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D.C. middle school principal found dead in Silver Spring

UPDATE: Read the story as it is updated.

A middle school principal who was wooed from Montgomery County as part of Chancellor Michelle Rhee’s effort to improve the struggling D.C. system was found dead in his Silver Spring home Thursday night.

Montgomery County police called the death “suspicious” and said they are searching for the victim’s blue 2007 Nissan SUV.

Brian Betts. (Nikki Khan/Post)

Brian Betts, 42, who became principal of Shaw Middle School at Garnet-Patterson in fall of 2008, did not report for work on Thursday, police said. A co-worker went to his home, in the 9300 block of Columbia Boulevard in Silver Spring, and found him dead inside. Police did not say whether investigators have determined the cause of death.

Betts has been touted by Rhee as one of several innovative and energetic school leaders who have the opportunity to remake failing schools.

Last spring, Rhee agree to let 90 eighth-graders at Betts’s school remain there for ninth grade, instead of graduating and entering high school. The students had asked to be allowed to spend ninth grade at the middle school — an unusual request that Rhee said demonstrated their enthusiasm for the changes Betts had wrought.

"Imagine," Rhee said in an interview with The Washington Post editorial board, "13-year-olds so excited about going to school that they are telling me they love waking up in the morning."

Anyone with information pertaining to the death is asked to call homicide detectives at 240-773-5070.

Post education columnist Jay Mathews wrote about Betts in February 2009. Read the column 'Test Scores Provide Valuable Measure Of Success in D.C.'

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Block where Betts lived

-- Debbi Wilgoren

By Mike McPhate  |  April 16, 2010; 7:12 AM ET
Categories:  Montgomery , Schools  
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When they showed the house this morning on the news I swear it looked like the same house that a man and daughter were killed in a fews years back.

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | April 16, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

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