BAUMHOLDER, Germany — Teachers, staff and base officials are breathing a sigh of relief after hearing that controversial former DODDS principal Brenda Granger will not be the new Baumholder High School principal.

“I’ve been getting phone calls and the general feeling is, ‘Oh, yeah. I’m so happy she’s not coming,’” said a Baumholder base official who asked not to be identified by name because of possible retaliation.

“That’s from parents and teachers,” the official said.

In January, Department of Defense Dependents Schools officials told Baumholder faculty that Granger would replace Dom Calabria, who was transferring to Bamberg High School under DODDS’ five-year rotation policy.

Granger was a controversial choice for H.D. Smith Barracks, where many parents will deploy to Iraq this fall with the Baumholder-based 2nd Brigade of the 1st Armored Division. A former principal at Heidelberg High School, Granger was reassigned in November 2004 because of what DODDS officials described as “discord between the administration and faculty,” including allegations of a shoving incident with a faculty member.

Earlier, DODDS spokesman Frank O’Gara would not say why Granger was being moved to Baumholder, explaining that personnel assignments were strictly the prerogative of DODDS officials.

But when the overseas military school system released its 2005/2006 principal assignment list Tuesday, Granger wasn’t on it. Instead, Danny Robinson, formerly assistant principal at Kaiserslautern High School, will replace Calabria.

Incoming Kaiserslautern district superintendent Lawanna Mangleberg “assessed the situation, took a look at vacancies,” then recommended that Robinson fill the Baumholder principal’s slot, said David Ruderman, deputy public affairs officer at DODDS headquarters in Wiesbaden.

Robinson is one of about 10 assistant principals moving into principals’ slots under DODDS’ Educator Career Program, under which people can indicate they are interested in working at particular schools, Ruderman said.

Mangleberg also noted that Robinson was briefly assistant principal at Baumholder in 2004, filling in for Jim Funk, who substituted for an ailing principal at Bitburg High School.

Granger will become a “generalist” in a new DODDS district position, instructional systems specialist, at the Heidelberg district office.

“We’re gratified she can continue to contribute to the educational effort in that position,” Ruderman said.

Parents and School Advisory Council members let out a sigh of relief when they heard the news.

“A big ‘ahhhh,’” said Renee Thomas, president of Baumholder’s School Advisory Council.

Robinson is “dynamic” and familiar with the school and some students, said Thomas, whose son, James Dickerson, will be a junior this coming school year.

“He established a rapport with the kids,” said Liz Bailey, Baumholder High secretary. “He’s a good listener. He gives the impression of being compassionate but stern.”

In June, parents, teachers and community leaders told Stars and Stripes they were concerned about Granger, citing her reassignment, as well as a lack of information from DODDS officials.

All the teachers and many parents signed a petition asking DODDS to keep Calabria, whom many praised for his leadership through the 1st AD’s first Iraq deployment from May 2003 through July 2004.

“As a mother, I’m concerned more [information] isn’t getting out to the … parents,” said Lisa Money at the time. She and other parents said they were keeping open minds about Granger, but had little or no information about her.

“People are entitled to a second chance,” Money said, but added that she would like to know more about the circumstances of Granger’s reassignment.

“The big problem was uncertainty,” Bailey said on Tuesday. “We wanted to be sure she was coming, and if not her, who?”

New principals

A look at the new principals around the Department of Defense Dependents Schools in Europe:

John Allan, Lajes Elementary School, AzoresVirginia Briggs, Lajes High School, AzoresDebbie Brooks, Sportfield Elementary School, Hanau, GermanyDominick Calabria, Bamberg High School, GermanyDouglas Carlson, Giessen Middle/High School, GermanySandra Daniels, Gaeta Elementary School, ItalyAllen Davenport, Heidelberg High School, GermanyLesley Dunkle, Lakenheath Middle School, EnglandTerry Emerson, Geilenkirchen Elementary School, GermanyTim Erickson, Incirlik Elementary School, TurkeyDebbie Folmer, Sigonella High School, SicilyCarolyn Forbis, AFNORTH High School, Brunssum, NetherlandsEric Gentry; Kitzingen Elementary School, GermanyHelen Hughes-Balilo, Wetzel Elementary School, Baumholder, GermanyBarbara Laffoley, Volkel/Kleine Brogel Elementary School, Netherlands/BelgiumTom Larue, Feltwell Elementary School, EnglandSusan Page, Patch High School, Stuttgart, GermanyDanny Robinson, Baumholder High SchoolMary Simmons, Rota Elementary School, SpainNadine Sapiente, Sigonella Elementary SchoolSusan Ussery, Bitburg Middle School, GermanyThree positions, at Robinson Barracks Elementary School in Stuttgart and at Ramstein High School and Elementary School in Germany, remain unfilled.

Source: DODDS

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