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S. Harrison shuffles jobs at CC, SC

S. Harrison shuffles jobs at CC, SC
S. Harrison shuffles jobs at CC, SC
Corydon Central students protested the demotion of principal Kent Dunning outside the school this morning. (Photo by Ross Schulz)

More than 100 people squeezed into every nook and cranny in the Edmund ‘Ed’ F. Schneider Administrative Center’s meeting room last night (Tuesday), many to offer their support for Corydon Central principal Kent Dunning at the December meeting of the South Harrison Community School Corp. Board of Trustees.
While other administrative positions were involved in an unusual shuffling plan made public last week, it was Dunning who was the focus of the night.
Under the plan, Dunning, who was hired as Corydon Central’s principal in March 2007, is the new athletic director at the school effective immediately. The former AD, Karen Fleck, moves to South Central Junior-Senior High School to become the new assistant principal. Fleck replaces former SC assistant principal Jennie Capelle, who now becomes co-principal at CCHS along with Gary Pope, who goes from being assistant principal to co-principal.
The co-principal positions are permanent, South Harrison Supt. Neyland Clark said last night, adding that co-principal positions at South Central are possible if the move at Corydon proves to be successful.
Prior to the vote on the plan, six members of the audience ‘ Bob Pruett, former SHCSC board president Susie Rainbolt, Rodney Cecil, Jim Stiles, CCHS student Leah Dahline and former student Isaac Brown ‘ did their best to sway the six-member board (trustee Carol Uesseler was not present at the meeting) to vote against the proposal.
Pruett noted several accomplishments made at CCHS under Dunning’s watch, then later pulled a dollar bill from his pocket, threw it on a table, and said the school board was passing the buck.
Rainbolt said the moves were due to a personal vendetta being made by school trustee Roger Windell, Assistant Supt. Jeff Hauswald and Clark, pointing to each as she said their names.
Cecil read a letter of support from his son, 2008 CCHS valedictorian Nate Cecil, and Stiles read a letter on behalf of the CCHS adult booster club, noting the club had raised more than $67,000 while Dunning has been principal and keeping him would be ‘priceless.’
Dahline, who is the senior class president, was joined by other class officers in their support.
‘(Dunning) interacts daily with students, give high-fives in the hallways and calls you by name,’ she said. ‘He demands respect and keeps order and offers students an optimistic outlook. I have seen a difference in the school’s attitude since he’s been here.’
Brown said he believed the school board was ‘uninformed.’
The urging was to no avail. Windell made the motion to accept the plan and Bill Fleace, who was defeated in last month’s election by Ray (Radar) Lillpop, seconded it. The vote was 5-1, with the lone nay coming from Joyce Bliss. As the votes were being made, several cat-calls and boos from the audience were directed toward board members who voted for the change.
‘Through conversations and assessments, we did what we felt like was in the best interest of the students,’ said Clark, who stood by the board’s decision.
When asked for a specific reason why Dunning was being forced to step down as principal, Clark said he could not comment because it was a personnel matter.
Bliss told one member of the audience she voted against the change because she didn’t like the process of Dunning’s removal.
Dunning attended the meeting but was unavailable for comment last night. He told WHAS-11 television that he was ‘blind-sided’ by the move and had no idea why it was being made.
Lost in the administrative moves was the announcement of more than $750,000 in grant money that South Harrison schools have received. The largest portion of the grant is $345,000 a year for three years and an additional $60,000 to allow for evaluations.
See next week’s newspaper for additional school board news from last night’s meeting.
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