School meeting well attended on heels of principal news
Mayor Tony Kennon hosted a school information meeting on Tuesday, January 29th at the Orange Beach Community Center with Baldwin County Public Schools Superintendent Eddie Tyler and his key staff.
Tyler explained to Orange Beach parents and the general public, numbering upwards of 150, about the reality of 24 hours earlier when Gulf Shores High School Principal Cindy Veazey and Gulf Shores Middle School Principal Kyle McCartney informed him they decided to leave the Baldwin County school system and join the new Gulf Shores city school system. The news was surprising as Veazey and McCartney were slated to be the new principals of Orange Beach High School and Orange Beach Middle School, respectively, on February 1st. Tyler said he would now dive back into the roughly 100 applications he received for the principal positions with the aim of having a recommendation in front of the Baldwin County Board of Education at its Feb. 21st meeting. Veazey and McCartney were expected to give their official resignation letters to Tyler by week's end.
After 43 years of being an educator/administrator, Tyler said, “I can’t tell you how disappointed I was when I got those calls last night.”
He said there is “no excuse for what is going on.”
In his presentation, Tyler showed the language in a proposal that was written by Gulf Shores City Schools as part of the split agreement and submitted to Alabama State Superintendent Ed Mackey. It reads in part, “Any employment contract involving principals employed as of the date of this agreement shall be honored by the county board consistent with all of the terms and conditions in said contracts. The city board shall be responsible to select and contract with its own principals.”
“To jump on top of that,” Tyler said, “We sat in Montgomery with Dr. Mackey right before Christmas. Gulf Shores and their attorneys on one side and myself and some of our folks on the other side. The conversation of principals came up. Dr. Mackey said, ‘What about contract principals? … What do you want to do?’ … Gulf Shores said, ‘They [the county] can have the principals.’ I said, ‘We’ll take them.’”
Mayor Kennon said the current situation would not have happened if the roles were reversed. He said a “Meet the Parents” night was already being planned for the new principals.
“It reveals more of their character than missteps on our part,” Kennon said.
Despite the unexpected changes this week, Tyler expressed his steadfast excitement for the new school and the majority of the meeting focused on the county's committment to students in Orange Beach schools with the full support of the city. The 130,000-square-foot Orange Beach Middle/High School on Canal Road is scheduled to officially open in Fall of 2020. For the coming 2019-2020 school year, the superintendent revealed plans for the temporary "portable village" that will be a new enclosed modular design that will have hallways and bathrooms. There will be two modular layouts with a seventh and eighth grade building next to the Orange Beach Elementary School, and across the street - on the current green space - a building will be set up for ninth and 10th grade. The building will be fenced and secure and Mayor Kennon said School Resource Officers will be on site. Parents were pleased with the design, which is shown below.
See photos and additional information from Tuesday's presentation at https://www.orangebeachal.gov/news/orange-beach-high-school.