Brenda Dennis

The Houston school board elected not to renew the contract of first-year high school principal Brenda Dennis during a closed session of Monday’s meeting.

According to the minutes, a motion was made by board member Doug Castleman to renew Dennis’ contract for the 2012-’13 school year. The motion did not receive a second, thus dying without a vote.

“I wasn’t looking to end my tenure with Houston Schools and was surprised by the announcement,” Dennis said Wednesday afternoon. “However, I respect the board’s decision to go in another direction with the high school administrative position. I realize change is hard for many people — too hard for some.”

Five of the seven board members were present for the meeting. Jo Holland and Steve Pounds were absent.

Dennis came to Houston from Memphis, Tenn., where she was the administrative assistant and counselor at Colonial Middle School. She graduated from Lebanon High School in 1993.

Dennis was selected from among 19 applicants when she was hired in January 2011. She will remain with the district through the remainder of this school year.

“I want to thank (former superintendent) Dr. Dan Vandiver and the board for this opportunity,” Dennis said. “I will immediately begin pursing other options in my administrative career. I will continue to implement an attitude, vision and educational focus of ‘whatever it takes’ for student success.”

Scott Dill, acting superintendent, said a “teacher committee with an administrative element” would be formed to oversee the hiring process. He said the district plans to fill both the vacant middle and high school principal position no later than April.

During the same closed session, the board extended the contracts of Amy Dill, elementary principal, and Lillian Collins, director of the Exceptional Child Cooperative, through the 2013-’14 school year. Both votes were 5-0.

Also in closed session, board members:

–Accepted the resignation Brian Wilbanks, first-year assistant high school principal. Scott Dill said Wilbanks has been hired as the high school principal at Norwood.

“We’re very proud of him,” Dill said. “It’s a good step for him. They are lucky to have him. He has been a tremendous asset to the district, and we wish him the best of luck.”

–Approved the resignations of Diane Moore (high school mathematics), Mildred White (Spanish and French) and Ron Ice (maintenance).

–Hired Kenneth “K.J.” Gaston (custodian) and Linda Diane Robinson (cafeteria) for the remainder of the school year.

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