Parents at HISD's Wheatley High School want long-term leadership


Houston Independent School District says it's doing what it can to find the right leader

Wheatley parent Arthur Smith is among those who are frustrated.

This is a disturbing time because we're already an at-risk campus," Smith said. "Every year, we have to anticipate how long is our principal going to still be in the building.

Wheatley's most recent principal resigned in late 2013 after being arrested for drug possession in Alabama. Then, a named interim retired before taking the post in December. A new interim took over this semester.

"I can't even begin to tell you the number of principals that we've gone through, and I had a daughter who graduated from Lamar High School. That never happened over there," parent Baylessia Mayes said.

"We know that, for schools to be at their optimal level, we need consistent leadership," Rodney Watson with HISD Human Resources said.

HISD stepped in in 2011 and removed campus administrators at the school, leading to another principal's resignation then. District officials said they are aware of the instability guiding a campus which has had its academic troubles, and they told us a nationwide search has netted candidates who are in the final stages of the interview process.

Additionally, they've been meeting with parents to include them in that process.

"We have assured them that we would do everything possible to find the best leader," Watson said.

In the meantime, the concerns remain.

"Me, I honestly feel it's not good because the kids feel like we're going to get all of these different principals; we don't have no one to listen to," student Steven Norman said. "I feel it's important to have a principal if you're going to make your school better."

"It's the administration that's sending the principals here, and it's unstable," Smith said.

HISD expects to have a new Wheatley principal hired within the next few weeks -- a hire the parents at Wheatley hope will last for a long time.

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