Community concerned after Addison Middle School sees high turnover with principals

Local News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR News) – Addison Middle School in Roanoke has had five different principals in the past 18 months. They’ve left for a variety of reasons, but it’s has parents and staff of the school feeling unsettled.

On Monday, concerned community leaders held a news conference ahead of their Parent, Teach, Student association meeting to talk about the issue.

Some concerned community members are calling this a crisis and says there is a need for stability for the students… but they say it’s going to taking the community coming together to make a difference.

Kevin McNeil/President of Lucy Addison PTSA, been a member for 2 years

The current president of the PTSA Kevin McNeil has 2 sons who go to the school and is a local pastor where several members of his church have students here.

He says he’s seen first hand how challenging it’s been for students and teachers to have so much turnover. He says it’s difficult to get their footing and rhythm because leadership is constantly changing.

McNeil says they need to have hope and work together towards making solutions for the community to step in and give help where they can.

“We’re going to talk, how do we move forward in a way that’s hopeful and helpful for our children. How do we turn the narrative around? How do we look and communicate to these children that we’re on their side,” said McNeil.

The acting principal is also here tonight and plans to contribute to the discussion.

The school’s most recent principal that the school had for only about four weeks, had to leave because of a family crisis.

Representatives from the school’s administration say they too share the community’s concerns about the turnover. Read the full letter sent to parents below.

Dear Parents/Guardians, Staff, and most importantly our Students:

It is with a heavy heart that I tell you that Anna Unversaw, principal of Lucy Addison Middle, has a family crisis that demands her immediate return to South Carolina. Ms. Unversaw is one of the most talented administrators I have had the pleasure of knowing. The most difficult part of her departure is her fondness for the Addison students and staff.

The turnover in leadership at Lucy Addison is distressing. This has been difficult for everyone. For that reason, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Jonathan Rosser as Acting Principal. Mr. Rosser has been with Roanoke City Schools for almost twenty years and has served as Assistant Principal at both Hurt Park Elementary and Lucy Addison Middle. He is well known and respected in the community. Mr. Tim Hahn, Executive Director for Student Services, will continue to support staff and students.

Because of a devoted staff, dedicated students, and supportive community, Lucy Addison Middle School is fully accredited. I am committed to the continued success of Lucy Addison Middle. Please join me in sharing these achievements. If you have any questions or concerns, please call me at (540) 853-2381.

Rita D. Bishop, Ed.D. Superintendent


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