Decatur City Schools Superintendent Michael Douglas remained silent about why he placed Julian Harris Elementary Principal Derrick Aikerson on paid administrative leave.
“I can’t say anything further,” he said before Tuesday’s meeting when a unanimous school board approved his recommendation to appoint Phil Hastings as interim principal at the K-5 elementary school that serves about 370 students.
Aikerson, who was hired in 2014 as an assistant principal at the former Brookhaven Middle, is banned from entering any DCS property or attending any DCS events without permission from Douglas, according to a letter placing him on leave.
“In the event that you wish to communicate with me, please do so in writing,” Douglas wrote in the Aug. 8 letter to Aikerson. “When appropriate, I will respond accordingly.”
Because Aikerson is still receiving salary and benefits, he has to be available during “normal working hours in the event you are needed by my office,” the superintendent wrote.
Aikerson, who came from Birmingham to Decatur as an assistant principal at Brookhaven Middle, did not return calls seeking comment. He is in the final year of a three-year contract that pays him $91,936 annually.
If Douglas decides to take action to terminate Aikerson, the Student First Act requires the superintendent to give Aikerson a 30-day notice. State law permits the school district to keep Aikerson on paid leave for up to 30 days.
Aikerson, who has a master’s degree and specialist degree in educational leadership and administration from the University of Alabama in Birmingham, was part of the administrative team that helped get Brookhaven off the state’s failing schools list.
In 2015, the board appointed him as principal at Julian Harris to replace William Kimbrell, who retired.
Hastings, who worked 38 years in Decatur City Schools before retiring in 2010, also served as interim principal at Brookhaven and Austinville Elementary.
He started as interim principal on Monday and will make $31,000 this school year, according to chief financial officer Melanie Maples.
“Things are going good,” Hastings said. “Julian Harris has a strong faculty.”
In other business, the board approved the following certified personnel matters
• Decatur High: Philomena Compton, media specialist.
• Austin High: Chriscina Crutch Manimoi, science teacher;
• Careers Academies of Decatur: Devon Bane - CT- Engineering/Greenpower.
• Decatur High: Jennifer Nelson, secondary social science teacher.
• Special Services: Heather Smith, secondary gifted education teacher.
CHANGE OF CONTRACT
• Austin Junior High: Rachel Beth Pendergrass, from Schedule A1, Rank BS, Step 0 to Schedule A1, Rank BS, Step 2 effective 07/31/19; Melissa G. Jarvis, from Schedule A1, Rank MA, Step 0 to Schedule A2, Rank MA, Step 9 effective 07/31/19.
• Austinville: Emily Ann Williams, from Schedule A2, Rank BS, Step 11 to Schedule A2, Rank MA, Step 11 effective 07/11/19.
• Decatur High: Jonathon S. Barron, from schedule Schedule E2, Rank ID, Step 3 to Schedule E2, Rank ID, Step 5 effective 07/31/19.
• Decatur Middle School: Trista Lynn Rogers, from Schedule A1, Rank MA, Step 2 to Schedule A2, Rank MA, Step 5 effective 07/31/19; Darren Lee James, from Schedule A1, Rank MA, Step 4 to Schedule A2, Rank MA, Step 7 effective 07/31/19; Courtney Lee Blanchette, from Schedule A1, Rank BS, Step 0 to Schedule A1, Rank MA, Step 0 effective 07/31/19.
• Special Services: Kimberly G. Hagood, from Schedule A1, Rank MA, Step 0 to Schedule A1, Rank MA, Step 4 effective 07/31/19.
• Walter Jackson: Mollie Catherine Flanagan, from Schedule A1, Rank BS, Step 0 to Schedule A1, Rank BS, Step 3 effective 07/31/19; Alexis Marie Rice, from Schedule A1, Rank BS, Step 0 to Schedule A1, Rank MA, Step 0 effective 07/31/19.
• West Decatur: Sarah Wesseling Piper, from Schedule A1, Rank BS, Step 0 to Schedule A1, Rank BS, Step 3 effective 07/31/19; Dana Strickland-Creech Jetton, from Schedule A2, Rank MA, Step 11 to Schedule A2, Rank MA, Step 12 effective 07/31/19.
SHORT TERM CONTRACTS
• Alabama Baptist Children’s Home: Emily Leigh Millwood, after-school tutor - 08/14/19-09/30/20.
• Oak Park Elementary: Shelley Sedlak; Saundra Gates Cobb; Carla D. Snead; June Reid Speake; Marla Martin Hardin; Leigh Ann Lovelace Chiles; and Morgan Vickery Coulter, intervention teachers.