Posted: 6:34 pm Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Principals on the move as new school year gets under way 

By Allison Ross

It appears the back-to-school principal shuffle isn’t over yet.

Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary Principal Jim Peggconfirmed today that he will be leaving his school in suburban Palm Beach Gardens to become the Palm Beach County School District’s next charter schools director.

Jim Pegg is slated to become the district's next charter schools director, pending board approval.

Former charter schools director Faith-Ann Cheek left the job to move to Dallas with her family.

The charter schools department is taking on an ever-increasing role as the number of charter schools in the county grows exponentially, and as the number of applications to open even more continue to roll in.

“I believe in choice,” Pegg said by phone today. “Charter schools are public schools. I want to make sure charter schools are offering the best opportunities for all kids … and make sure we help them meet compliance.”

Pegg said his position at Eisenhower Elementary will be filled by Jo Anne Rogers, who is currently principal of Roosevelt Middle School in West Palm Beach.

In turn, the spot at Roosevelt Middle will be filled by Jeff Pollard, the principal of Riviera Beach Preparatory and Achievement Academy.

Pollard said his staff found out today that he will be leaving.

“It’s always sad when you have a good relationship with your staff,” Pollard said. But he added, “Whoever they receive as new principal, they’ll continue to do the good work they’ve been doing.”

Pollard said a new principal has already been chosen to take his job but declined to say who it was, saying only that it was an existing principal.

Pollard said he was tapped to move to the West Palm Beach middle school in part because of its new choice program: the Roosevelt Leadership Academy for Young Men.

The single-gender choice program had at one point been planned to be helmed by Pollard and to technically be part of Riviera Beach Prep but be hosted at the old Roosevelt High School. But because of concerns about the cost of upgrading the old high school, the district decided in the end to have the choice academy at Roosevelt Middle School.

“We’ve been working on that Leadership Academy for Young Men,” Pollard said. “It was decided all around it would be in the best interest of the kids if I was over that site, not only to work that program but also to work with the other challenges we face with that middle school environment.”

He added, “It’s exciting to continue to serve the public. We always want to put the students first. I’m excited to assume the leadership at Roosevelt Middle.”

Reached Tuesday evening, school district spokesman Jason Shockley was not immediately able to say who will be taking the principal position at Riviera Beach Prep or say why these changes are happening after the school year has begun. Superintendent Wayne Gent has said in the past that, as a former principal himself, he knows the importance of having a principal in place for the start of the school year.

Of course, all these moves are still pending approval by the Palm Beach County School Board. The agendas for its next meetings are not up yet. Its next meeting is Sept. 11.