Last Thursday, Aaron Harper resigned as East Ridge High School principal, following an investigation conducted after School District 833 received a complaint against him. No details about the complaint and the resignation were revealed.
Read the article from Woodbury Bulletin: East Ridge’s Harper out as principal after complaint investigated
I was surprised by the news like most people in the community. As far as I know, the teachers at ERHS knew no more about the circumstance than the public.
I do not know Mr. Harper, except I saw him a few times at ERHS events. I know I should not form an opinion about someone I don’t really know, but I have to say that Mr. Harper didn’t leave me with a good impression due to his own action or inaction. On two occasions, I contacted him via phone and email, he never responded to me. Ignoring once was understandable and acceptable, but ignoring twice created a really bad impression when you are considered a leader in the community. Now I don’t remember the reasons why I contacted him, but no matter how trivia my inquiries were, it’s common courtesy and good manner to respond to people or forward the requests on to others who will respond.
A friend told me that Mr. Harper made a racial comment at a sport event that wasn’t appropriate.
I know Mr. Harper has made great contribution to the community. He led East Ridge since its opening in fall 2009, and he was instrumental in planning for the school beginning in 2007.
Mr. Harper might have done big and great things and done well for the school and for the community, but for someone like me, it’s the little things that break the deal.
I would like a principal who shows more common sense and courtesy, who will respond to my questions either directly or indirectly. As a community leader, the principal should be a good communicator who values the inquiries and feedback from the public. Ignoring people will only cause a bad impression and opinion.
Two years ago, I was equally surprised by the news about then Superintendent Mark Porter’s contract not being renewed by the district. I didn’t know Mr. Porter either, I only saw him at school events. But he left a good impression in me for the simple fact that he responded to my email promptly. As the result, I was on his side and questioned the school board’s unfair decision.
Read the post Performance review and Porter decision.
Here is a lesson for all – little things do matter. That is one of the secrets to becoming an effective leader.
Update from January 6, 2015:
For the update on the case, please visit Woodbury Bulletin: