Dean resigns after 10 days

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Escambia County Superintendent of Education Billy Hines was taken back early Monday morning when newly hired Escambia County High School principal Joseph Dean resigned less than two weeks after being hired.

“He came to my office this morning and told me he felt that he was not the right fit for Escambia County High School,” Hines said Monday morning.

Tuesday afternoon, Hines confirmed that the vacancy had been posted Monday afternoon and will run for the required 14 days.

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“We’ve got to move forward,” Hines said. “Since the board acted upon hiring Mr. Dean, we have to re-advertise for 14 days by law. We can interview any time during the process.”

Since resigning, the 38-year-old Butler County educator and Monroe County native told “The Greenville Advocate” that he is still employed by the Butler County School System because the board never formerly accepted his resignation. He added that two districts could not employ him simultaneously. He said that he is currently “in limbo” in terms of employment and should know more by Thursday when the Butler County School Board meets.

“Time is not my ally, and we have to do what is best for the kids,” Dean said.

Hines said that Dean had accepted the job with the Escambia County School System and was using earned leave from Butler County while working on the ECHS campus last week.

“We knew he was using vacation time earned in Butler County to start with us early,” Hines said.

The school board unanimously approved the hiring of Dean on May 27 at the board’s May meeting at the Central Office in Brewton. Dean began work at ECHS last Wednesday morning. Dean was interviewed last week by The Advance stating, “I think we are in excellent shape,” when asked about the upcoming school year.

Dean presented Hines with a resignation letter stating: “I would like to begin by thanking you for the opportunity you have extended to me in your school district. It is with deep regret that I must offer my resignation to you at this time. I feel that the opportunity Escambia County High School offers is excellent, but I have personal issues and concerns that stand in my way. I hope you will accept my resignation and find the right administrator to lead the students, faculty and community of Atmore.”

In the meantime, Hines said hiring to replace teachers is currently underway with interviews being held by ECHS assistant principal Linda Shuford and assistant superintendent Randal Little, who heads up personnel.

“We’ve got teachers that are applying,” Hines said. “Mr. Little is interviewing applicants with Ms. Shuford and they are planning to bring recommendations to the board. We are not stopping anything. We are going strong like we would any other time.”

Although Little and Shuford are currently handling interviews and assistant principal David Lanier is tending to other administrative duties, Hines said not having a principal on staff is a challenge.

“Needless to say you always want your leader there,” he said. “We’ve got two capable assistant principals and we feel good about that. A lot of your summer work is the maintenance items that you can’t do during the year.”

A board meeting will be held at 4:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon for hiring personnel, Hines said.

“The goal is to hire as many teachers as you can in the month of June before everyone else has a chance to hire them,” Hines said. “We try to make our hires as quickly as possible, that’s why we have two board meetings in June.”

Hines said he would have a recommendation for a new ECHS principal at the regularly scheduled June 24 board meeting set for 4:30 p.m.

Greenville Advocate reporter Angie Long contributed to this story.

Escambia County High School Principal Joseph Dean stands in front of the school Friday morning after a walk through of the campus’ facilities with staff members. | Photo by Adam Prestridge