New Louisville Male High School principal: 'We have to move past - WDRB 41 Louisville News

New Louisville Male High School principal: 'We have to move past the past'

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Jim Jury meets with staff in the office at Male High School, where was confirmed as the new principal n Tuesday Jan. 6, 2015. Jim Jury meets with staff in the office at Male High School, where was confirmed as the new principal n Tuesday Jan. 6, 2015.
Jim Jury takes a seat at his desk where he will take over as principal of Male High School. Jim Jury takes a seat at his desk where he will take over as principal of Male High School.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's one of the city's oldest schools filled with history and tradition, but the past few years have brought a lot of scandal and instability to Louisville Male High School.

From the inappropriate behavior of one former principal that prompted his early retirement in 2009 to a cheating scandal that cost another principal his job last year -- many students, staff and alumni of Male hope the selection of Jim Jury as its next leader will bring the strength and solidity the school needs.

"There is a lot of division going on and I think Jim Jury is exactly what the school needs," said Ted Boehm, a former Male principal who spent 17 years during two separate stints at the school. "I'm confident he will be able to help heal the division that has taken place and put the school back on the right track. He is one of the best principals I have ever come across."

Jury, who has been the principal of Ballard High School since 2003, was chosen to be Male's principal by the school's site-based decision making council on Monday night. The move was made official by Superintendent Donna Hargens on Tuesday.

"Dr. Jury is an experienced principal who is leaving a legacy at Ballard," Hargens said. "I am confident he will do a great job at Male as well. This begins a new chapter for each school."

District officials said Tuesday a transitional timeline to support both schools is in the works and it's not yet known when Jury will take over full time at Male. 

Male High School has been without a full-time principal since June, when JCPS reassigned then-principal David Mike to a position in central office, pending the outcome of a cheating investigation.

Mike was later fired from the district in October for "conduct unbecoming of a teacher." He appealed that decision to a state tribunal, but the tribunal upheld the district's decision in December.

Six years ago, former Male principal David Wilson retired after he was confronted with allegations that he appeared at a school function with alcohol on his breath and showed staff members a surveillance tape of two students having sex.

Boehm, who served as Male's principal from 1978 to 1992 and from 2009 to 2013, said it hasn't been easy to watch the school experience so much turmoil in a short period of time.

"There have been a few principals in the past few years who have not lived up to the reputation of Male High School," he said. "It's been painful to watch."

Jury, who served as interim principal at Male last year for about two months at the request of Hargens, said it was a last minute decision to apply for the top job at Male High. 

"When I left Male after being the interim, I didn't think I would apply for the full time position," Jury told WDRB on Tuesday. "I love Ballard and I am very happy there. The easiest thing for me to do would have been to stay at Ballard, but I've been there 10 years. I just felt it was time for a new challenge."

Jury said given all that Male has been through over the past decade, there needs to be some "calm, some stability and maybe just some new structures in place."

"We have to move forward," he said. "The past is the past and we can't revisit what happened last year. My focus is going to be on instruction in the classroom and making sure each kid reaches their full potential."

Anthony Crawford, a senior at Male, said Jury is the third principal he has had in four years.

"There's been a lot of instability," he said. "It's been kind of hard because each principal is different so you aren't really sure what to expect."

Crawford said will be nice "knowing who will shake my hand when I graduate."

"When you come in to visit as an eighth grader, you hear about the great history of Male," Crawford said. "To get back to that standard would be great. To have something you can be proud of would be nice."

Many parents and Male alumni said Tuesday they are pleased with Jury being named principal.

"During his time in an interim role, we were impressed with his personality and professionalism," said Kelly Anderson, whose son Luke is a freshman. "The students seemed to genuinely like him. We think he will have the right vision to restore Male to the great school and tradition of the past."

Joe Dunman, a 1997 graduate of Male, said he agrees.

"I would like to see a principal without any scandals," Dunman said. "I am hopeful. I have heard only good things about Dr. Jury. The teachers I know at Ballard love and respect him."

Meanwhile, the search for a new principal at Ballard will begin soon. JCPS officials said Tuesday the district will begin advertising for the position by the end of the week.

Reporter Antoinette Konz can be reached at 585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

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