New LBJ principal’s disciplinary past doesn’t faze district
The new principal tapped to lead LBJ High School in East Austin was disciplined by her former school district in 2006 for misuse of district funds.
Sheila J. Henry, who is slated to take her new post on Aug. 4, pending approval by the Board of Trustees on Aug. 2, was suspended without pay for 20 workdays by the Palm Beach County school district in Florida. She also was directed to undergo financial management training.
Documents outlining her suspension said that Henry “misused district funds, failed to properly control district funds, violated the Code of Ethics of the Education Profession in Florida and/or violated the Principles of Professional Conduct of the Education Profession in Florida by using school funds to pay for gift cards, banquets, party expenses, gifts and flowers and/or failing to properly document expenses that totaled $10,204.27, and/or using Royal Palm Beach’s purchasing card to buy gifts that totaled $550.”
The documents also state that Henry failed to properly control district funds because $2,128 was unaccounted for in the high school’s internal account for a field trip and $1,890 was unaccounted for in the school’s internal account for cheerleading.
Henry was not dismissed, and she completed the financial management class. She was later moved to an elementary school, where she most recently has been employed.
A search of public documents found no criminal record for Henry.
Austin school district officials said they knew about the suspension and said it was “thoroughly discussed” during the interview process. The interview committee and Superintendent Meria Carstarphen felt very satisfied in Henry’s responses and feel she will be a stronger principal because of the experience, said Kathy Anthony, a district spokeswoman.
“Carstarphen is fully behind her,” Anthony said. “They feel it’s settled and in the past and she’s going to be great for LBJ.” The district issued the following statement: “AISD was well-aware of this occurrence, which happened in 2006, and it was discussed frankly during the interview process. Because of the professional steps that Ms. Henry took to improve her financial management oversight skills, as a campus principal, AISD believes that this occurrence will actually make her a stronger, more effective school leader. … This occurrence was never considered criminal in nature; that there was never any personal gain to Ms. Henry; or that there was never any financial impact to the Palm Beach County School District.”
Henry will replace former LBJ Principal Patrick Patterson, who retired in June.
In 2007, Henry was named one of six turnaround principals for Palm Beach County. The national school turnaround initiative is a leadership development program that helps managers improve low-performing schools.
Henry earned a bachelor’s degree from Florida Memorial University and a master’s degree in special education from Nova Southeastern University; she was selected in 2006 to attend the National Institute for Urban School Leaders of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
LBJ has been rated academically unacceptable, but preliminary results show that the campus will meet state academic standards this year. School ratings are based on results from the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills and attendance and dropout rates. Ratings are expected to be released by the state July 30.
This fall at LBJ, the district is launching an Early College Start program, in which students can earn up to 60 hours of college credit while working toward high school graduation..
Sheila Henry was penalized by Florida district.