Long-term stay key for next T.C. principal

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The T.C. Williams High School community is eager for a new leader who will become a long-term fixture on campus, according to survey results from Hazard, Young, Attea&Associates, the search firm hired several weeks ago to find a replacement for current principal William Clendaniel, who will retire at the end of the school year.

Two consultants from the firm briefed members of the Alexandria School Board at its meeting last Thursday on what they’ve found that T.C. teachers, parents, students and other stakeholders want to see in a new principal.

“Across all groups the most consistent responses to this question focused on ‘leadership strength,’ … and the willingness of a new principal to make a long-term commitment” to the school, their report stated. “The next leader of T. C. Williams should be someone who is willing to make a three- to five-year commitment to the school (at a minimum) and not someone too close to retirement.”

Clendaniel, hired in 2008 as a temporary replacement for former principal Mel Riddle, is in his second year at the school. School officials have said they hope to announce his successor later next month and their search firm said the three-year-old main campus is prime for success with the right leader.

“There’s no doubt that the bricks and mortar and even the electrons are in place for this school to succeed very well,” said Brad Draeger of HYA in his report to Board members.

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