Archive for Thursday, April 1, 2010

Lawrence school district moves two elementary principals as part of budget cuts

April 1, 2010


The Lawrence school district on Thursday announced the shuffling of two elementary principals as part of the district’s budget cuts for next school year.

Cris Anderson, principal of the East Heights Early Childhood Family Center, will become the Kennedy School principal as the early-childhood programs move into that school.

Current Kennedy principal, Felton Avery, will move to Lawrence High School to become an assistant principal, filling a vacancy created by the retirement of Jan Leonard.

As part of $4.6 million in cuts approved on March 9, the school board voted to close East Heights and move its programs into Kennedy School, 1605 Davis Road.

Kennedy will become a pre-kindergarten through sixth-grade school, but, to make room, some current Kennedy students will be moved to New York School for next year because of a boundary change.

Avery’s move to LHS coupled with the recent resignation of Wakarusa Valley principal Elias Espinoza means the district has met the school board mandate to cut two elementary principals for next year. Superintendent Rick Doll said administrators are still investigating how the district will fill the Wakarusa leadership vacancy. Options include having one principal be responsible for two schools.


volunteer 7 years, 10 months ago

What about cuts among the highly paid Administrators at the Central Office? Details please. I asked Rick Doll online about this many months ago, when he had an online interview with this newspaper, but have received no response.

To be specific, which several positions have been combined into one position? I am not talking about clerical, I am asking about highly paid Administrators at the Central Office.


cntrygrl 7 years, 10 months ago

I must admit that I'm not sorry to hear that the Kennedy principal will be leaving. However, this only means that the kids that dealt with him in grade school will now have to deal with him in high school. While the kids are very excited about the short term, it's starting to sink in that this is only a short reprieve.

Maybe he could get a position in Missouri...where he lives???????

workinghard 7 years, 10 months ago

Glad I'm not at Kennedy anymore. Did all the complaints about Anderson when she was a kindergarden teacher just disappear?

Nikki May 7 years, 10 months ago

I'm so glad that this is the result. I was afraid of what changes were to come and if we'd lose our principal for one I didn't care for. I now don't have to worry about it specifically.

amberT 7 years, 10 months ago

What else has Anderson done? Experience? Don't know anything about her. Can we get some more info on her please? Before East Heights?

observing 7 years, 9 months ago

You should find out more about it before making a smarmy comment about 'a principal for a preschool.' East Heights not only houses several classrooms full of children in the district's school readiness program (complete with fully certified teachers), but it also is the home base for the district's early childhood special education program. It's a normal, full-sized school, if you agree that when East Heights was an elementary school it was a normal sized school. The classrooms are full.

I thank my lucky stars I don't have a job where everyone and their mother feel they have the right to blindly discuss my qualifications in public, whether they know what those qualifications are or not (this for Jane and Workinghard).

2BusyMom 7 years, 10 months ago

Hope Avery can develop a sense of professionalism before he moves on to LHS.

workinghard 7 years, 10 months ago

Anderson's experience does not extend past kindergarten. I do know when a student's babysitter came in because the child did not come out of the school entrance, which was 25 ft away from the class, she was told "It's not my problem" and would not help look for the child who was found 45 minutes later on a school bus. She had accidentally got in line with the bus kids who line up and leave 5 minutes earlier than the others.

workinghard 7 years, 10 months ago

Can't find it on the school website now, but earlier had seen that the principal at Kennedy made quite a bit more than most principals and definitely more than Anderson. Will Anderson's salary stay the same or will she get a $20,000 raise? What will her salary be?

workinghard 7 years, 10 months ago

What happened to all of the information that used to be on the school district website? Don't want the public to know?

Christine Anderson 7 years, 10 months ago

Hmmm...I feel very sorry for the students of Kennedy.

kidscount 7 years, 10 months ago

misplacedcheesehead, You say you feel sorry for the students at Kennedy. Why is that? Avery has got to be the most incompetent principal EVER!!! He gives no interaction to the students nor does he give a rats ass about them in general. As a parent of a child that attends there, this is the best news to come about. Felton Avery doesnt care about the needs of the students or acknowledge that parents exist, let alone get the parents involved. Better yet, he gets to move on to more children and be a negative influence (hopefully these kids are confident, not to pay any mind to what he has to say). HOPE HE RETIRES SOON AND DOES THIS DISTRICT A FAVOR!!!!!

sinkorswim 7 years, 10 months ago

misplacedcheesehead ,

I too feel sorry for the students at Kennedy. I'm not sure what kind of interacation kidscount has had with Mr. Avery, but clearly I've had a different experience with Mr. Avery. I feel that the Kennedy students continue to "pay the price" with each decision the folks at the administration center and school board make. Discouraging...

amberT 7 years, 10 months ago

Haven't had much interaction myself with Mr. Avery, but it would seem to me that Kennedy is sure being asked to make a lot of change at once. And Cris Anderson? You give someone with NO experience a school that is already struggling? Really makes you wonder. Seems like the district doesn't give a damn about Kennedy. But they did save New York, so the SONS can stop screaming now.

observing 7 years, 9 months ago

FInd out more...Cris Anderson does not have "NO experience." It's just not experience you've chosen to find out about. And are you assuming that Mr. Avery was dragged from some beloved post at Kennedy, forcing even more changes on Kennedy? Is this the district's fault? Seriously, reading all of these posts, you wonder how Kennedy ever survived anything.

fly_on_wall 7 years, 10 months ago


Whats all the hostility at New York. You didn't know Mr. Avery very well and you didn't know the plan if they closed New York. Get involved before a decisions made don't cry about it after. Fact all the problems you are having with East Heights moving into Kennedy would have happened if New York closed. Except there would be no pre school program, and any teacher with less than three years of experience would have lost a job for veteran staff from New York and Wakarusa. How would they address the two extra principals. I don't know? My Guess is all Principals would be looked at as vulnerable. So stop being mad at New York for being an active community and fighting for there kids. No one hands anyone anything.

amberT 7 years, 10 months ago

Fly- Just how would you know what I have been involved in? I am not mad at NY, its a great school. I am mad that our district is always reacting short tern and not planning for the long term. And any teacher with less that three years is still quite likely to loose his/her job.

sinkorswim 7 years, 10 months ago

amberT says...

"...Kennedy is sure being asked to make a lot of change at once. And Cris Anderson? You give someone with NO experience a school that is already struggling? Really makes you wonder. Seems like the district doesn't give a damn about Kennedy..."


deskboy04 7 years, 10 months ago

How much does the food service director make?

Clevercowgirl 7 years, 10 months ago

May I suggest that the concerned parents of Kennedy form a group to deal with these upcoming changes. I am sure that all of this change is going to create a period of adjustment for the kids. You may want to ask the school counselor what you can do as parents to help. Also, your group could look into things that parents can do to help your kids academically. Surely there are some excellent teachers in your school that could help parents form additional support for the struggling students. Here is what I am getting at: at the end of the day, sometimes the parents have to take a very active role in their kid's achievement. You may want to research what some inner city schools are doing to increase the buy - in of the parents, teachers, and children. Also, the teachers at New York are dealing with some similar issues as you are, being a Title 1 school. I think that they would be amenable to sharing any helpful information they have. There is no doubt that your school has to do the most adjusting of any school in the district at this time. Don't you think that it is time to move forward and help you kids with this adjustment with all resources available?

supportourstudents 7 years, 10 months ago

Clevercowgirl, how nice that you think those of us at Kennedy are sitting around mourning our fate and have completely abandoned all consideration for our students. Wrong! At Kennedy the kids are always the first priority. Those teachers should be commended for continuing to give the kids their best effort while dealing with so much uncertainty, not criticized. No one knows where they will be next year and some are facing losing their job completely. Those teachers are facing huge transitions, whether they stay at Kennedy or move to another school. They have already begun to plan for the transition and how to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible for the children. If you are truly concerned, why not volunteer to head that committee and bring together the entire community to support and aid Kennedy in the difficult changes they face? Right now, they need people who are actually willing to step up and do something instead of offering well-meaning suggestions when they don't know what they're talking about.

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