As a child, I was raised to believe that some things are right while other things are wrong. I guess, even today, those things I was taught are right and wrong shape my convictions in areas such as politics, ethics or how to get along with others. Sometimes when things are wrong enough you have to be willing to speak up.
The school board’s failure to renew the middle school principal’s contract caught my attention recently. I have told several people that if I was going to move my child to a middle school in Wise County it would be to Chico. There is a very simple reason for that. His name is Maury Martin.
I met Mr. Martin through the 4-H in Chico, where my kids have been actively involved for about eight years. He and his family volunteer their time helping kids with their animals and show projects. He has been tremendously helpful to us in starting our own group of show animals. I also know he is active and knowledgeable in Little Dribblers and Chico baseball. I think it is wonderful to have teachers and administrators involved with kids outside the classrorom. Teaching life lessons is also a valuable aspect of shaping young people. I have observed Mr. Martin do this many times.
That’s what makes this school board decision even more puzzling. Mr. Martin’s school, Chico Middle School, rates as the best in the county. It met AYP standards better than any other in the county. As a matter of fact, it was the only middle school in the county to excel in all four categories. Teachers’ morale is high and was demonstrated at the board meeting when a large majority of the teachers turned out in support of his leadership. Several spoke on his behalf.
Does their voice matter? Aren’t they trained in the area of education? Shouldn’t they be heard? What more would anyone want? All of these reasons combine to my simple mind to make for an easy and right decision to extend his contract.
Sadly, it seems egos and agendas can derail what is right. Is this really the course that Chico will choose to travel under their current leadership? The facts are not pretty. In the last few years the principals’ jobs at both the high school and elementary schools best resemble the game of musical chairs. Mr. Martin has been the one constant in the district until now. The results he and his teachers have produced bear out the results of good leadership.
There is still time to remedy the situation. It seems like a no-brainer to me. No reason has ever been given as to why this decision to not extend Mr. Martin’s contract was made. Could it be there’s not one, outside of a personal agenda on the part of one man? That, indeed, is a thought and commentary on a school district if it is the case.
I encourage the school board to step up to the plate and do what is right. Do what is fair for the kids, right for the teachers and right for the community of Chico. It just makes sense!