Posted: 3:01 pm Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013
By Allison Ross
Sharon Hench, principal of H.L. Johnson Elementary in Royal Palm Beach, has been tapped to step in at South Olive Elementary now that Principal Hank Smith is retiring.
Hench, who has led H.L. Johnson for the past 11 years, was asked to move to South Olive Elementary in West Palm Beach, she said. Hench, 57, has been a principal in this and other counties for 27 years.
“It’s very bittersweet,” Hench said by phone today. “This is an amazing staff that I leave behind.”
Hench said she has already informed the H.L. Johnson staff of her move, which — pending approval from the Palm Beach County School Board — will officially be on July 18, she said.
She has also begun reaching out to parents and staff at South Olive.
The high-profile, A-rated South Olive has been embroiled in recent months in controversy after a dispute between Smith and school board member Jenny Prior Brown (whose children attend South Olive) became very public.
It’s expected that her first job will be to try to heal any rifts at the school.
“I’ll do the same thing I’ve done every time I’ve changed schools,” Hench said. “Go in, meet with stakeholders…. listen and just get a feel, and then just get the year started.”
Hench said the district has begun advertising for her replacement, and will conduct interviews on July 15.
The H.L. Johnson opening is one of about a half dozen principal positions that are open right now; summertime tends to be a time for principal shuffling.