Beloved principal moved from Mt. Pleasant school, parents demand answers

Parents of students at James B, Edwards Elementary in Mount Pleasant say they're upset about the Charleston County School District's decision to move principal Jake Rambo to a new school. (FILE)

Parents at James B. Edwards elementary school are upset about a reassignment of the school’s principal Jake Rambo.

The news came Friday in an email directly from Rambo to parents.

It reads:

Dear JBE families,
It is with great sadness that I write to inform you the school district has decided to move me to be the principal of a different school next year.
I have really enjoyed my time here as both a teacher and administrator. James B. Edwards will always hold a special place in my heart. This is my school. This is the school I attended as a child. This is the school where I have my own children. This is the school that has blessed me with the opportunity to build great, lasting relationships with you. One of my high school teachers used to always say that life was all about relationships with people. I am fortunate to have formed one with you.
I have so enjoyed getting to know each and every one of you and I thank you for entrusting your children to me each day. They are all truly special.
I will remain at JBE through the rest of the school year.
Thank you,
Mr. Rambo

Since then, parents like Abbey Robertson are trying to get answers from the Charleston County School District.

"Mr. Rambo is such a wonderful principal,” she said. “He knows every single child by name. Who belongs to who for siblings. Which parents belong to that set of siblings."

"He's a very good man, and he should be at that school,” said her daughter Annabelle.

Rambo isn’t the only principal to receive a recent reassignment.

Parents at West Ashley High were also notified last week that Principal Lee Runyon will be at a different school next year.

Robertson said she’s heard similar stories at other schools. ABC News 4 asked CCSD about the changes and how many schools were affected. We weren’t given an exact number. Instead, we were told the following statement would answer our questions:

Currently, Charleston County School District is in the process of renewing teacher and administrator contracts. CCSD has more than 100 school administrators, including principals and assistant principals. Under South Carolina law, these administrators are all entitled to at least a teacher contract. S.C. Code Ann. §59-25-410. On April 24, 2017, the CCSD Board of Trustees unanimously approved the recommendations of the superintendent for renewal of current school administrator contracts and appointment of new school administrator contracts. As of this date, all CCSD principals, who are not retiring or resigning, have received a new principal contract. In some of the contracts, the school assignment is listed as “pending” because some staffing decisions have not yet been finalized. Further details of these decisions cannot be shared as they are related to personnel.

Robertson isn’t satisfied.

"There's way more questions than we have answers to, and there's just been a lot of dead ends of trying to get some answers,” she said. “One plus one is not adding up. All of the moms came together, and we wanted to send our message loud and clear to the city and spread word that Jake is staying."

Rodney Lewis, the chair of Constituent District 10, said he wants answers as well. He also said that this type of movement among principals is highly concerning and not conducive to fostering excellence in the area’s schools.

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