JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio

JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Six Jefferson County Public Schools principals are in danger of losing their jobs after state audits critical of their performance called for their removal.

Now JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio has to decide whether or net he will follow those recommendations.

Over the next few weeks, Pollio said he will meet with the six principals deemed ineffective in the latest round of state reviews.

"I'll be candid with you," Pollio said. "I'm not a big fan of the process, and I don't think it's necessarily fair."

Those principals include William Bunton from Wheatley Elementary School, Roosevelt-Perry Elementary's Kimberly Marshall, King Elementary School's Stephanie White, Michelle Pennix from Mill Creek Elementary School and Todd Stockwell from Doss High School.

"All of these principals are very hard-working, committed and dedicated principals in every one of the schools that have an audit," Pollio said. "And they have my full support, without a doubt. But we will talk and decide what's best for the students as we move forward."

The Kentucky Department of Education visited 15 schools in JCPS who ranked in the bottom 5% in state testing. Evaluators found that the six principals lacked the capacity to turn around their schools, citing challenges such as controlling student behavior and inconsistent instruction.

"This is so challenging for school communities to face this," Pollio said. "I've already gotten a lot of correspondence from people supporting their principal and I appreciate that."

Pollio admits he was surprised by the review of Mill Creek Elementary School, where principal Michell Pennix has been on the job for 21 years.

The KDE review team found that while Mill Creek Elementary had developed a sense of trust within the school, 86% of the school's certified teaching staff had fewer than five years of experience and could use greater professional development opportunities.

"The team suggests that the school should be strategic in resource use and prioritize improving student learning outcomes, including formal and systematic intervention for less than proficient students and acceleration for higher performing students," the report says.

Posts online also supported White from King Elementary School.

"Mrs. White is one of the best things to happen to King Elementary," Shirley Marie wrote on Facebook. "She is present. She is all over that school involved all day long from the car drop off line to in the classroom with misbehaving kids! If they replace her they are gonna regret it."

Pollio said he will review each leader case-by-case.

"We'll go through the report, talk about plans, any identified difficulties," Pollio said. "What is the principal doing, or have they done, or will they do?"

Any change will likely come after the end of the school year.

Despite the recommendation of the state, Pollio said the final decision to retain or remove will fall with him.

"I'm going to do what is best for each individual school," he said.

Traditionally, a principal removed after a state review is not terminated. Some have moved to other schools in JCPS as principals or assistant principals. Others have taken jobs in the district's central office.

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