They are fighting to bring him back to Stephenson, claiming that he was reassigned to an elementary school because of personality clashes with the district’s regional assistant superintendent.
Schools officials would not say this week where Bolden has been moved and would not say who would replace him.
District spokesman Walter Woods said he could not comment on “personnel matters or any specific employee.”
“Every year there are changes to school-based positions,” he said. “And, as part of our strategic plan, one of the school district’s goals is to ensure that in order to improve student success, there are leaders in every classroom, in every school building and in every Central Office position.”
Parents say Bolden, who pushes for academic excellence, was good for the school. They say it was one of the few high schools that made AYP and that in the spring, he helped stage the school’s first Academic Signing Day event for students who got college scholarships.
Academic Signing Day, held on April 18, was modeled after the traditional signing days for athletes held annually at schools around the nation. About 45 students who received academic scholarships participated in the ceremony in the school’s theater.
In an interview with CrossRoadsNews last month, Bolden said he would like to see Academic Signing Day duplicated nationwide.
“I really wanted to change the focus of this school to academics,” Bolden said. “Academic Signing Day should allow these students who are highlighting their academics to note them in the same manner as our athletes.”
Karon Edge-Fitzpatrick, whose daughter, Danielle, is a rising Stephenson sophomore, said her daughter came home in tears after finding out Bolden was being moved. Word of his reassignment got around during the last week of school.
Edge-Fitzpatrick said Danielle started a petition, which has more than 500 names, to keep Bolden at Stephenson.
“Dr. Bolden had a great impact on the entire student body,” Edge-Fitzpatrick said. “It’s so disheartening to me that we have a superintendent that talks about parent involvement, yet makes decisions that affect the students.”
Sandra Weaks, whose daughter is a rising senior, was upset that the school system didn’t notify parents about the move before it happened.
“We still don’t know who is going to take his position,” she said. “We’re getting the runaround.”
Edge-Fitzpatrick said it was “unacceptable” that parents were not informed of the move and no effort was made “to foster collaborative parent and stakeholder involvement.”
Weaks said Bolden is a great leader who cares about the students.
“[Seniors] got over $15 million in scholarships … so, why are you going to move a leader that shows outstanding leadership?” she said.
Edge-Fitzpatrick sent a letter to Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson and School Board members asking that parents and stakeholders be involved in the decision-making process.
“The school administration must promote a new culture that is driven by transparent parent-and-stakeholder involvement whereas we have a voice at the table and are offered meaningful roles in our school community decision-making process,” she wrote.