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UPDATE: Randolph reinstated at HCHS after apologizing to Herndon, setting June 2015 retirement

South Boston News
Supporters of Albert Randolph packed Monday's School Board meeting. / June 10, 2014
In the aftermath of Monday night’s emotionally heated School Board on the fate of Albert Randolph, the Halifax County High School principal has been reinstated in his job — after writing a letter of apology to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Merle Herndon.

Herndon, reached at the School Board office early Tuesday morning, confirmed that she had agreed to return Randolph to HCHS after previously making a decision to demote him to assistant middle school principal. “I’m pleased with this resolution, and I look forward to working with Mr. Randolph,” she said.

Herndon said her office would be releasing a statement later Tuesday morning on the situation that would include the letter that Randolph submitted to the superintendent last night after the School Board meeting. The letter begins, “Please accept this letter as my personal apology for acting towards you in a manner that you found to be disrespectful.” Randolph further wrote that “ I now understand that my actions caused you to make recommendations to the school board that were divisive to our community,” acknowledging that the episode forced Herndon’s hand on the highly controversial transfer in position.

“He understands that his actions caused me to make the recommendation [for the transfer] to the board,” said Herndon.

She refused to comment on the nature of the dispute between herself and Randolph.

In the letter, Randolph also pledged to adhere to a plan of action to improve administration and instruction at the high school and work with his eventual successor there as principal. In addition to tendering an apology, Randolph also set a June 30, 2015, date for his retirement. He promised to work the first semester of the coming school year with the School Board’s choice of a new principal, and take accumulated vacation time during the second semester, effectively leaving HCHS in the hands of his successor at the start of 2015.

Herndon said the outcome allows the School Board to begin a search for a new principal while easing the transition to new leadership. Until then, “Mr. Randolph will be going back to the high school.”

UPDATE: Randolph's letter to Dr. Herndon reads as follows:

"Please accept this letter as my personal apology for acting towards you in a manner that you found to be disrespectful. I now understand that my actions caused you to make recommendations to the school board that were divisive to our community. I pledge to work with you to heal the damage this has done.

"I agree to accept a plan of action to improve administration at the high school with particular focus on instructional leadership.

"I agree to help the transition of leadership at Halifax County High School by training the assistants through December 31, 2014, at which time I will take vacation through June 30, 2015. I tender my retirement effective June 30, 2015.

"I hereby waive my rights to confidentiality as to these terms. I look forward to working with you in a manner that best serves the students of Halifax County, and finishing my career in a strong and positive manner."

The letter, dated 6/9/2014, concludes with the line, "Signed by Albert T. Randolph"

Speakers rip Herndon, School Board for Randolph transfer

If any doubt remained that the transfer of Halifax County High School Principal Albert Randolph to a lesser position had ignited a firestorm of protest in the community, a standing-room only crowd put the question to rest at the School Board meeting on Monday night.

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Will there be an apology from Superintendent Herndon for her actions? I dont care what he may have said to hurt her feelings. Public humiliation was not the answer. Halifax County is better than that.


The actions were childish and uncalled for. As superintendent, she should raise above her perceptions of personal slight and be professional; after all she is the highest paid professional in our system. She should publicly apologize to Mr. Randolph for her overreacting to his comments.


I agree with the previous comments. Will Dr. Herndon make a public apology to Mr. Randolph for using her authority to demote him because of some disagreement or words between the two of them. What kind of leader is that? If you speak or stand up for yourself does your supervisor have the right to take away your position? I just hope they find someone who matches or comes close to the qualifications of Mr. Randolph because I don't see Lewis or Newton or any of the other assistants ever controlling or caring for those students as Albert Randolph has in the past 14 years. Good luck Mr. Randolph you showed composer and dignity during this ordeal.


The people who should really apologise are the School Board who hired Herndon and unleashed all this consternation on the HCPS. It has been one crisis after another ever since she assumed her office.

At least by now she should be fully aware of many County residents' opinion of her job performance.


HCPS have suffered one crisis after another since Merle Herndon became superintendent two years ago. The division is in constant upheaval. She isn't a help to the schools. She is a hindrance. The school board needs to look for a replacement for her. The sooner the better. They certainly can not enjoy being at the center of constant controversy. Get rid of Herndon and bring in a capable leader who is concerned about the schools and not in merely making a name for themselves.


Randolph was one of the most inept and intellectually challenged individuals working inside that building when I attended HCHS. There is no arguing that the man severely lacked leadership skills. Everyone likes to believe they know what happens in that building but in reality, it is impossible for them to comprehend what really goes on. Regular exposer to drug use in bathrooms, oral sex in the stair cases; all while he either refused to acknowledge or was unaware of what his students were doing. If we are going to put the superintendent on blast, it should be for not ousting him sooner. Leave the race baiting to the professionals like Sharpton and Jackson. Anyone that came into contact with Randolph instantly understood he was mentally unfit for the job. All I can say is shame on the superintendent for not doubling down and exposing the failure Randolph really was. I guess in some sick, twisted way, this is "putting children first"


Randolph did have challenges and was the object of many derisive remarks over the years BUT that does not excuse the way the superintendent handled this issue. There are mechanisms in place to take care of personnel issues, lord know they use them on the teachers all the time, suspended without pay for one or more days, etc, other than demoting him. She knew he wanted to retire; why not discipline him severely, look for a real replacement rather than the most convenient suck-up in the system, and let him take his days. This discipline issue is rampant at all schools not just the high school although it is the worst there. That goes back to the supervisors at central office and their mandates (from superintendent?) to ensure our system isn't flagged as having too many discipline issues. The central office needs leaders who understand what is going on in the schools and we need a new superintendent who reacts professionally as a leader, not just a manager of assets/people


"Regular exposer to drug use in bathrooms, oral sex in the stair cases; all while he either refused to acknowledge or was unaware of what his students were doing." Wouldn't it be interesting to know the number of these incidences compared to church attendance over the past 20 years? If you have no fear of God or hell and live in a culture that promotes deviants and wickedness I guess morals don't matter.


"Regular exposer to drug use in bathrooms, oral sex in the stair cases; all while he either refused to acknowledge or was unaware of what his students were doing."

I was at HCSHS in the early 70s under Venable, Furches and Childers- three ball-busters if there ever were. Yet there is nothing new under the sun.

Yes, Randolph had his moments (gradgitation?) but I think it's been proven the reassignment was retaliatory, and that has been the issue all along.

Unfortunately discipline problems carry weight in funding, VHSL status, ad nauseam, so they're often covered up. That culture goes back to the very top.


None of you should be commenting on how the school system is run. All you Halifax County residents are too stupid to be superintendent which is why we didn't hire any of you in the first place.


This superintendent has been a complete disappointment. She has cut positions, not just administors and teachers, but janitorial staff. The board should not renew her contract. There were huge discipline problems in the early 70s. But, the administrators handled it - at the jt. high Mr. Bates surrounded himself with Bobby Hall, William Satterfield, and Harvey Dillard and I DO remember the paddles that Hall and Satterfield had behind their desk and they used those paddles. That could not happen today. At the Senior High Dr. Venable had Mr. Clark, Mr. Wilson, and Carl Furches, plus the AD Coleman Starnes. Those guys worked well together as a TEAM that supported each other. Today there seems to be disfunction. There cannot be a puppetmaster pulling strings from the top without long and hard thought of what could happen. What could happen is how parents, students, and teachers are judged. What has happened over the last ten days is a teaching moment. Maybe someone will learn.


Oh well just another year of sex in the stairways, drugs in the bathroom and hallways, and the usual at HCHS.
Its funny how the comments from former students are all of what a fool he made of himself while the comments from "black business community" members are of how poor the decision was.

Shame on the superintendent and school board? Yes shame on them for not standing by their guns and allowing the race baiting to win. If he was white, he would have been fired a decade ago... but because he is black... god forbid.

I was under the impression we hired people for competence instead of skin color.... That was before the NAACP.


The school system is always complaining about not having enough money to support our school programs. Why would they bring the school board lawyer, Mr. Wood to a board meeting paying him about $600 an hour for approximately 7 hours with an additional driving time of four hours for a total cost of approximately $6,600.00. Why was he called? Normally the school board makes a motion and votes on the issue of transfers in positions. Yet let Herndon make this decision? Why did the board allow this extra spending to happen. Or was it Herndons decision. Why was it stated in the newspaper the movement was related to his retirement and then it suddenly changed to being disrespectful. I wonder what the reason will be next week!! Our school Board needs to do their job. I thought they were the boss of Merle Herndon I didn’t know she was their boss. Is this a cover up because Herndon didn’t have reasoning to cover herself legally? Wake up Halifax County!You the tax payers are footing this bill.


If memory serves me correctly, Dr. Herndon signed a three year contract. Will this be her last year in Halifax? Her effectivesness is probably done!!! I guess she and Mr. Randolph can retire together!!!!


What teacher would get to take 1/2 a year of PAID vacation? I deplore administrators. No one stands up for the people actually educating our students. Why should he get to have a paid 6 month vacation? Come on people. We should be asking why our education system allows administrators to get so many days off? I don't care how many he has accumulated. He should have used them as he went along. This sickens me. In fact, all principals and superintendents sicken me. Never met one that really cared about teaching--just cared about power and money. I think he should be fired!! I think Herndon should be fired. They are all gross, money hungry excuses for "educators." Do you know Randolph makes over 100,000? Herndon make over 150,000. When will we realize they all make too much money for not educating anyone!! 6 months PAID vacation. Can't wait to see Herndon take her PAID vacation. I'm sure she has accumulated 10 years worth since VA lets you bring your days with you.


It is a shame that this school board hired a person to lead our school system and allowed her to live outside the county...does she pay property taxes in Halifax? How about a business tax? It has been commented that she makes $150K....$150K of our hard earned $$$. When she was hired, it was stated that she will turn 62 around the 3 year mark and she was okay with a 3-year contract. MOST superintendents receive a 4-year contract and MUST live in the school district that they serve. Unfortunately, our neighboring county allows their superintendent to live in our county and serve their county. So I guess that NOT all HC residents are SO stupid and that's why she was hired.


Who is minding the store? Couldn't accumulate that much vacation a few years ago? Someone needs to check the vacation policy to see when it got this liberal. Need for some reporter to get that policy and put in newspaper!! Just saying!!!! I will be looking for it.


This morning the other rag reports Buddy Wilborn has filed suit against the school board over his termination for(surprise!) "insubordination and unprofessionalism". Seems to be a common thread with Madama Superintendent.

Why do these professional (term used loosely) academics insist on axing vo-tech education programs and personnel? Do they not realise tradespeople, not multiple-degreed professionals who are more often than not educated beyond their intelligence, are who really keeps modern life running?

Reminds me of the Jane Blackwell years- if you weren't headed to a big-name 4-year school, that guidance department was simply not interested in you. In revenge for being a victim of that mindset, I've done pretty well for myself armed with a 2-year degree and a little horse sense.


This super and the last, plus Randolph have never lived in this county.


Eh la. I gather the underlying cause of all this is the same as our situation- superintendent does things without advising or consulting his board.

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