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Change Is Elementary Five Of Nine North Idaho Elementaries, Lakes Middle School Will Get New Principals Next Fall

Hands on hips, Fernan Elementary Principal Jay Glover watched from the gym floor as the “Class of 2007” graduated from kindergarten.

“Each of us is a flower, who needs the sun and rain,” sang the seven dozen tykes in mortarboards.

Glover has had his share of rain lately from critical parents in the Coeur d’Alene School District, and perhaps not enough sun.

He and his wife, Bryan Elementary principal Linda Glover, are leaving education to go into business in Washington. Idaho’s elementary Principal of the Year, Pam Pratt of Dalton Gardens Elementary, is taking over the job at Fernan.

The Glovers are expected to hand in their letters of resignation today.

Though he has endured criticism for low test scores and other problems, “the parents here, 99 percent, are very positive and supportive,” Jay Glover said. “It’s going to continue to be a good building under Pam’s guidance.”

Those aren’t the only changes among school administrators in the district. By next fall, five of the nine elementary schools will have new principals and so will Lakes Middle School.

Among the changes:

Lakes Middle School Principal John House will take Linda Glover’s place at Bryan Elementary;

Hayden Meadows Principal Warren Bakes has taken early retirement and will be replaced by Keith Jones from Borah Elementary School;

District officials will hire new principals for Dalton Gardens and Borah Elementary schools, and Lakes Middle School.

Superintendent Doug Cresswell said the changes were not motivated by politics, but they did please parents who have complained about lax discipline and poor test scores under the Glovers’ management.

“I’m thrilled,” said parent Simone Kincaid. “I hope they search for some really high qualified people who will strive for high academic achievement and lower the student dropout rate.”

Fernan Elementary came under fire last year when parents complained to the school board that too many classes were participating in a pilot program that combined two grade levels.

The issue brought together a number of concerned parents who called themselves Parents for Academic Excellence.

Though not the lowest in the district, the Fernan school’s scores on the 1994 spring achievement tests were used by the parent group to bolster their point that Fernan’s approach wasn’t working.

Meanwhile, Pratt’s students at Dalton Elementary were among the top scorers in the achievement tests. Pratt was named this year’s state Elementary Principal of the Year.

The Glovers acknowledged that the barrage of criticism played a part in their decision to leave education, but say they weren’t pressured to do so.

“It’s caused a lot of additional stress, but there’s stress in everything you do,” said Linda Glover.

Cresswell said Pratt was being moved to Fernan to give her an opportunity to work at a bigger school, not necessarily to raise test scores there.

“We’d hope we’d raise test scores at all schools in the district no matter who the principal is,” Cresswell said.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Color photos

Tags: education