Hopi School Board: no contracts for high school principal and vice principal

POLACCA, Ariz. - The Hopi Jr./Sr. High School Governing Board pointed toward change for next school year by not offering contracts to four administrators: Hopi High Principal Charles Gover, Hopi High Vice Principal Harvey Honyouti, Hopi Junior High Principal Fernando Madrid and Hopi Jr/Sr High Special Education Director Kymberle Dashee.

The governing board took the action after meeting in executive session for more than two hours with recently hired Superintendent James Cruice.

Board President Edgar Shupla called on his fellow members to make a motion for renewal of contracts for each of the four, but nobody on the board would make a motion to offer any of them contracts. There was no discussion during this period - just Shupla's call for a motion that none of the board members would make.

During the past several months during board meetings, the administration has been criticized by staff for not meeting the needs of special education students and other issue.

Most administrators or program managers were offered contracts for next year including Business Manager Patrick Secakuku, Athletic Director Ricky Greer, Transportation Director Lyle Laban, Food Service Director Jason Humeyestewa Technology Director Ken Wartz and Director of Federal Programs Alban Naha.

Immediately after the action on the administrators, the governing board talked math teacher Laverne Lomakema into rescinding her resignation. Her resignation was on the agenda, but Board member Romalita Laban expressed her gratitude for what Lomakema has done for the kids.

"It meant a lot to me as a community member," Laban said.

Shupla said the school board was unanimous in feeling Lomakema had done a lot for the students.

"It's hard to replace certain individuals," he said.

Board member Ivan Sidney said Lomakema is dedicated and he's at a loss for words at how he could show his appreciation for her.

Board member Steve Bahnimptewa said he didn't want her resignation to happen.

Vice President Valerie Kooyaquaptewa said the board during a previous meeting talked another teacher out of resigning and hoped to do the same with her.

Lomakema responded that their words meant a lot to her, but she was never offered a contract. She said the school board's words and the administration's words did not jive. She said when she submitted her resignation letter to Principal Gover, he didn't ask any questions.

"I know where the board stands, but I don't know where the superintendent stands," Lomakema said.

Cruice, who recently took the post, said he believes in chain of command and since there was no grievance filed that he had no reason to look at the situation.

Shupla and Laban told Lomakema that the school board had approved her contract for next school year.

Lomakema thanked the school for investing in her and agreed to finish out the school year because she owes that to the kids. She did not comment on whether or not she would be returning next school year.

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