Controversial principal stirs Mendez Middle School community
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Problems at an East Austin Middle School are raising questions about the school's leadership. Nearly 40 teachers walked out on their jobs at Consuelo Mendez Middle School in 2011.
Mendez principal Ron Gonzales doesn’t have the best reputation around Central Texas school districts. Now, it’s affecting other personnel.
"It's tough for East Austin schools to be stable," Education Advocate Vincent Tovar said. "East Austin schools need strong leadership, and leadership that will respect and listen to their staff and their community."
Teachers and parents don't see that environment at Mendez Middle School. Tovar is a community spokesperson when it comes to East Austin education. He says staff morale under Principal Ron Gonzales has led teachers to leave.
"It's the principal, people have real concerns with the principal here," Tovar said. "The climate has dropped, people have left, and once again, we have an unsupportive and inconsistent leadership team at an East Austin school."
To view the results of a teacher satisfaction survey conducted at Mendez Middle School last year, click here.
Last year 29 Mendez Middle School teachers resigned and nine other teachers transferred to other schools in the district.
During the 2006-2007 school year, Gonzales was principal of Kealing Middle School. While students' TAKS scores improved that year, a "Dump-Gonzales" campaign caused him to resign.
"Parents drove him out," Tovar said.
Gonzales then went to Westview Middle School, in Pflugerville. Pflugerville ISD officials say he left in 2009 to “pursue other opportunities.”
Then, in 2010 Gonzales became principal of Mendez Middle School.
District officials say they can't comment on why they re-hired Gonzales. YNN reached out to Gonzales, but AISD said they speak on his behalf.
"We are aware of recent concerns at Mendez Middle school," Austin Independent School District spokesperson Erin Moore said. "We're hoping the plan we put in place to focus on retention, team effort will certainly be something that has a successful end as we look back at it at the end of this school year."
Parts of the plan will assess the school's leadership and hiring process.
"At this point, the district is starting to understand that they need to change, business as usual," Tovar said.
Tovar says all he wants for himself and his fellow East Austinites is a seat at the table to discuss their concerns.
The district will assess the results of their plan at the end of the school year. Then they'll be able to decide if there's a personnel issue at Mendez Middle School.