After reviewing 21 resumes and interviewing five candidates, Burley Elementary‘s local school council met Tuesday morning and confirmed the recommendation of its principal selection committee, offering a four-year contract to the school’s assistant principal, Catherine Plocher.
In the end, Plocher’s instructional and administrative experience at the elementary level carried the day.
“We certainly feel we gave serious consideration to every candidate,” said Faith Spencer, chair of Burley’s LSC. With the majority of applicants having spent their careers at the high school level and/or espousing a more hands-off managerial approach, only a handful made it past the resume review phase into the first round of interviews.
“We were looking for a really strong instructional leader,” Spencer said, pointing to the example of outgoing principal Barbara Kent, who’s been a champion of the school’s literature-based curriculum, as well as technology and literacy initiatives. “That’s been a key part of our growth as a school.”
Plocher not only boasts the instructional background desired by the LSC but also an understanding of the culture at Burley, 1630 W. Barry Ave. “We have a progressive, inclusive approach,” said Spencer. “She shares those values.”
When Plocher is handed the reins July 1, she’ll be working with an incoming LSC that vastly differs from the current configuration: Four parents and one teacher are vacating their positions, including Spencer. In light of such large turnover, members of the incoming LSC were invited to sit on the principal selection committee, which swelled to 14 members.
Despite warnings to the contrary, the seemingly unwieldy group proved surprisingly nimble, splitting off into various committees and conducting parent and teacher surveys. Said Spencer, “We managed to all get along and conduct the process efficiently.”
Plocher was not in attendance at the confirmation meeting and was not made available for interviews.