EHS principal's fate could hinge on meeting

By Thomas Wilson

STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

   Elizabethton High School Principal Ed Alexander may be under fire, according to a letter circulating within the community.
   The letter obtained by the Star on Friday urges community support for Alexander.
   The letter indicates that the issue was prompted when Alexander "voiced his concern for the gross inequities among administrators' salaries throughout the system."
   When contacted by the Star, Alexander declined comment. He did confirm that a meeting with administration officials was scheduled for Monday morning.
   According to the petition, "There are those who are seeking his dismissal from his job as principal of Elizabethton High School." The letter does not name names.
   The petition further reads that Alexander's actions have been "consistently motivated by concern for the students and staff of Elizabethton High School." The petition urges citizens to contact members of the city school board to voice their support for Alexander.
   When contacted by the Star on Friday, Assistant Superintendent Rondald Taylor said a meeting involving school board members was scheduled for Monday, but denied the meeting centered around Alexander's possible removal as principal at the high school.
   "We do have a meeting scheduled for Monday, and hope to resolve any differences if there are any," said Taylor. He also said several calls had been placed to the school administration building regarding the issue.
   Elizabethton Director of Schools Dr. Judy Blevins could not be reached for comment.
   Sources at Elizabethton High School told the Star that the student body had been made aware that Alexander could be fired from his position between now and Christmas. A petition signed by students in support of Alexander was also circulating on Friday, according to sources.
   Taylor claimed he had not seen the petition letter supporting Alexander and that he had not been presented with a petition from Elizabethton High School students in support of Alexander.
   However, sources at Elizabethton High School confirmed at least one petition in support of Alexander was being circulated and compiled by students.
   Dr. Robert Sams, chairman of the Elizabethton City School Board, said personnel changes involving the system's principals or assistant principals were not made by the school board.
   "We have nothing to do with administrative hiring and firing ... that is an administrative procedure," said Sams. He also termed rumors of Alexander's removal as "totally false."
   State law only allows school administrators -- not school board members -- to dismiss school personnel such as principals and assistant principals.
   "If your superintendent is elected, the school board has some say so in it. If the superintendent is appointed, it is the administration's job," Sams stated.
   School Board member Judy Richardson said she was not aware of any movement to oust Alexander from his job.
   "As far as I know, I haven't heard about removal," said Richardson. "As a principal, I think he has done a very good job."
   She declined further comment about Alexander because she did not know all the particulars surrounding the issue.
   Board members Dr. Jonathan Bremer, Bob Berry and Catherine Armstrong could not immediately be reached for comment.