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Winnona Park principal takes over as interim for Renfroe

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Wiseman has worked in education for 23 years. Photo courtesy of Greg Wiseman.

After two and a half years as Renfroe Middle School’s principal, Johnathan Clark resigned from the position effective Dec. 15, 2017.

Decatur Superintendent David Dude accepted Clark’s resignation “after much thought and consideration.”

Dude explained the sudden change in an email to parents.

“Although it is regrettable to have a change in school leadership during the school year,” Dude stated, “this is the best course of action for the school and district.”

Courtney Burnett, the Director of Community and Government Relations for City Schools of Decatur (CSD), didn’t go into detail when explaining the reason the change occurred in the middle of the year.

“Mr. Clark offered his resignation,” she said. “Beyond that, I cannot speak to that.”

Burnett declined to comment further on why Clark resigned or why Dude accepted his resignation.

Dude also did not give a reason for Clark’s resignation in his message but assured parents of the plan to replace him.

Bruce Roaden, former Renfroe principal and current Executive Director of Student Support for CSD, temporarily filled in as principal until the school district could find someone to take over the job for the rest of the school year.

Towards the end of January, CSD selected someone to take over the job: Greg Wiseman.

Before becoming interim principal at Renfroe, Wiseman was principal of Winnona Park Elementary for 12 years.

CSD selected Wiseman as interim principal due to his loyalty to the school system.

“He’s one of our longest serving principals, he’s accomplished, and he was willing to do it,” Burnett said.

Wiseman accepted the position because he believed Renfroe needed him more than Winnona Park since Renfroe has a much larger student body.

Wiseman started his new position on Feb. 5 and will serve as interim until the end of the 2017-2018 school year.

Students and staff showed their support for Wiseman by writing notes to him that now hang in his office. Photo by Nayeli Shad.

Wiseman enjoys being Renfroe principal because he likes the age group.

“I’m kind of at the middle school level myself in a lot of funny ways,” he said, “so that has been the most energizing part of this…It’s been a fun challenge.”

In Wiseman’s eyes, his first week at Renfroe was about getting to know the environment and everyone in it.

“I didn’t come in here thinking I’m going to reinvent the school…I knew that [the administration was] already kind of running the show anyway, and I wasn’t going to get in their way,” Wiseman said, “so I think that first week was just me…learning how the school runs.”

The support from parents, students and staff during the change has been overwhelming.

“I’ve gotten lots of emails from parents and [had] teachers grabbing me in the hallway thanking me that I’m here,” Wiseman said. “I just tried to really be open with everybody and communicate as much as I can with parents and teachers and kids, and I think they appreciate that.”

With Wiseman’s absence, plans are in place for Winnona Park’s administration for the rest of the school year. As for Renfroe, according to Burnett, the process of hiring a new principal is currently taking place. For now, Wiseman plans to savor this “amazing experience” until May rolls around.

UPDATE: On April 25, 2018, Wiseman sent out an email to parents stating that CSD hired him as Renfroe’s permanent principal.

 

Contact the writer, Nayeli Shad, at 20nayelishad@csdecatur.net.

 

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