Burbank Principal’s Demotion Is a Tragedy

* The action of the Burbank Unified School District Board of Education to demote Principal Keiko Hentell (Valley Edition, Feb. 19) can only be described as appalling, shortsighted and surely vindictive. I have read and reread the article to find some basis, however trivial, for her removal.

I find instead words of praise from the only faculty member and the only community person quoted. Given the diverse ethnic composition of Burbank High School when Ms. Hentell was hired three years ago--and “the absence of any direction from the board--she moved forward vigorously to provide a safe, nurturing environment for the entire student body.

I have known Keiko Hentell for almost 20 years, working with her as English teachers, teaching advisers, and members of professional organizations. She has moved steadily toward a career as an administrator, demonstrating strong leadership skills and organizational abilities. She is an extremely competent leader: sensitive, well-organized, articulate and, yes, unwilling to settle for less than the best for her students. That is grounds for dismissal?

What a tragedy.