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Schools Ombudsman Moves On

Tonya Vidal Kinlow, the first-ever DCPS ombudsman, has left her post after a little more than a year on the job. In a voice message on her office phone, Kinlow said her resignation was effective on Dec. 22 and she expressed thanks for the support she received.

Kinlow could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Mafara Hobson, spokeswoman for Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, said the mayor was satisfied with the work of the office. No word on a successor.

A former Capitol Hill staffer, lobbyist and member of the old D.C. Board of Education, Kinlow was named by Fenty to the newly created position in October 2007. The official announcement said she would be "the city's face of customer service for education," assisting parents and students with problems or questions about DCPS, public charter schools or the University of the District of Columbia.

Kinlow and her staff ran down hundreds of complaints, sometimes facilitating meetings between parents and administrators, or coaching them on how to solve the disputes themselves. The office's casework was described, on an anonymous basis, in monthly reports. Safety, along with enrollment and registration, were the issues that most frequently surfaced, Kinlow said in her November report.

She drew some criticism for falling behind on a legal requirement to file the reports. Kinlow didn't post the March, April or May reports on the District's website until June. Kinlow said at the time that the office was developing a new data management system and that she wanted to make sure the information was accurate.

Bill Turque

By Marcia Davis  |  December 31, 2008; 3:18 PM ET
Categories:  Education  
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Post Script:

Chancellor Rhee was wearing her out.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | January 2, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Correction, Concernedaboutdc:

All the problems Rhee has caused (with her poor decisions and mismanagement) that led to the voluminous amount of complaints wore Ms. Kinlow out!

Posted by: schooletal | January 3, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

You are both correct and every dog has their day. But I somewhat disagree that the ombudsman's office serviced anyone effectively.

Posted by: candycane1 | January 3, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

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