Five Norfolk principals demoted; one resigned, four to be reassigned

NORFOLK, Va. - Parents from a number of Norfolk School buildings packed Wednesday's school board meeting in protest after they learned several principals were demoted.

School Board Chair Rodney Jordan tells News 3 that Superintendent Melinda Boone made the decision to demote five principals.

This decision impacts Ruffner Academy, Southside STEM Academy, St. Helena Elementary, Monroe Elementary and Jacox Elementary.

The district says the principal at Jacox has decided to resign, but the remaining four principals are set to be reassigned.

Tracie Bias has a daughter going into eighth grade at Ruffner Academy. She says a source told her the principal, Sallie Cooke, would not be returning as principal next school year.

She says Cooke later confirmed the news with her.

A group of parents and teachers protested outside Ruffner last week.

"Parents, teachers and staff are all rallying together to get her to stay," said Bias. "We don't want her to...we don't want her going anywhere else."

Jordan says he can't say what went into the decision to demote the principals, but Bias says she was told test scores and morale played a role, which she doesn't agree with.

"There's a lot of great things, positive things, strengths in the division. We want to build upon those strengths we know we have challenges, we're not shying away from them we have a superintendent that's not afraid to shy away from them. She brings them to us and sometimes at a critical point it forces tough conversations," said Jordan.

NPS sent News 3 this statement:

"As Norfolk Public Schools (NPS) moves forward with its district turnaround efforts, the choices that may result will not always be to everyone’s liking. The decision to move, demote or terminate an employee is never done lightly. Parents, teachers, staff, and community members should know that careful thought and consideration to what's in the best interest of our students and the district as a whole is always at the core of all decisions being made. Should any actions resulting in a change of status of a contracted NPS employee be taken, they will be entitled to due process. When any determinations on staff changes are made they are based on a myriad of factors. These decisions are difficult to make and are certainly not personal, nor an indictment on any individual’s character or commitment to NPS. We are legally prohibited from commenting on any specific personnel matters."