Original URL: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/northscottsdale/articles/0426sr-scorecard26mainZ9.html

Palomino appointment criticized
1 of 2 principals chosen by board upsets parents
The Arizona Republic
Apr. 26, 2003 12:00 AM
Christina Lucarotti

Parents left the Paradise Valley Unified School District Board meeting Thursday frustrated to the point of tears after the board decided to approve two new principals for Palomino Elementary School.

Next year, the elementary school will be split into primary and intermediate campuses.

Ana Ramos-Pell was named principal of Palomino Primary School, serving kindergarten through third grade, and Manuel Ramirez was named principal of Palomino Intermediate School, serving fourth through sixth grade, on the recommendation of a selection committee. The panel was made up of four parents, two teachers, two classified employees and two principals.

Palomino parent Leonor Oliva spoke against the appointment of Ramirez and asked that the recommendation process be repeated.

Oliva said teachers on the committee dominated the discussion and were biased toward Ramirez, who is an assistant principal at the school.

Parents on the selection committee believed they were signing an attendance form, Oliva said. But the form, which was not in Spanish, endorsed Ramirez.

"The problem we have with Mr. Ramirez is he ignores us," Oliva said through an interpreter after the meeting.

Oliva and other parents from the school listened to headsets for a Spanish translation of the board meeting. Translators were also present when the selection committee met.

Board members said they felt compelled to respect the work of the committee.

"There's no doubt in our mind that the clear majority of the committee stood for Mr. Ramirez," Assistant Superintendent John Kriekard said.

No one objected to the appointment of Ramos-Pell, and both candidates were approved unanimously.

Palomino's search for a new leader began in February, when Principal Elyse Minzer announced she was leaving to be a principal in the Deer Valley Unified School District. Her decision, she said, was based on the toll her job was taking on her family.

The district requested that principal candidates for both positions be bilingual, a requirement many believe is essential in a school where three out of four students aren't fluent in English.

Close to 60 people applied for the jobs.