Dear Barton Creek Elementary Parents & Staff,
You should have received a message from Mr. Shippey, announcing that he is leaving Barton Creek Elementary and transitioning to Westlake High School as an assistant principal. While we were unable to communicate with you sooner than today, know that I have had several conversations with Bryan on this change. His move to Westlake is very similar to the path for interim Westlake principal Steve Ramsey, in that he is going where his talents and passions lead him, following a desire for a change and pursuing a new challenge.
As I said, Bryan and I discussed his desire to move to Westlake, and subsequent conversations with Mr. Ramsey indicated that he would be a positive and welcomed addition. With Mr. Shippey's departure, we are faced with a decision on whether to conduct an abbreviated interview process or name an interim for Barton Creek. What very few know, is that recently Mr. Bill Bechtol, Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment (CIA), has also had conversations with me over the last several weeks, indicating that he may want to retire. With the opening at Barton Creek, I approached Bill with an idea - have him serve as interim principal, and also help transition the CIA leadership. He was thrilled with the idea, as it returns him to his elementary school roots and can help the District in several ways.
Mr. Bechtol was a beloved principal at Valley View Elementary for four years before moving to CIA in 2004. Prior to VVE, he spent 16 years in Northside ISD in San Antonio, serving as a principal for 10 years at both Colby Glass Elementary and Northwest Crossing Elementary. He has been a pillar to the CIA department, and to the District for many years.
To clarify, in my communication on Mr. Ramsey's move to the high school, I defined Steve as an interim principal who is also a credible candidate for the permanent position. This is not the case with Bill, as he will only serve as interim for the 2016-17 school year. This will not only put a proven leader at Barton Creek, but will ensure we will have Bill's institutional knowledge close by. Another advantage to assigning Bill to Barton Creek allows him to mentor our newest elementary principals at Bridge Point and Forest Trail. Effective immediately, Mr. Bechtol will immerse himself in all that is Barton Creek, including hiring, planning for the school year, and managing professional development for the campus. Starting in Spring of 2017, we will begin the process to find a permanent principal at BCE. This will include interview committees consisting of parents, staff and students, which has proven to be a successful model for the past few principal vacancies.
Dr. Tom Leonard