Akins High School's New Boss Departing Current School Amid Tension

Teachers at El Paso high school have filed grievances against Daniel Girard, Akins High School's incoming principal

El Paso principal Daniel Girard will take the reins of Akins High School next school year, but before he does, he has a few loose ends to tie up at his current school.

According to the El Paso Times, 12 teachers at Bel Air High School filed grievances against Girard, claiming he made them work through lunch breaks and harassed them when they tried to complain. The grievances are a stain on Girard's otherwise exemplary record. His double-digit successes in raising Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills math and science scores no doubt made him an attractive candidate for Austin Independent School District, but the grievances raise questions about his skills in the arena of employee relations, and AISD needs another Ron Gonzales like Dick Cheney needs another heart attack.

The Ysleta school board decided last month that there was enough merit to the claims to warrant a hearing shortly before Girard announced he was taking the position at Akins. Though the timing might seem suspicious, Girard insists it's purely coincidental. "It's just a great opportunity to move to Austin. … It's just a great place to live," he said, but declined to comment on the grievances. "It's still running its course, but I feel it will be resolved amicably."

Before Girard packs up the U-Haul and makes for Austin, he'll have to go before the Ysleta board at its June 14 meeting. Teri Sanchez, president of the Ysleta Teachers Association, said the teachers who filed the complaints never intended for Girard to leave. "The removal of the principal was not our purpose. That's not what we were looking for," she told the Times.

AISD officials said they only recently heard of the grievances when the Times story broke but declined to comment, saying it could be a pending personnel matter. "We have high expectations for Mr. Girard, and we anxiously await his arrival," said Andy Welch, a spokesman for the district.

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Daniel Girard, Akins High School, Bel Air High School, Teri Sanchez, Andy Welch

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