Interim Patrick Henry High principal named after former principal removed

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. — An interim principal at Patrick Henry High School was named just weeks before the start of the new school year. The announcement comes after former principal Beth Smith was removed from her position earlier this month.

Superintendent Dr. Michael Gill announced that Paul Cash will serve as interim principal at the school during the Hanover County School Board meeting Tuesday night.

Cash previously served as an assistant principal at Patrick Henry High and in the district office, according to Gill.

CBS 6 learned on August 2 that Smith was no longer employed by Hanover County Public Schools, according to an email sent to families, faculty and staff.

Paul Cash

Because the departure is a personnel matter, school system officials said they could not comment as to why Smith was let go. However, they said their decision was based on facts, policy and what they “believe is in the best interest of students.”

Hundley read a similar statement during Tuesday’s school board meeting.

“This has been a difficult process for everyone involved and we have heard from folks tonight that have expressed as much. Because this involves a personnel matter, as has been noted, we have been and continue to be strictly prohibited by policy from disclosing any specific details. We understand our inability to share specific details has caused a lot of speculation, misinformation and frustration in the community which is truly regrettable, and we sincerely understand that as a board,” he said.

At the time of the announcement of Smith’s ousting, one mother said the majority of parents wanted Smith gone.

Conversely, a father said many others wanted the principal to continue at the school. In fact, he said more than 200 people had signed a petition in support of Smith.

Darrell Warner, who was the sole Patrick Henry parent who spoke about the issue at the school board meeting, said he was upset with how the school system handled Smith’s removal.

Beth Smith

“You all held a closed-door meeting on our principal without asking for any input from the community,” Warner explained. “We should have been informed what was going on and what the procedures were.”

Gill said there will be four community meetings in the future to determine what community members, students, teachers and staff would like to see in the next Patrick Henry High principal.

“Anytime there is a vacancy for any principal position in Hanover County we survey the community and that will certainly be this time as well,” Gill stated. “We want to make sure we take the time to get it right.”

Classes begin in Hanover County the day after Labor Day holiday on Tuesday, Sept. 4.