The meeting was hosted after the HISD board of trustees voted to accept the resignation of Michael McDonough, former principal of Bellaire High School, at an Oct. 13 meeting. McDonough has notified the district of his intent to retire in January.
At the meeting, School Support Officer Delesa Franklin took feedback from attendees on what qualities they want to see in the next principal, what elements of the school they want to keep and what concerns they have that need to be addressed.
Common themes brought up at the meeting included requests that the next principal be a member of the Bellaire High School community, be dedicated to transparency, and be focused on student safety and addressing bullying on campus.
Many speakers also expressed support for Cardinal Hour, a block of time during the school's lunch period when students can access tutoring and participate in student-led clubs.
Several attendees at the Oct. 17 meeting asked why McDonough was leaving the district, which Franklin said she could not comment on per district policy. Others referenced McDonough in explaining what they were looking for in the next principal, including students, who said the next principal should be proactive when it comes to interacting with students, being in the hallways and showing a willingness to engage on any subject.
McDonough was named Bellaire High School's principal in 2012 after stints as principal at Westside High School and assistant principal at Bellaire High School. The Oct. 13 vote to accept his resignation came after trustees discussed the item in closed executive session.
McDonough was temporarily reassigned in May after the district opened an ongoing investigation at the school. His reassignment prompted a walkout from students as a protest, according to reporting by ABC13. A change.org petition to reinstate McDonough was launched in May and garnered 981 signatures.
Following the community meeting, HISD officials said next steps will include determining a principal profile, conducting initial interviews and setting up a community interview panel. Later on, Superintendent Millard House II will conduct interviews with the final candidates before a new principal is announced.
A district spokesperson said there is no specific timeline for when a new principal will be hired. Parents and community members who could not make the meeting are being encouraged to send input to Franklin at [email protected]