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DCPS's Departed

In the Cold War era, Kremlin watchers used to count the exiting limosines to figure out who was still standing in the top circles of the Soviet government. At 825 North Capitol, DCPS headquarters, you wait for the latest organizational chart to emerge.

The new power grid shows that two of the three top deputies Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee imported from the Cleveland school system in 2007 are no longer: Chief of Schools Tracy Martin and Chief of Teaching and Learning Sherry Ulery. Chief of Staff Lisa Ruda remains in place. All three served under former Cleveland Municipal School District CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett.

As usual, DCPS had little to say about the personnel moves. Rhee spokeswoman Jennifer Calloway said Martin resigned in December. Calloway said that that Ulery, currently overseeing early childhood education, would "transition out" next month.
Their jobs are gone as well, both absorbed into a vacant Chief Academic Officers position. Calloway said Rhee wants a single CAO to make sure that instruction is consistent across all schools. A Chief Operating Officers job is also yet to be filled.
Here's Rhee's inner circle as currently constituted:
Management Chart

Bill Turque

By Bill Turque  |  May 27, 2009; 10:55 AM ET
Categories:  Bill Turque , Education  
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As long as Dr. Richard Nyankori stays on board, I found him to be extremely helpful, then I know DCPS will continue on the right track.

Posted by: bbcrock | May 27, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

You're right about Nyankori. I have spoken to him before on various issues regarding my (unnamed) school and found him most helpful.

Posted by: chelita | May 27, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

When they left Cleveland and came here we knew what we were getting. A popular Cleveland Newspaper stated, " Now the trash is DC's trash" and that's just what we got! After placing Jesus Aguerre as Chief Operating Officer and placing his wife as principal of Oyster, he's out too? Wepman still hanging on? Budget problems will remain. That door of an top notch administration is spinning off the hinges! No Chief Academic Officer? No reforms either! Data and accountability? please.

Posted by: candycane1 | May 27, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Though I don't have much sympathy for the Rhee administration, I do feel for those who left a cheap real estate market like Cleveland to invest in Washington real estate at the height of the market, back in '07, who now have to sell at it's nadir (we can only hope).

It's the Rhee dream turned into a nightmare.

I feel much more, though, for the Washington community - the kids, the parents, the teachers - who are the real victims of this Rhee nightmare.

Posted by: efavorite | May 27, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Efavorite, you're dead on. For the record, it was rumored that Tracy Martin had been long gone, partly because she attempted to advise mishree not to arbitrarily and capriciously terminate people and because of some of the questionable regional superintendents she has.

As for Jesus Aguirre and his wife, that was a jacked up situation anyway. How do you just 'give' a principalship to your Chief Operating Officer's wife so arbitrarily and capriciously? Mr. Dale Talbert, an institution in DCPS and one o the few people who was at the helm of successful leadership in the regime prior to misrhee, was pushed aside for Aguirre. Now look.

Misrhee discarded a lot of valuable people who were professional enough to have been willing to help support her and yet kept a few laughable regional superintendents, one of whom is a major adversary of the WTU. She is petulantly childish in her view of people and it's no wonder the people she so skillfully lures are leaving her web of deceit and mayhem.

Posted by: southyrndiva | May 28, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the additional context, Southyn Diva. I’ve long suspected that the best people at Central Administration must be shaking in their boots – waiting for the axe to fall and/or trying to figure out how to leave without ruining themselves professionally and financially.

I also suspect Rhee is having difficulty recruiting these days, for anything but new college grads with limited options and desperate mid-career administrators laid off in the recession.

It’s hard to imagine anyone voluntarily leaving a job now to come to work for her, given her well-documented lust for firing at will.

Posted by: efavorite | May 28, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Southyrndiva thanks for your comments. Tracy Martin left in December. I'm not sure however that she was advising Rhee on the arbitrary firings. I do know that she had recently married and was commuting back and forth to Cleveland. It was very strange how it went down. The Instructional Supts got caught up with doing the dirty work of telling principals they were not going to be re-appointed. The principals had not even been evaluated. Then all but 2 Supts were dethroned. Tracy Martin as chief of schools, was right there.
Efavorite: You can bet central is shaking in their shoes becasue she convinced many that they were so valuable that they deserved hefty raises. The catch? Sign on the dotted line, I accept being "at will". Poof! They've been disappearing. Now look at her organizational chart. Deja vu of St. Hope when she served on the board under K. Johnson. High staff turnovers! They've been coming and going since she got here. It won't change as long as she is here! She knows nothing else.

Posted by: candycane1 | May 28, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

The new organizational chart shows two important vacancies; the chief operating officer, whom everyone thought was Mr. Aguirre and the chief academic officer, who had been introduced in the fall to DCPS employees as Dr. Moody, aka Dr. Meltdown.
The revolving door in central seems to match the policy that is used for principals and teachers - either see things the chancellor's way or find another place to work. Dr. Moody made that clear to all principals in the May principal's meeting. One wonders if that included Mr. Aguirre's wife and an instructional superintendent's wife, both first year principals.
A Team of Rivals, to quote President Obama's favorite book, this isn't.

Posted by: 4thekidsorforthe | May 31, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

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