A longtime principal at School District of Lancaster is expected to be reassigned Tuesday — less than a week before school starts.
Barbara Andrews, Martin School’s principal for the last 17 years, will take on an assistant principal position at Wheatland Middle School. She’ll then retire at the end of the 2019-20 school year.
The move, which came as a shock to the Martin community as it prepared for the first day of school coming up on Monday, was announced by district Superintendent Damaris Rau in a letter to parents and faculty on Aug. 12. The school board is expected to make it official during Tuesday night's school board meeting.
“I was devastated. I just couldn’t believe it,” Lori Irvin, who retired from Martin in June, told LNP Monday.
Irvin, 58, of Lancaster Township, taught at School District of Lancaster for 32 years, including seven at Martin. She said Andrews is a close friend and the best principal with whom she’s worked. The move, she said, was likely due to personal tension between Rau and Andrews.
“That’s just how they roll,” Irvin said. “I’ve been in the district long enough, and that seems to be something that they do.”
Irvin said she went to dinner with Andrews in early August. Andrews told her she submitted her retirement letter after she was notified of the move to Wheatland, Irvin said.
The district, meanwhile, says the move was to provide “additional administrative support” to Wheatland. The middle school already has an assistant principal, Kimberlee Cruz.
Shelby Cunningham, Martin’s assistant principal, is expected to fill Andrews’ principal role this year.
“This change in leadership will not interrupt our planning and preparation for the 2019-2020 school year,” Rau wrote in the letter to parents.
Some parents, however, don't agree.
That includes Melissa Monti, who has two children enrolled at Martin and is a member of the school’s parent teacher organization.
“It’s really unfair to kids,” Monti, 49, of Lancaster Township, told LNP. “When you have that kind of a presence in a child’s life, it’s unfair to kind of yank that away without any explanation.”
Attempts to reach Andrews on Monday were unsuccessful.
According to the district, Andrews’ salary of $116,286 won’t be affected by a reassignment.