do if you were AP Tyler? o Would you take the position if offered? o Would you have told Principal McCammick?• What would you do if you were Principal McCammick? o Would you have given a reference? o Would you have spoke with AP Tyler differently?