Two principals in the Higley Unified School District resigned this month — the latest in a wave of administrative turnover in the small but rapidly growing south East Valley district.
Burnie Hibbard, principal at Higley High School, did not comment on his exit, saying he resigned on good terms effective at the end of the school year. Hibbard opened the district’s only high school five years ago.
Joe Walters resigned from San Tan Elementary School effective at the end of the school year to become principal for the nearby Weinberg Elementary School in the Chandler Unified School District. He took over almost two years ago for former principal Dave LaRose.
Hibbard and Walters resigned March 9.
Superintendent Joyce Lutrey said the changes at the district’s five schools could be because of personnel having a desire to move up in the education field or to move to a district with a different philosophy.
"Our district is so young and growing so quickly," Lutrey said. "So all of the administrative team is quite new as are many of the teachers. But they’re not necessarily inexperienced."
Cheryl Bromich became principal at Power Ranch Elementary School this year after former principal Mike Fullmer left to work in the Gilbert Unified School District.
Higley Elementary and Middle School changed leaders about two years ago when principal Anne Templeton took over.
Governing board member Kim Anderson said former Coronado Elementary School principal Jeff Renfrow, who was promoted to a district position earlier this school year, may move to Venezuela. Rosemary James is acting as Coronado’s interim principal.
Anderson said the changes in principals are not as drastic as they appear.
"They were all effective at doing their jobs," Anderson said. "This is a normal thing."
Change will become routine for Higley residents, many of whom in the next decade will face boundary changes as the area becomes more developed and schools are built.