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Parents protest principals' departures

For the second consecutive School Board meeting, Tonawanda City School District parents Tuesday protested the departure of two elementary school principals in recent months.

The principals -- Kathleen Emhof of Riverview and Rebecca Todd of Highland -- both resigned in recent months, forcing the district to spend the summer looking for new principals. Parents speaking during the standing-room-only meeting said they were annoyed that the district let the principals get away.

Since becoming principal at Highland, Todd has seen the school receive high honors as a gap-closing school and a Blue Ribbon award. Todd's resignation was approved by the board on Tuesday.

"You lost an incredible leader, someone who always put the needs of the children first," parent Mary Donovan said. "I don't know how this bodes for the future of our school district."

Riverview has seen four different principals in five years.

"This school is currently lacking leadership," said Riverview parent Chris Thomas, who wanted more stability from the administration. "Here it is -- another year, another new principal."

Superintendent Barbara Peters and members of the School Board offered little comment in response to the criticism.

"Some of the decisions that come out of [this School Board] make us wonder what you're thinking," parent Angela Snyder said. "There never is an answer. Where is the accountability? These are all legitimate concerns."

Peters said the issue of granting tenure to the principals was not a factor in the district. She praised the parents who attended Tuesday's meeting.

"They're passionate about doing what's right about the children and the school," said Peters, who added that she wants teachers and parents to be part of the hiring process for the new principals.

The School Board hopes to have the two principal positions filled by July 31.

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