School Board Hires New Principal with Questionable Work History

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By Dave Freneaux

    The School Board vote was unanimous in favor of hiring Al Chapman as Central Middle School's Principal.  Upon learning the name of the new principal, some in attendance did a quick internet search on iPhones.  Before the School Board meeting had ended the buzz began about internet news reports that Mr. Chapman had been terminated last December as the Superintendent of the Cannelton, Indiana School District.  The news articles covering Chapman's dismissal indicate that he served the small Cannelton School System as Superintendent, High School Principal, and teacher, and was terminated for poor financial management of the Cannelton School System.

    The recommendation to hire Mr. Chapman was made by Central Superintendent Mike Faulk after an hour-long "Executive Session" held in the middle of Monday night's School Board meeting.  The Superintendent and the School Board left the assembled community members and held a private meeting, as required by law, to discuss the qualifications of Mr. Chapman before returning to the regular meeting and approving his hiring.

    The discussions held in an "Executive Session" of the School Board remain confidential, but School Board members have confirmed that they were unaware of the turmoil surrounding Mr. Chapman's dismissal in Indiana last December.  Superintendent Faulk issued the press release that follows, indicating that he also may have had less than full knowledge of the circumstances of Mr. Chapman's termination.  Superintendent Faulk has confirmed that there has been no employment contract signed with Mr. Chapman, and that a decision on that matter will be made in the next 10 days.

Press Release:

    After last night’s board meeting questions arose regarding my recommendation for the position of Principal at Central Middle School.  After a review of the process used by the school system to check the work history of persons who applied for this position, I have determined that our process does not go far enough, especially for applicants who are from outside of our school system.

    Our goal is to provide the best possible leadership in our key administrative positions (Principals, Assistant Principals and Central Office Administrators).  We will make changes immediately in our process to provide more research into the backgrounds of applicants in all positions in the Central Community School System.  This will include more rigorous background research so that past job performance is thoroughly researched and we place people in the key administrative positions who can move our school system forward.

    I will revisit the recommendation and determine if another recommendation needs to be brought to the school board for consideration.  This will be accomplished within the next 7 to 10 days.

–  Michael Faulk, Superintendent of Schools, Central Community School System