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Parents continue to speak out against principal reassignment

The Sharyland community has spent the last month demanding answers following the apparent sudden reassignment of former Shimotsu Elementary Principal Anthony Limon. After almost 16 years at the school, SISD transferred Limon to B.L. Gray Jr. High where he serves as dean of instruction. 

The district’s Director of Public Relations Nancy Barboza said Limon’s new position is “considered a transfer within the same professional capacity as his prior position.” His pay remains the same, as well. On Feb. 2, SISD named Elizabeth Gongora Shimotsu interim principal. 

Parents in the community have led the charge to find out why the district reassigned Limon, criticizing the way administration handled the situation. With formal complaints, student absences in protest, in-person protests and a formal gathering, Sharyland residents have not let up on the issue. And at the Feb. 27 school board meeting, they continued to speak out. 

For three minutes at a time, nine community members spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting, discussing their worries and how Limon’s reassignment has affected them. Shimotsu parent Amanda Caballero said she believes the district has shown a lack of transparency and has been disrespectful towards the Sharyland community. 

“It has been a hard time, the last month. And everyone is feeling it in different ways,” Caballero said. “Our community has been tremendously affected with the events that have transpired after the sudden removal of our principal Mr. Limon from Shimotsu Elementary. I’m here tonight as a concerned parent because I love my community and because I believe we can do better; our children deserve better.”

She referenced a private conversation with Superintendent Dr. Maria Vidaurri in the early days following Limon’s reassignment in which she alleges Vidaurri said B.L Gray needed a male leader. 

Although the district is not allowed to discuss personnel matters, Progress Times made several attempts to contact SISD to verify the allegation and other allegations from community members during the board meeting. But the public information officer did not return calls or emails before this article went to press. 

Other allegations include the board members being unaware of the reason for Limon’s reassignment, the district putting students in an unsafe environment and SISD setting up Limon for failure.  

Limon has not spoken publicly about the reassignment. However, he attended the Feb. 27 meeting and sat in the audience while the community called for his return. The public speakers pleaded with the board of trustees to reverse the decision, including student Valentina Meulemans. She and other speakers suggested letting Limon finish the year as Shimotsu’s principal. 

“No one will ever be able to refill that space as a principal because Mr. Limon is unique as a principal. One of the best principals I have ever met,” Meulemans said. “He is part of our family, part of our daily basis. He greets us in the morning at the entrance. He’s generous. He puts himself in other people’s shoes. He helps take out the trash. He doesn’t even consider himself as someone superior. He’s just kind. He doesn’t deserve this and you guys know that. It’s not fair for him.” 

Parent William “Bill” Sullivan asked the board to think of the taxpayers in the event that Limon sues the district. 

“Protect our damn wallets,” he said. “Because if it isn’t justified, I hope [Limon] comes and gets us. I hope he gets a pound of flesh, and I hope he gets his money if this was wrong. But the only ones who can protect our money and this man is you guys.” 

School board trustee candidate Meagan Sullivan also attended the meeting but was not one of the nine public commenters. She used to be a Shimotsu parent when her children were in elementary school, and she is aware of the situation with Limon. She was also a district employee from 2007 until spring 2022.

“My experience with this superintendent is that she makes sound decisions based on the facts that she has. So based on that experience I’m inclined to trust her judgment on making the call,” she said. “But I do think that there were maybe some mistakes made in how it was handled and how it was executed.” 

Although she does not know the specifics of Limon’s reassignment, she believes the situation could have benefitted from stronger communication on the district’s behalf.

“If it was a removal due to a problem, obviously the details of that can’t be shared. I get that. I’m going to be presumptuous here and understand that most of the adults in the community understand that,” Sullivan said. “But it can be communicated in a better way.” 

Following the public comments, the trustees continued the meeting without incident or acknowledgment of the events. Progress Times will continue to seek comment from the school district and provide updates accordingly.

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