NY Times – by Kate Taylor
A dispute over who should lead an elementary school that serves almost exclusively Native American children has been resolved, just in time for the start of classes next week.
The dispute centered on who would become the new principal of the Onondaga Nation School, which sits on the Onondaga Nation, just south of Syracuse. Parents and Onondaga leaders wanted a nation member who was a teacher at the school to become principal. The local school board, which operates the school under a contract with the state, and has no Onondaga representatives, said that she did not have the proper certification and experience to be principal. The board instead chose a white man, an assistant principal in a nearby district and a colonel in the Army Reserve, but he ultimately turned the job down.
Most of the parents kept their children out of school for the last two weeks of classes in June to protest what they said was the board’s failure to listen to their request.
Last week, the two sides reached an agreement. The board appointed an interim principal, while elevating the teacher, Simone Thornton, to the newly created role of dean of students. Jeremy Belfield, the superintendent of the LaFayette Central School District, said that the goal was for Ms. Thornton to gain administrative experience so that she could potentially take over as principal, once she gains the necessary certification.