Teachers, Parents Protest Principal Moves Before School Board

Three Chester W. Morrison Elementary School students sang a tribute to principal Lynn Hanke in f...

Three Chester W. Morrison Elementary School students sang a tribute to principal Lynn Hanke in front of Menifee Union School District board members Tuesday.
A large crowd of teachers and parents of students in the Menifee Union School District spoke out Tuesday in opposition to an administrative decision to relocate four principals within the district for the next school year.

Tuesday's board meeting did not include an agenda item regarding the moves, which were announced last week. But during the public comments portion of the meeting, 12 adults spoke out against the moves, in addition to four current students.

The previously announced moves involving school principals:

-- Daphne Donoho is scheduled to move from Callie Kirkpatrick Elementary to Oak Meadows Elementary.
-- Manny Valdes is scheduled to move from Oak Meadows Elementary to Chester W. Morrison Elementary.
-- Lynn Hanke is scheduled to move from Chester W. Morrison Elementary to Callie Kirkpatrick Elementary.
-- Ed Resnick is scheduled to move from Hans Christensen Middle School to Menifee Valley Middle School.

Most of those who spoke out in opposition to the moves said they felt "change for the sake of change" was a bad idea, citing the success of students and staff at the schools involved.

"I feel a mistake has been made," said Xavier Padilla, a teacher at Hans Christensen Middle School. "A problem occurred at another school; why create an issue at this school because of it? I came to this school because of Mr. Resnick and what I knew he would do at Hans Christensen. Believe me, he is not done at this school."

Padilla was a school counselor at Menifee Valley Middle School, where Resnick was an assistant principal, before both transferred to Hans Christensen when the school opened in 2009. Padilla's reference to a problem "at another school" was in regard to the departure of Menifee Valley Middle School principal Robert Voelkel.

District officials will not comment on the departure of Voelkel other than to say he resigned to pursue other opportunities. Some of those who spoke, however, referred to MVMS as the only school of the five affected by the move in need of stability.

"I feel like this move is a reaction to something in a sort of a panic state," said Tina Donisi, a teacher at Hans Christensen. "You need to decide what is the core of the problem? Please focus on that and not this shifting of people."

Christina James, the parent of a student at Chester W. Morrison, presented Board President Ron Ulibarri with a petition containing 187 signatures protesting the removal of Hanke as principal there.

"Why are you making a last-minute change at a school that has just earned Distinguished School stat