Approximately three years ago I became a supporter and admirer of Perry Central Principal Neal Feltner (then A.B. Combs principal) after a presentation regarding his efforts at A.B. Combs Elementary. The bell-to-bell classroom-instruction concept resonated with me.
As we are aware, Mr. Feltner accepted a rather daunting mission when, to his great credit, he accepted the challenge of leading Perry Central High School out of the state-mandated takeover. We have, of course, seen significant improvement in student academic performance and general administration, since the advent of Mr. Feltner and the state management team. We will have a near $1million investment in compensation for the expertise, guidance, and leadership of that state management team upon their departure next year. The obvious gain from an investment of that magnitude must come from on-the-job transfer of information, ideas, and teaching practices, to Perry Central personnel, chief of whom is my friend Neal Feltner.
Reluctantly spoken, we suffer a scarcity of heroes willing to stay the course after having accepted the mantle. Mr. Feltner has filed his candidacy for our 84th district state representative office, announcing his intention to act as both Perry Central principal and state representative. I would suggest to Mr. Feltner that even though there is no law prohibiting him from attempting that, there are greater considerations. I would hope that even he would consider himself of greater importance to the resurrection of academia and general management at Perry Central than to entertain the notion of redirecting his attention and efforts to a hard-fought campaign between now and the May primary.
As we are also painfully aware, that would only be the beginning. He indicates that the session only lasts 45 days. In terms of lost time and attention, that in itself would be unacceptable, not to include the demands of campaigning and attending to the many off-line duties should he gain the office. In the position he is in, Mr. Feltner is a resource and I think a rather good one. Community members encouraging him to seek state political office at the expense of his career, may or may not have their own agenda and a use for Mr. Feltner’s abilities, but they are clearly ignoring the stability of his future, the needs of our students and the rather dire status of Perry Central High School.
To credit Barack Obama with concise phraseology, it is a “ bone-headed idea” that has no sane place on the agenda of either my friend Mr. Feltner or Perry Central High School. It is an obvious demonstration of starting a fresh hole before having dug ourselves out of the preceding one, and should have been addressed by elements of Perry Schools’ administration who have an influential voice.
All spoken in sincere appreciation of Neal Feltner’s efforts to better educate our children, and in genuine concern that another emerging, hopefully successful educational leader allow himself to be misguided and derailed.
Eddie N. Campbell
Lost Creek, Ky.