Plano High School principal Eric Benson to step down; will be reassigned

Plano High School Principal Eric Benson.
Plano High School Principal Eric Benson.

Plano High School principal Eric Benson has resigned effective with the end of the current school year this spring, Superintendent Dr. Hector Garcia announced at a special board meeting Monday night.

Benson's letter of resignation was accepted by the four board members who were present: board president Tim Campbell, Paul Heller, Mike Jernigan and Estela Martinez.

Garcia said the administration made the recommendation for Benson to step down, but he declined to elaborate. He said Benson will continue to serve as principal and then be reassigned to a new position for the 2017-18 school year. Garcia said Benson's new position has not yet been determined.

Garcia said he does not expect to create an additional position for Benson. He added that he could not say at this time whether Benson would continue to be a member of the administrative staff in his new position. 

In a memo, Garcia read to the board he explained, "...we recognize Mr. Benson's efforts over the last six years. We look forward to the future of Plano High School as Mr. Benson shifts to a new position for the 2017-18 school year. Mr. Benson will continue to support our goals and the work that has been the staple of our progress. The search for a new principal will begin immediately."

In a letter that was to be sent to parents, Garcia said of Benson, "He will continue with his responsibilities through the remainder of the school year. Day-to-day operations, activities, or school priorities will not be interrupted."

He said they planned to post the position on Feb. 8 and said they would advertise statewide for applicants to fill the vacancy. Staff members also will be invited to apply.

"Parents will have an opportunity to share their perspective and desired characteristics for the new principal through a parent focus group and the interview process. We have established the following tentative timeline for the search," Garcia said.

Focus groups will meet Feb. 13-17. Committee interviews will be held with prospective candidates March 13-15, he added.

When asked whether the committee will present its recommendation to him or the board, Garcia said they will have a process in which teachers, parents and administrators share their feedback, and other factors that will be weighed before making a final recommendation.

The interviewing committee is expected to include teachers, administrators and parents. He could not say how many people will be asked to serve but added that he does not expect to limit the size of the group.

Garcia said they expect to present a recommendation for a new principal to the board for approval at the March 20 board meeting. The new principal would start work on July 1.

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