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Henderson principal suspended with pay

By Sarah Campbell
scampbell@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — The principal of Henderson Independent High School has been suspended with pay.
The Rowan-Salisbury School System said Trisha Baptist was suspended July 5 but has released no other details.
“Upon our attorney’s advisement, there is no further information to provide,” Rita Foil, public information officer for the district, said.
Baptist, who served as an assistant principal at South Charlotte Middle School before landing the position with Rowan-Salisbury, replaced Ken Sherrill at Henderson’s top spot last August.
Henderson won a nearly $2.2 million federal grant last year to improve student achievement and increase the graduation rate. Among the requirements for accepting the grant money was replacing the principal and at least half the teaching staff.
The school received the grant based on a formula that identified it in the bottom 5 percent of the state’s consistently lowest-achieving schools, according to state testing and a graduate rate of less than 60 percent.
But Baptist told the Post in April the school was in the process of turning around.
After taking over, she worked with staff to create personalized education plans for each student.
A portion of the grant money was used to hire new teachers for family and consumer science, math and physical education classes.
The funds also enabled the school to become wireless and equip each student and teacher with a MacBook.
A new science lab is under construction and plans were in the works for a media center to be added to the building.
Baptist has attributed a dip in discipline problems to increased student engagement through technology.
There were 149 incidents of disciplinary action from August through December of 2009 and 86 for the same period in 2010, a nearly 42 percent drop.
Baptist referred comment about her suspension to Julius Chambers, a Charlotte-based attorney.
Chambers said the school system is still investigating the reason behind Baptist’s suspension, which he did not disclose.
“We are not taking any legal action at this point,” he said.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.

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