The Monroe County school superintendent announced last night plans to create a diversity committee so the district can attract people of various races to teach in Monroe County. This decision came after dozens of community members spoke out against the hire of a white male for a principal position in the district over an African-American candidate.
The public comment portion of the Monroe County Community School Corporation’s weekly meeting mainly consisted of feedback on the hire of Craig Fisher as Tri-North Middle School’s principal. Fisher previously worked as an assistant principal at Tri-North.
Many of the community members who commented on Fisher’s hire were disappointed that Diane Hanks, another assistant principal at Tri-North, did not get the position.
Former Monroe County judge Viola Taliaferro, was one of the speakers at the meeting. She criticized district leaders for passing up an opportunity to hire a highly qualified educator and add diversity to the school system. Taliaferro says she hopes the discussion about creating a diversity committee will actually effect change.
“If you’re going to do it you have to do it right,” Taliaferro said. “And that means you’ve got to be committed to and do what it takes to bring about diversity. You can’t get it accomplished by talking about it.”
School board member Sue Wanzer has been on the board for 13 years and says DeMuth is the first superintendent who has made a commitment to increasing diversity.
“We’re going to hold the superintendent’s feet to the fire and we’re going to make sure this is happening,” she says.
According to 2010-2011 data, 3 percent of teachers in Monroe County are a race other than white, compared to the 20 percent of students.
Click the graphs for additional information from the Indiana Department of Education.
Neither Fisher nor Hanks returned our phone calls to answer questions regarding the hiring process.