The head of a charter school organization operating six Longview ISD campuses reassigned an elementary school principal this week to a new position within the organization’s administration, a move that is allowed in the contract between the nonprofit East Texas Advanced Academies and LISD.
Parents of students at Johnston-McQueen Elementary School were notified Monday that Jennifer Bailey no longer is principal and has been made culture conscious campus coordinator for ETAA.
ETAA is the nonprofit organization that operates Longview ISD’s district-within-a-district of charter schools. The campuses in the network are Johnston-McQueen, Ware East Texas Montessori Academy, East Texas Montessori Prep Academy, Bramlette STEAM Academy, J.L. Everhart Elementary School and Forest Park Magnet School.
The “culture conscious campus” model was created by ETAA Chief Executive Officer Cynthia Wise during her time as principal at Ned E. Williams Elementary School. The model is now being implemented at all ETAA campuses.
Wise previously described it as a school that sets high expectations for students and staff by creating safe and inclusive schools and focusing on college and career readiness, whole-child development, critical thinking and problem solving, strong student and staff relationships and community engagement.
Bailey became principal at Johnston-McQueen in 2018. She said she started her education career at Hallsville ISD and later took administrative posts at Stephen F. Austin State University and Kilgore and Chapel Hill ISDs.
Megan Burns, deputy of curriculum and instruction for ETAA, has taken over as Johnston-McQueen principal and will keep her administrative post.
The performance contract between Longview ISD and ETAA states that campus employees, such as Bailey, are still considered LISD employees.
However, the contract also gives the CEO of ETAA authority to manage the staff: “ETAA shall directly manage the instructional staff assigned to the schools, regardless of whether employed by LISD or ETAA, through the ETAA Chief Executive Officer.”
The contract further states, “this agreement grants ETAA full authority over the assignment of all LISD employees to the schools, including initial and final authority to approve the assignment of all district employees or contractors to the schools as well as initial and final authority to supervise, manage and rescind the assignment of any LISD employee or contractor from the schools.”
Bailey is the second ETAA campus principal this school year to be moved into an administrative position.
Arthur Brown was the principal at J.L. Everhart from July 2016 through September.
Brown’s profile on the networking website LinkedIn says he is the director of International Baccalaureate, talent search and special programs at ETAA. J.L. Everhart’s website lists Cassandra James as the principal.
Wise, the ETAA CEO, did not respond to multiple attempts for comment Tuesday or Wednesday to explain why Bailey and Brown were moved and to provide details on their new positions.
Longview ISD school board President Ginia Northcutt said the change at Johnston-McQueen was not brought to LISD trustees because there is not a need for administration to consult with the school board on personnel moves. She said the only employee the board is responsible for is Superintendent James Wilcox.
ETAA board President Alan Amos said the ETAA board also did not need to approve the moves because Wise is in charge of operating the schools.
“I can’t get into why or personnel matters,” he said. “But the move was the best move for the children at Johnston-McQueen and the network.”
Burns, the new Johnston-McQueen principal, has a principal certification, and this is the first campus she has overseen. She has been with the district since 2012 and was a teacher until 2016, when she took over as International Baccalaureate and magnet curriculum program specialist until moving to ETAAA, according to her resume.