Superintendent McDaniel Announces New Leader for John Marshall Middle School
District Names New Leader at John Marshall Middle School
(Oklahoma City, OK) Oklahoma City Public Schools Leadership is aware of concerns and significant challenges related to the safety and culture of John Marshall Middle School, and for the past several days district leaders have been working to create a plan to address these concerns.
“The first two and a half weeks have undoubtedly been difficult for kids and families, as well as for faculty and staff. We, as a district, have fallen well short of providing them with the educational environment they need and deserve. As Superintendent, it is my responsibility to put all of our schools in a position to succeed, and I have not done that adequately. For this, you have my deepest apologies,” said Dr. Sean McDaniel.
As of this afternoon, Mr. Michael Harris, will serve as the Principal of John Marshall Middle School. Mr. Harris comes to JMMS from Douglass High School where he was an Assistant Principal. Mr. Harris brings with him a proven track record of success as an administrator at both the high school and middle school level. “We believe he is the right leader to support the students, staff and families of JMMS,” said Dr. Sean McDaniel, Superintendent of Schools.
Mr. Jonathan Johnson and Ms. Geri Woody will remain at JMMS as Assistant Principals, and Mr. Chris Gardner will join the John Marshall family as an Assistant Principal.
Dr. McDaniel states, “In addition to new leadership, OKCPS has implemented several new operational processes that we believe will lead to a strong school culture and will provide a safe, inviting learning environment for our students.''
The JMMS campus has some unique challenges that stem from the layout of the building itself. To help ensure adequate supervision of students at all times, new school leaders will implement a new process for staff to follow before/after school and during passing periods. OKCPS has also added a district Security Officer and security specialists to the team to provide additional overall supervision and to speed up the scanning process as students arrive, which will allow them more time to eat breakfast before school begins. School leaders have also worked closely to design solutions to some of the challenges our students and families experienced during the dismissal process during the first few days of school which have improved significantly.
McDaniel continues, “However, the biggest hurdle currently being addressed at JMMS is the student master schedule. Typically, school leaders would make small adjustments within existing schedules to address any issue that might arise. However, with the significant challenges experienced at JMMS so far this school year, we believe these issues will be better resolved through a total redesign of student schedules. Among other things, this redesign will provide more balanced class sizes, will better insulate our grade levels, and will allow for one lunch period per grade, which means students will have more time to enjoy lunch with classmates in a much less congested environment. This schedule update will also support collaboration and team building for teachers within each grade level.”
OKCPS has deployed members of our School Climate team last week to assist in evaluating and developing strategies on effective implementation of classroom, hallway and cafeteria expectations. The Executive Director of Equity and Innovation, Dr. Marsha Herron, is working to plan and implement training for site administrators and staff regarding best practices when working with our students.
A number of our community partners have pledged their support with offers to wrap their arms around John Marshall Middle School. Once again, our amazing community is stepping up to lend a hand when we need it most. District leaders and our partners at the Foundation for OKCPS are already working with many of these partners to identify ways they can help.
Dr. McDaniel said in a letter to families, “I believe that the solutions we are putting in place today -- coupled with your ongoing support and patience -- will help us to quickly turn things around here at John Marshall Middle School. These great kids and hardworking staff members who deserve nothing less.”