By Isabelle Ravanas, Editor-in-Chief
This morning, Thursday May 5, at 7, the Payton Local School Council (LSC) met to finalize principal selection. In a narrow vote–LSC principal selections require at least 7 votes–of 7 to 4 Dr. Shabazz-Anderson, Payton’s current Interim Principal, was elected to remain at Payton on a 4-year contract. All LSC teacher representatives abstained from voting In the open-session vote, and representatives Ms. McGruder and Dr. Young also abstained.
At around 7:50, community members were invited into the meeting for 10 minutes of questions and comments. Several individuals, including students and faculty, stated their disappointment with the vote. Students Sareena Shah ’23, Alyssa Shih ‘22, and Nabiha Charolia ‘24 stated that they were disheartened by the vote being so early–a time when the majority of students and faculty are commuting–speculating that this blocked a large part of the community from attending. The meeting time’s last-minute switch was also brought up.
Ms. Barge, a teacher at Payton since the founding of the school, spoke about the disconnect in teacher opinion and the vote. The vocal opposition to Dr. Shabazz-Anderson’s administration from the faculty, she said, was not listened to. French teacher Ms. Imrem agreed pointing out the abstentions. “Why would two people who are so respectable and respected abstain from a vote like this?”, she asked in reference to the two teacher abstentions (see below). According to an anonymous source, several teachers have already stated that they would leave their position following a vote in favor of Dr. Shabazz-Anderson.
In the last community comment, Ms. Nantwi, Payton’s business manager, showed support for the vote. Citing her 13 years at Payton, Ms. Nantwi called out the school for being performative: “we always say equity, but we’re never equitable”, she said. Citing the continuous race-backed aggression towards Dr. Shabazz-Anderson and her administration, Ms. Nantwi pointed out that Dr. Shabazz-Anderson was “never been given a fair shot” . Ms. Nantwi finished her comments by repeating her disappointment in the racism she sees in the school community.
In a statement to the Paw Print, student LSC representative Rem Johannknecht, said “The LSC’s decision comes today after an extensive and challenging process. I am concerned by the division that exists in our community and on the LSC. It is up to all of us to offer Principal Shabazz-Anderson our fullest support and implement accountability measures to continue Payton’s tradition of academic excellence and tackle the profound challenges that lie ahead.”
Wanda Baez (Non-Teacher Staff Representative): Yes
Erica Bauer (Community Representative): Yes
Tiffany Childress-Price (Teacher): Abstain
Laura Hansen (Parent): Yes
Michelle McGruder (Parent): Abstain
Kamaljeet Murthy (Parent, LSC Chair): Yes
Devan Picard (Teacher): Abstain
Ursula Pridgen Ricketts (Parent): Yes
David Schaffer (Parent): Yes
Daniel Sullivan (Parent): Yes
Mary Young (Community): Abstain