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NAFCS board approves Floyd Central interim principal

A school bus picks up students outside of their home.
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New Albany Floyd County Schools officials have approved Al Eckert as interim principal at Floyd Central High School.

New Albany Floyd County Schools officials have named an interim principal to lead Floyd Central High School this year, after Superintendent Travis Madison recently announced a pause in the search for a permanent hire.

The NAFCS board approved Al Eckert to serve in the temporary role at a special meeting Monday, on the eve of classes starting.

Eckert has 20 years of experience in educational leadership and recently retired as principal at Silver Creek High School. The Floyd Central position came open when former principal Rob Willman left this summer to take Eckert’s former job at Silver Creek.

“I'm very humbled and honored to serve the students and staff at Floyd Central High School,” Eckert said at the meeting. “I've always felt New Albany Floyd County kind of set the bar for everybody else. So I'm excited to learn from the people over here.”

Superintendent Travis Madison, who started this summer, announced recently the hiring team was pausing the search for a permanent principal. They plan to resume the process next year.

Jen London, a Floyd Central teacher who represents the New Albany Floyd County Education Association criticized the process for finding a permanent principal at Monday’s meeting. She said there should have been more discussion at the July 17 meeting, when Madison told the board the hiring team had finished a third round of interviews but needed to deliberate further before recommending a candidate. The following weekend, he alerted the Floyd Central community via email that the search would be put on hold until the start of the year.

“As the teachers at Floyd Central, we deserve to know what the entire process looks like including this board's vision for our school … and an explanation of how you're going to get the best candidates to apply for the job,” London said.

She added that her criticism was not of Eckert.

Madison said July 17 was the first time he’d been involved in interviews with the final three candidates, who are all part of the NAFCS system. He said the decision to hold off on hiring was not a reflection on them.

“We just felt like time was needed,” he said. “Filling a position in July is very tough, regardless of the position, and you want to do it right.”

The board also approved several other hires at the special meeting, including Jason Jones as the new varsity boys’ basketball coach at New Albany High School.

Coverage of Southern Indiana is funded, in part, by Samtec Inc. and the Hazel & Walter T. Bales Foundation.

Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.