Two principal candidates answer student questions in auditorium


Travis Ryan

Jerry Mayes and Nate Bordeaux, the two candidates for the position of Manual’s new principal, finished a question-and-answer debate in the auditorium today.

Mayes is an assistant principal at Pleasure Ridge Park High School and a former Manual teacher. Bordeaux is an assistant principal at Mercer County Senior High. Both candidates responded to students’ questions with roughly 90 seconds per response. Candidates were asked questions concerning the role of a principal, student press rights, diversity, and security.

The Student Senate collected informal ballots immediately after the Q&A. “The vote was split. The gap was not major enough for the students to be like ‘we like this person better,'” said Robyn Blackman, chairperson of the Student Senate. “The consensus we came to is that the students realized the strengths of each of the candidates and the weaknesses, and in the end, that’s why the ballots were balanced out.”

The Site Based Decision Making committee had originally planned to make a decision on Friday evening, but postponed their decision until Monday at 3 PM. meeting. According to an email sent to the faculty by Ms. Rebecca Samson (Piano), “The committee did not make a decision this afternoon because we were unable to contact some of the candidates’ references before we adjourned.”

Although the SBDM committee will select Manual’s new principal, the decision must be sent to the office of Dr. Donna Hargens, JCPS Superintendent, before the decision is considered final. There is the possibility that the committee will decide to choose neither candidate and continue to search and interview new applicants.

“The point was not to have students vote who they want for the principal. It was to have the students meet each candidate and get to hear the thoughts of each candidate. We did not ask them to vote for a candidate. We asked them to comment on the candidate they thought they liked better. What we gave [SBDM] was a list of comments the people gave,” Blackman said.

Students had a variety of reactions to Bordeaux and Mayes.

“[Bordeaux] seems like he has very similar values to most of the people at Manual and it seems he would fit in well with the community,” Brennan Tucker said.

“Mayes seemed like he was talking mostly about ideals, and it worried me that he would be all talk and no walk,” Louise Atherton said. “His past in athletics suggests that he might show favoritism, which is not good for a principal.”

“[Mayes] has experience at Manual and he got the audience involved. It’s good that he really interacted with the students,” Richard Gunasana said. “One thing I would ask is why he left Manual in the first place.”

“I like that Mayes has a lot of experience around Manual, and he has more experience with diversity, and he emphasizes academics,” Thomas Neuteufel said. “I thought that this event was a great idea. I wished they had asked more lighthearted questions so we could get to see their personalities more.”

While there were more candidates for the position of principal, Mayes and Bordeaux were the finalists after a preliminary round of interviews. This is the first time in Kentucky’s history that students have had a part in the principal selection process.

“I was really very proud of our student body because the turnout was pretty good. There’s so many people here, and they really put a lot of thought about what they said about the candidates,” Blackman said.

Be sure to follow @theCSPN on Twitter for the latest on the principal selection process.