Jim Jury serving as dual principal at Ballard, Male - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Jim Jury serving as dual principal at Ballard, Male

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Ballard High School (July 31, 2014) Ballard High School (July 31, 2014)
Louisville Male High School (July 29, 2014) Louisville Male High School (July 29, 2014)
Jim Jury leads the site-based decision-making council meeting at Male High School on July 29, 2014. Jim Jury leads the site-based decision-making council meeting at Male High School on July 29, 2014.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – They are two of the largest high schools in Louisville – and for the time being – they are sharing the same principal.

Jim Jury has been Ballard High School’s principal since 2003 and the acting principal at Louisville Male High School since July 7. Most days, you will find him at both schools helping teachers and staff members prepare for the first day of school on Aug. 13.

“The focus right now is to make sure we have a good opening at both schools,” Jury told WDRB News on Thursday. “Getting school open is really dependent upon the staff and both Ballard and Male have great staff – I have total trust at both schools.”

And so far, Jury says things have been going well – with the exception of the few times he’s been at Male and has answered the phone saying it was Ballard.

“I’m getting better at it,” he said with a laugh. “My big fear is to get in front of a big crowd at Male and say, ‘Welcome to Ballard High School.’ That wouldn’t go over well.”

But as Jury points out, while the two schools may like to compete in athletics and academics, at the end of the day, “We are all one community.”

“It’s the fun things about school that create the rivalries between schools, but the big picture is that Louisville is our community and we are one school district,” he said. “I am really proud of the folks at Ballard, they have stepped up to help when I’m not there."

Jury says assistant principals, counselors and teachers at both schools have picked up the slack, handling day-to-day duties while he's at the other school. Ballard has an enrollment of approximately 2,000 students, while Male is expecting 1,750 students this fall.

“It’s been really great to see the teachers and staff members realize that there is a bigger picture,” he said. “It’s a unique situation.”

Superintendent Donna Hargens said that’s exactly why she asked Jury to take on the temporary role, while the district continues its investigation involving Male’s current principal, David Mike.

Mike has been reassigned to central office pending two district investigations into testing improprieties at Male and questions about his professional behavior.

“Dr. Jury has over 30 years of experience and knows everything there is to know about running a high school,” Hargens said. “He also has a very strong team and he is a natural at maximizing everyone’s talents to make sure both schools do well. We have great confidence him.”

Hargens said she isn’t sure how long the investigations involving Mike will take.

“An investigation runs its own course, we will follow that process,” she said.

Ben Wyman, a Male High parent who also sits on the school’s site-based decision-making council said Jury has been a welcome addition.

“We are all so traumatized because of the David Mike situation, so it was important for us to have a sense of transparency,” Wyman said. “He’s (Jury) been really great. The thing I really like is that he sees all of this in context – it’s not about him, it’s about making sure we have a smooth opening and that we have enough people in place to make sure that happens.”

Wyman said he also has complete faith in the school’s three assistant principals to help out while the school is without a permanent principal.

“Our assistant principals are very capable of taking on some more responsibilities,” he said.

Jury said he believes both schools are in “great shape” for the first day of school.

“I have no doubt that things will be good at both places,” he said.

Jessica Kelly, whose stepson attends Ballard, said she’s happy that Jury has stepped in to help out at Male – just as long as he has no plans to leave the Bruins.

“We really like Dr. Jury,” she said. “And we understand why they would ask him to take on this role. We just don’t want him to leave Ballard.”

Jury says he has no plans to leave Ballard.

“This (Ballard) is home for me,” he said. “But I will help out at Male as long as I’m needed.”

Reporter Antoinette Konz can be reached at 585-0839 or @tkonz on Twitter. Copyright 2014 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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