Melinda Voorhies resigned Monday morning as principal of Northside High School.
Voorhies, who’s held the position for three years, said her decision stemmed from a March 16 meeting with interim Lafayette Parish School System Superintendent Burnell LeJeune.
She said LeJeune told her he wasn’t sure she was “the right person to take Northside High School to the next level.”
LeJeune said he met with Voorhies to discuss “the academic plans for Northside High School.”
“All we talked about was that Northside needed to move forward,” he said Monday afternoon.
No one was acting as principal of the school Monday, although the school’s two assistant principals — Barbara Landor and Julia Williams — were present, Landor said.
Landor, Williams and the school’s academic officer, Virginia Rabalais, will meet with LeJeune on Tuesday to discuss how to handle the principal’s duties until a replacement is hired.
The position will be advertised as soon as possible, LeJeune said.
“We want somebody that is gonna be dedicated and committed to moving Northside forward,” he added.
Although Northside’s letter grade improved to a D after Voorhies’ first year as principal, the grade dropped three points down to an F for the 2013-14 school year.
Half of the grade is based on ACT scores and final exams, while the other half is based on graduation rates and college credits earned upon graduation.
Voorhies was recruited out of retirement in 2012 to lead Northside’s turnaround plan under former Superintendent Pat Cooper. Before her retirement, she was principal of Valley Park Alternative School in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Northside added a legal studies academy to capitalize on its successful mock trial team, and another new communication arts academy focuses on radio and TV broadcasting. The school’s student-run radio station went live in February.
“I’m proud of everything that we have done at Northside,” Voorhies said Monday. “I’m incredibly proud and love the school.”
But her time at the Lafayette Parish School System was sometimes rocky. After the high school was reconstituted during summer 2012 — a move that reset the school’s accountability scores and allowed Voorhies to hand-pick her staff — some longtime teachers and coaches were transferred to other schools or opted to retire.
She also submitted a letter of resignation to Cooper in December 2012 but rescinded it a few days later. Neither Cooper nor Voorhies publicly discussed what led to the issue.
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