Meeting called over Carrboro principal's removal

CARRBORO — Members of a Carrboro High School committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. tonight to discuss the abrupt removal of the principal and the dropping of several Advanced Placement and honors courses from the curriculum.

Mary Hamilton, a member of the School Improvement Team, said many parents are concerned that they had no input in the administration's decision to remove Principal Jeff Thomas or to stop offering nearly a dozen advanced courses.

Hamilton and others worry Carrboro High, which just finished its first year, will wind up a second-class citizen to Chapel Hill and East Chapel Hill high schools, hailed as among the best public high schools in the country.Thomas, who had another year left on his contract, should have been allowed more time to get the school on the right track, Hamilton said.

Faculty members panned the school in a recent survey. A majority disagreed that there is "an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect," that school leaders "shield teachers from disruptions" and that "teachers are protected from duties that interfere with their essential role of educating students."

Teacher dissatisfaction in the other two Chapel Hill-Carrboro high schools wasn't as high, according to the survey.

But Hamilton said she thought it was unfair to compare survey results against those of Chapel Hill and East, noting that those are two established schools and Carrboro High still was enduring growing pains.

Hamilton praised Thomas for his enthusiasm, noting that he knew the names of most if not all the students of the small school.

"I had heard some rumors that there were a few disgruntled parents and a few disgruntled faculty members," said Hamilton, whose daughter is a rising senior.

"But I've been in this school district 10 years. You hear this every year. It's not a popularity contest. The complaints I've heard from teachers was that he was a micromanager. But that's your boss. Lots of people have bosses like that. That's something he could have worked on in another year."