After less than one year serving as head of Dothan High School, Principal Georgia Gary is deciding to resign. But there is still some confusion as to why she is doing so.
Dr. Gary officially handed in her resignation to Dothan City Schools Superintendent Sam Nichols, Monday morning.
"It's unfortunate that we have to now look at changing the principal over there," said school board member, Gayla White.
School board officials are not sure why Dr. Gary chose to resign, but they say she did not pass the test to obtain certification as an educator in the state of Alabama. Certification that is required by the state because of new rules set forth by the “No Child Left Behind Act.”
"Prior to that there was reciprocity among all the states, where if a teacher came from Georgia or Florida they were immediately issued a certificate,” said Superintendent Nichols.
That was not the case for Dr. Gary when she replaced Dr. Jimmy McCarty as principal of Dothan High, and after three years of working in Dothan, she was being considered for non-renewal as a city school employee. In addition to her lack of certification some have criticized her disciplinary methods, and questioned her management of the school. But school officials say her disciplinary style was something they applauded.
"She is a strict disciplinarian, she has managed to run that school, and the students know that the code of conduct is being enforced there," said Superintendent Nichols.
"It's a large school with 1500 students. She demanded a lot of her students, she demanded a lot of herself, and she demanded a lot of her teachers, and some times that did cause friction," said Dr. Steve Stokes, chairman of the Dothan City School Board.
Dr. Gary was unavailable for comment about her abrupt departure, but school officials say she they wish her the very best as she prepares to say goodbye to the home of the tigers on July 1, 2007.
There are also close to 30 teachers that are being considered for non-renewal because they lack proper certification with the State of Alabama. School board members hope to soon start tracking these teachers and their progress in obtaining their certification, to try and avoid having so many teachers on the list of people being considered for non-renewal.
School officials also say they will begin advertising for Dr. Gary’s position this week. They hope to have the position filled as soon as possible.