Sapulpa Community Supports Former Principal, Asks For Leadership Change
SAPULPA, Oklahoma - The Sapulpa school board postponed a special meeting to address leadership questions after a former principal's resignation letter went public.
The letter accuses the superintendent of making racist comments to employees. Now, many in the community are calling for a leadership change.
The school board scheduled a meeting to go into executive session to discuss the resignation letter, but, because one board member wasn't there, it will be rescheduled - a disappointment for those wanting answers.
Parents, teachers and students came with poster boards to show their support for former Holmes Park Elementary principal, Bobby Alfred.
“Everybody in Sapulpa loves Mr. Alfred,” parent Darla Beverlin said. “We're just here to let the Board of Education know that we're not happy with that, and we want something done.”
Alfred retired this month after 42 years with Sapulpa Schools.
“He's an amazing principal,” said fifth grader Nalania Gouid.
Former student and teacher Jamie Hallford said, “Always instilled in us to never give up, always try. He always supported us all, and that, no matter who we were, that we could become something no matter where we came from.
Alfred says Superintendent Kevin Burr tears employees down rather than builds them up. He also says Burr used racially insensitive comments toward him, which is part of why he's retiring.
“The retaliation, the intimidation...those are not part of leadership. We need a superintendent that will work with teachers, work with the community, work with everybody involved to keep Sapulpa a great district,” the former principal said.
Alfred's supporters feel the same, and they hope the school board will see it that way too.
Beverlin said, “The best thing to do is have change at the superintendent's office.”
“Mr. Alfred is what you consider the heart of Sapulpa,” Hallford said. “He instills so much, not just in the students and the teachers, but in the community. People know his heart and he's an amazing man.”
Alfred was not at the special meeting, but the superintendent was. We reached out for comment but haven't heard back.
The school board will likely reschedule the meeting for later in the week.