UPDATE: Royal Oak High School Principal Michael Greening Put on Leave

Former Birmingham schools administrator to serve as interim principal while the school district and police department investigate 'possibility of financial irregularities.'

Michael Greening, the principal of , has been placed on a paid administrative leave "due to the possibility of financial irregularities in student activities funds," according to a note sent from the district's superintendent Thursday morning.

Jim Moll, who retired in June after working 38 years in the Birmingham Public Schools district, will serve as the interim principal, effective Tuesday, when school resumes after the Christmas break, Royal Oak Superintendent Shawn Lewis-Lakin said in his note to ROHS families.  

The school district become aware of information that led it to look at the student activities fund, which is comprised of money from the school's organizations and activities, Lewis-Lakin said. 

"The concerns are about potential irregularities in the high school activity fund, which is a fund which includes accounts for the various high school activities and clubs," Lewis-Lakin said. "Athletic funds is a separate fund."   

Greening, who has been with the school district as a teacher and administrator for about 15 years, was placed on leave Dec. 16. Greening could not be reached for comment Thursday.

The superintendent said he could not comment on specifics because of the ongoing investigation. “We have involved the appropriate outside agencies to make sure the investigation is complete, thorough and fair,” he told Royal Oak Patch on Thursday morning.  

Lt. Tom Goad of the Royal Oak Police Department confirmed a police report was filed and the department is looking into the claims against Greening.

Financial irregularities can mean something as simple as an accounting error was made or embezzlement, he said. “If we determine our investigation warrants charges, we will issue them,” Goad said.

Officials looked outside the district for an interim principal because they did not want to compromise any of the district’s buildings or areas of work.

“All current staff are fully committed to and engaged in their current assignments,” Lewis-Lakin said. “We did not want to pull anyone from their existing duties. We are very fortunate to have secured the services of Mr. Moll. His experience and his commitment to students and their success will serve us well.”

Reaction from community

Parents, students and community members reacted to the news of the investigation of Greening, who has been principal of the school since 2007.

Janet Norling, Royal Oak High School's PTSA president, was caught off guard by the news of Greening being put on leave. She has known the principal as a parent (Greening has two daughters at the high school), administrator and a teacher. 

"I don't know what to say. I am surprised," she said. "He's always been so supportive and pro-active in the PTSA."

Senior Class President Dan Dobras was saddened by the news. Dobras said he has had many conversations with Greening about events, organizations and happenings at the high school. 

"I can't speak about financial irregularities. I don't know anything about that," Dobras said. "But I can tell you when he gets complaints about different things he always tries everything in his power to make things fair and valid for the high school students."

Kathleen Otruba, mother of two ROHS students and president of the school's Band & Orchestra Boosters organization, was disappointed to learn Greening had been placed on leave.

“He’s been very supportive of the instrumental music program," she said. “I am hoping for a positive outcome from the investigation.”

Ford Hall, commercial manager at , has worked with Greening on school fundraisers such as the . "We'll continue to support Royal Oak High School," Hall said. "We're not going to back off because someone is being investigated. This is America, and you are innocent until proven guilty."

Interim principal to be introduced

A reception to introduce Moll to the high school community is scheduled for 7-8 p.m. Tuesday in the high school media center, Lewis-Lakin said.

"We are fortunate that Mr. Moll has agreed to step into this leadership role with us," Lewis-Lakin said in his note. "He will be working with the building and district administrative teams, the faculty and staff of the high school, ROHS families, and, most importantly, our high school students, to provide strong leadership for student success."

John Davids December 29, 2011 at 03:39 PM
This is very sad news- I have always liked Mr. Greening, I hope that this is just a misunderstanding or some kind of mistake.
William Bailey December 29, 2011 at 07:31 PM
MIke is a good and caring man. He has my family full support.
D.Peak December 29, 2011 at 09:21 PM
Well, by you printing this and making it 'public' before Mr. Greening is even charged with any misconduct, has pretty much reuined this mans reputation and his committed service to the students in Royal Oak and the community.
Liz Sienkiewicz December 29, 2011 at 11:21 PM
I agree with D.Peak above. Nice going, hope one day you are not up for an investigation. This world has gone to crap!
Cal Hayhow December 29, 2011 at 11:25 PM
There is more going on than the authorities are telling.
Brooke Woods December 29, 2011 at 11:56 PM
As a royal oak high school student most students at our high school don't believe Mr. Greening has done this and that he's just getting blamed. Now that Greening is gone no one is going to protect the students like he has glad this is my last year!
Eliminate Stupidity December 30, 2011 at 12:02 AM
A majority of the people I know believe this is a witch hunt invoked by administration. Mr Greening is a standup guy, who's been known to defy the half wits in administration when their stupidity exceeds the common sense test.
Daniela Burckhardt December 30, 2011 at 12:25 AM
The Patch didn't make this "public"...every parent of a ROHS kid got an email this morning.....
Brooke Woods December 30, 2011 at 12:44 AM
The administration is so behind this the assistant princples hate him because he actually cares about the students I hope they find the acutal person stealing from us. Save Greening :(
J. Bastian December 30, 2011 at 01:39 AM
I have known Mr. Greening for almost 40 years. He has proven over time that he cares about the students, respects the parents and is willing to work through administrative challenges. It is sad to think that people are so quick to throw a good man under the bus without having a complete picture of the situation. Keep the faith Mike!
William Bailey December 30, 2011 at 01:40 AM
I so love the purity of children and the things they say. The kids in the school probably know way more then the adults. Way to go Brooke, Save Greening!
Save Greening December 30, 2011 at 02:17 AM
Shelly Watkins December 30, 2011 at 02:37 AM
We've been classmates and colleagues of Michael for over 25 years and know him to be caring and dedicated to the students at Royal Oak High School. He's a man of great quality and class and we're proud to name him as a friend.
John Watkins December 30, 2011 at 02:53 AM
Something is rotten in Denmark! Michael Greening is a fine person and a dedicated educator. What is going on in Royal Oak? I hope that this "investigation" has a very broad and impartial scope.
Olivia Adams December 30, 2011 at 09:04 AM
As a graduate of ROHS and a former class officer, I got to know Mr. Greening very well last year. He was always helpful, dedicated and caring. I always felt lucky that I got to have a principal that saw the students as actual people, not just dumb high schoolers. He always listened to students' opinions and did whatever he could to make students happy. He was an amazing principal; one that I really looked forward to visiting in the future. Seeing students gossip about this ordeal on Facebook and Twitter all morning made me extremely upset...mainly because many people, including myself, don't know all the information regarding this situation besides what was sent home to them or what's available online. Any student that knows Mr. Greening knows how great he is, and I really hope this is all a big misunderstanding.
Eliminate Stupidity December 30, 2011 at 02:17 PM
Well said Olivia.
drs December 30, 2011 at 03:30 PM
I would find it really hard to believe that Mr. Greening would do anything wrong with having both of his daughters in the HS. There must be a ton of money missing if he was put on leave. I hope they find out soon what is going on and Mike is reinstated.
John December 30, 2011 at 03:57 PM
I have worked with Mr. Greening when he was a student... Student teacher and Principal.. I have been with him in times I was upset with him... But he was a student advocate.. A total pro at his job.. I want to go to court wih him he should suit damage....Do the investigastion internallly first.. The last 3 Supt at RO A puppett's I am retired And totally honest I do have a degree and 2 masters I have been aroun the block
John December 30, 2011 at 05:06 PM
He should suit the district for mega bucks.. When he is proven not guilty.. I have coached him Worked with him a student then a teacher then I worked for him.. He is outstanding/ religious/family/caring man.. What about Goodgine? She is shaky as all heck Let's check her out.....Hmmmm
john brilla December 30, 2011 at 05:06 PM
Mike, you have my support as I hold your integrity and moral character in the highest regard. This Administration had better be right about this. If not, you have smeared the reputation of a fine man!!
missy kernen December 30, 2011 at 05:31 PM
my thoughts are with him and his family during this time! ....missy kernen
Gary Vanek December 30, 2011 at 09:45 PM
Mike were all with you, you have been great for the high school. I feel the invistigation should have bem done first, it lesves a bad tast for the schools. If we can help, call. Gary Vanek
Garden Granny December 31, 2011 at 02:35 AM
I agree with Gary. Districts normally have protocols in place to do an internal investigation/audit or hire an outside auditor experienced in these matters. Principals are not normally the book keepers of such funds and with over 20 separate accounts and numerous activities generating them, honest errors can occur. If it turns out to be benign, a man's career has been smeared. Something does not seem right here. Hope we get a transparent investigation and one that looks into why ROPD was contacted as it sounds very premature. Investigation into what else was going on internally at the high school just before the someone called in ROPD might be called for?
Carme December 31, 2011 at 04:32 PM
The truth will come out in the end. They will check bank records, purchases and trips made.
Tom December 31, 2011 at 04:40 PM
We should not discount the possibility that he had us all fooled.
Rene Diedrich December 31, 2011 at 09:26 PM
Good looking out Granny. If he committed a crime why isn't law ebpnforcement involved?
Dorothy January 03, 2012 at 03:31 AM
If you have a degree and 2 masters, you should know how to spell and use punctuation correctly. Also, proper grammar is in order for someone as educated as you are. Show some pride.
Randy Wade January 04, 2012 at 08:57 PM
I agree but the manner in which the situation is being handled is ruining a good man's reputation, which is unnecessary.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something