Principals changing places in Westford

Principals changing places in Westford

There are 11 comments on the Lowell Sun story from Jun 9, 2010, titled Principals changing places in Westford. In it, Lowell Sun reports that:

Administrative changes are coming to Westford's public schools in the fall. Blanchard Middle School Principal Jessica Huizenga has resigned from her position, and an interim principal has been appointed.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Lowell Sun.

Even more interesting

Lexington, MA

#1 Jun 9, 2010
I find it curious that according to Superintendent Olsen, Ms. Huizenga is leaving to pursue her Doctorate, but according to the Georgetown Superintendent, she has been appointed the new middle school principal:
http://www.georgetown.k12.ma.us/Superintenden...
Honesty

Boston, MA

#2 Jun 11, 2010
Even more interesting wrote:
I find it curious that according to Superintendent Olsen, Ms. Huizenga is leaving to pursue her Doctorate, but according to the Georgetown Superintendent, she has been appointed the new middle school principal:
http://www.georgetown.k12.ma.us/Superintenden...
Sounds like Supt. Olsen (the spin doctor) is not being completely honest. It was very odd for her to resign suddenly with 2 weeks left in the school year to "pursue here doctoral degree". This is a lateral move since she is moving to another Middle School principal position. So what motivated her to move out of Westford???
Interested Observer

Concord, MA

#3 Jun 11, 2010
Honesty wrote:
<quoted text>
Sounds like Supt. Olsen (the spin doctor) is not being completely honest. It was very odd for her to resign suddenly with 2 weeks left in the school year to "pursue here doctoral degree". This is a lateral move since she is moving to another Middle School principal position. So what motivated her to move out of Westford???
I don't think she was considered to be a rising star. I know the teachers and the parents did not care for her. She is probably a little young for the job. The announcement was probably made this way to protect her. If she already has a job she has been looking for a while so let's assume that there has been pressure on her to improve and she chose to leave. That's the way it should work instead of leaving someone inadequate in the job. She was hired under Olsen's tenure so he admitted the mistake and corrected it. A good manager/leader does that. This isn't a problem.
Parent

Westford, MA

#4 Jun 11, 2010
Interested Observer wrote:
<quoted text>
I don't think she was considered to be a rising star. I know the teachers and the parents did not care for her. She is probably a little young for the job. The announcement was probably made this way to protect her. If she already has a job she has been looking for a while so let's assume that there has been pressure on her to improve and she chose to leave. That's the way it should work instead of leaving someone inadequate in the job. She was hired under Olsen's tenure so he admitted the mistake and corrected it. A good manager/leader does that. This isn't a problem.
Blanchard won an award under her tenure last year, so she must have been doing something right. I don't know of any parents who have expressed dislike for her. If Olsen felt she was inadequate (your assumption), then he should have fired her for cause. What mistake did Olsen admit to?
TownieToo

Chelmsford, MA

#5 Jun 12, 2010
Good luck to Georgetown - they've been snowed! She was a terrible administrator who showed no leadership to her staff! Hardly ever in the building and very inexperienced! Easy to fool parents with a great PR speel - if you want to know the real truth check with the staff! Good riddance!
Parent

Westford, MA

#6 Jun 12, 2010
TownieToo wrote:
Good luck to Georgetown - they've been snowed! She was a terrible administrator who showed no leadership to her staff! Hardly ever in the building and very inexperienced! Easy to fool parents with a great PR speel - if you want to know the real truth check with the staff! Good riddance!
My impression is that most of the Westford administrators are long on great PR speel. As a parent, we won't get the real truth from the staff.
Another Frustrated Parent

Lexington, MA

#8 Jun 15, 2010
To "I Know the Truth".
A) You can't make an accusation (teachers in BMS school are horrible humans) and then in the next sentence apologize and say "not all". That's an debate strategy that middle school students are taught *not* to use.
B) The elementary school principal who left returned to the school where she began her teaching career. Check your facts.
C) If this rising star in fact is leaving because the teachers are horrible humans, then that makes her and Mr. Olsen terrible liars (see press release and emails sent to parents about her reasons for departure.) It's insulting to think that we parents are going to receive ad believe an email stating her reasons for departure are to pursue her doctorate, when in fact, she already had the contract in hand.
Good luck to Georgetown. Hope you enjoy Team Time!
I Also Know The Truth

Lexington, MA

#9 Jun 15, 2010
1) Ms. Huizenga walked into a difficult situation at BMS. As stated above, the previous two principals were revered by the faculty, leaving big shoes for her to fill. Ms. Huizenga was actually the third choice of the search committee, yet she was given the job by the superintendent. These two factors combined to create a difficult environment for a new administrator.

2) Blanchard Middle School has been one of the top-rated middle schools in Massachusetts for a long time, so obviously we were doing something right. Ms. Huizenga came to Blanchard promising to value our traditions and get to know us before trying to make changes. Instead, she never took the time to learn about the long-established routines and practices that made Blanchard successful. She also began introducing new initiatives almost from the beginning of her first year. The Blanchard faculty are not opposed to trying new things, and some of her initiatives were well-received. Unfortunately, all too often she would throw a new idea at the faculty, expect us to drop everything to implement the new idea, and then never mention it again.

3) Granted, there has been a small group of teachers who have been critical of Ms. Huizenga, but the majority of the faculty have been supportive and have tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, like so many contemporary administrators, she has very little experience as a classroom teacher, so her understanding of what works and what does not work in the classroom comes from graduate school textbooks. If she had more experience, she would better understand that not every new initiative is a good fit for every school. If she had more experience, she would understand the need for routines, consistency and follow-through in a school.

4) I cannot allow the earlier comment regarding the Assistant Principal to stand. The current Assistant Principal (who has been the interim AP for the last two years filling in for a maternity leave), is the glue that has held the school together for the last two years. Despite his youth, he as far exceeded the expectations of the faculty in his maturity and professionalism, as demonstrated by the near-unanimous support he received in dropping the "interim" and being appointed Assistant Principal. Mr. Hislop is everything that Ms. Huizenga is not -- he is consistent, he maintains a presence in the building, he problem-solves, he doesn't let details fall through the cracks, he learns from his mistakes and makes better decisions the next time.

I did not push for Ms. Huizenga to leave, but I cannot say that I am sorry to see her go. She is a nice enough person who has the potential to be a good administrator, but this was not a good fit for her or the school. If she goes into Georgetown with an open mind and a humble attitude and takes the time to get to know the school, her new faculty, and the way they do things, she could have a much better experience in Georgetown than she had in Westford. If she arrives in Georgetown with the same arrogance that she brought to Blanchard, I'm afraid that she will run into the same issues at her new school.

The most important thing, however, is that the education we provide to our students remains top-quality, no matter who is sitting in the big office. Blanchard has a faculty of dedicated professionals who work very hard to provide the best possible education to the students.
So you want the truth

Westford, MA

#10 Jun 17, 2010
I think the people on this comment board should get a life... The truth is only the facts that exist.
1. Test Scores have only increased since Mrs. Huizenga came to Blanchard.
2. Mrs. Huizenga has won multiple grants for the Blanchard School, brought in more technology, and expanded programs.
3.The School has been cited not only as the 2nd best middle school in the state, but was also cited as a National School of Tolerance by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
4. Community service learning has been instituted
5. School Partnerships have been established with Red Hats, UMASS Lowell, and MIT. These were not there before.
6. The staff has had more opportunities for Professional Development under her leadership.
I don't see facts in these other posts... I see typical Westford, hanging on to status quo, and bashing people who work hard to improve things for our children. I'm disgusted with my community, and embarrassed by the behavior of entitled teachers and parents. Good Luck to Mrs. Huizenga... She deserves some peace and a community who will appreciate her efforts.
So you want the truth

Westford, MA

#11 Jun 17, 2010
TownieToo wrote:
Good luck to Georgetown - they've been snowed! She was a terrible administrator who showed no leadership to her staff! Hardly ever in the building and very inexperienced! Easy to fool parents with a great PR speel - if you want to know the real truth check with the staff! Good riddance!
Blanchard Staff are notorious in this district for being some of the most hateful and unprofessional individuals. I'd rather not.
Parent

Westford, MA

#12 Jun 18, 2010
So you want the truth wrote:
<quoted text>
Blanchard Staff are notorious in this district for being some of the most hateful and unprofessional individuals. I'd rather not.
I don't think it is unique to Blanchard; it starts at the top in this district.

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