Irwin Academic Center Parents want change

Published: Apr. 29, 2014 at 7:51 PM EDT|Updated: May. 29, 2014 at 7:51 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - There is some unrest at the popular Irwin Academic Center.  The school's leadership team put together a survey for teachers and the results are alarming.  34 teachers out of 52 responded to the survey.

Teachers responded to several statements including: there is an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect at Irwin. Nearly 80% of the teachers disagreed with that. The survey then asked does school leadership make an effort to address teacher concerns. Nearly 70% said No. Teachers were then asked do they plan to return to the school next year. 28% said no and a little more than 30% are not sure.

"They are talking about not coming back," Irwin Academic Center Parent Colette Forrest said. "And that's scary because we have a dynamic teacher workforce here."

Teachers were then asked would they recommend Irwin to others. Nearly 47% of the teachers said No and more than 37% were not sure.

Forrest believes new principal Jo Shirley is to blame. She is wrapping up her first  year at the school. Forrest claims several teachers have told her about their dealings with the principal.

"They themselves feel like they have been disrespected," Forrest said. "That principal Shirley does not speak to them in a professional manner."

Forrest and other parents want action.

"We're not talking about blame," Forrest said. "We're talking about what CMS should be talking about - what's best for our children and she is not a good fit."

Alan Hendrix is the incoming president of the Irwin's School Leadership Team.  He is troubled a school year is almost gone and he is just finding out about the teachers' pain.

"It's just the fact we were not aware," Hendrix said. "As we should have been - that alarmed me."

Hendrix believes Shirley is a good principal and says since the survey has been released it's up to the principal to make things better for teachers.

"We provided that survey to the leadership of that school," Hendrix said. "And we know we as leadership want to step back and allow them to do their job. I'm confident that they will do what they need to do."

Hendrix also says it's not up to him to decide if Shirley belongs at Irwin.

"That decision is for her superior to make," Hendrix said. "I am going to do everything we can so the students get the best of everything."

WBTV did request an interview with the principal but so far no response.  In the meantime parents want to talk to Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison about this matter.

"We just want to meet with the superintendent ourselves," Forrest said. "And talk to him and allow him to hear us."

WBTV reached out to school district.  Leaders tell us they are aware of the situation and will handle it.  Parents want it handled sooner rather than later.

To see the full survey, click here.

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