NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The search for a new Nacogdoches High School principal has started all over again.
The person the district presumed on Thursday they would be hiring suddenly changed his mind and declined the offer. The negotiations went down in an unusual fashion.
Paul Luna has resigned as assistant Nacogdoches High School principal. Just last week, the popular leader was on his way to being the next Nacogdoches High School principal at an annual salary of $100,000.
Administrators selected one of their own out of 13 applicants. A two-year contract was the staff recommendation to the board, according to Assistant Superintendent Sandra Dowdy. The board knocked it down on Thursday leaving human resources director Michael Martin back to square one.
"The board approved a one year contract for Mr. Luna to be interim principal at Nacogdoches High School," Martin said.
By Friday, the negotiations with administrators began to take a nose dive.
"Well, actually he did say yes at first, and then he gave us a call back within 10 minutes, and he said give me until Monday to make a decision," Martin said.
That's how it was left Friday, but a news release sent out the same day gave a different impression. The headline clearly read, Luna had been offered the interim principal role, but the body held quotes by Dr. Fred Hayes, the Nacogdoches ISD superintendent, indicating Luna was the presumptive principal.
"I did not know that," said Martin and Sandra Dowdy, NISD's assistant superintendents. "No, didn't know that. No, we didn't know that."
By Saturday, there was a new development. Luna sent an e-mail out to his Dragon Family.
"While I was Board approved at the Special Board Meeting, I was not aware of the new terms of the contract until after the Board Meeting Thursday night," Luna wrote. "I wanted to be at Nacogdoches ISD. My family wanted to be part of this community, but the district went a different direction after we reached an agreement regarding the details of my contract earlier last week."
"His statement was he did not accept the one year term contract," Dowdy said.
"Usually it is a two-year term contract we would offer a high school principal," Martin said.
When asked why Luna wasn't given the same option, Dowdy replied, 'It's just what the board chose to do at this time."
Pam Fitch, the newest board member, said it was her impression a one-year contract was the recommendation.
"I think it's the board's responsibility to take a critical eye in any contract that is brought to us,' Fitch said. "It is vitally important to us that we have the right leadership, in the right places, in the right positions."
Here it is mid-June in front of the Nacogdoches High School, and there is no principal nor assistant principal for a school year that begins in August. That definitely puts the search committee and administration in high gear."
"We are going to find a great principal for our high school," Dowdy said.
We should say we reached out to Jon Paul Luna in several different ways throughout the day, but never heard back.
His former bosses said he was offered an assistant principal job at Chapel Hill.
Nacogdoches ISD wants to hire a permanent or interim principal by July.