EDITORíS DESK: West/West: A look ahead... and back

       Here's a warm welcome to the new leadership of West Middle School and West Elementary. Judy Hawkins seems to have a savvy solution for balancing her responsibilities as principal of two schools in one building... by putting her office at the midpoint between their entrances and delegating the day-to-day affairs to the also-new assistant principals. And in conversations this week, I found all three of these individuals eager and motivated for the task at hand.
       All that being said, I have to admit I am still irritated with District 11's bosses for the cavalier attitude toward the Westside that led to this all-new situation. After the talk we heard in 2009 about the district needing to be sensitive to this part of town (as a result of closing three of our schools, relocating another and starting West Elementary from scratch), we basically got used as a doormat again in the staffing shuffle last spring. Without consulting school or community leaders about personnel concerns, let alone holding public discussions about what a future West/West K-8 might look like, Superintendent Nick Gledich, in concert with a compliant school board, took away both principals who had handled the boots-on-the-ground assimilation of West Elementary with West Middle School. Were they doing a bad job? Apparently not, because both remain employed with the district - Terry Martinez as the principal of Rogers Elementary and Clay Gomez the assistant principal at Russell Middle School. From what I saw myself, both were hard workers and caring individuals, with Martinez especially full of ideas and enthusiasm.
       Lest we not forget, in the same shuffle, Coronado High also lost its principal - David Engstrom, who had been selected in a 2010 process involving staff, students and Westside community leaders. But Gledich and the board had the power to veto all that... and they did.
       To reiterate, this is not a slam at the new leaders of West/West. They seem qualified and deserve a chance to show what they can do. It's their bosses who have diminished D-11's good will. They love their slogan, "Every student prepared for a world yet to be imagined." I just wonder if, in the next election seeking an educational tax hike, they're prepared for a vote they'd rather not imagine.

- K.J.