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Spingarn H.S. principal out

DCPS has confirmed Candi Peterson's weekend report in The Washington Teacher that Spingarn High School principal Blanca Reyes was replaced on Friday. As is usually the case with such personnel moves, there's no official word on why. Reyes was in her first year as leader of the 560-student school on Benning Road NE.

Spokeswoman Jennifer Calloway said Gary Washington, principal of CHOICE Academy Middle School/Senior High School, will take over Monday. CHOICE (Choosing Options for Individually Centered Education) specializes in students serving long-term suspensions from neighborhood high schools. No word yet on who will replace Washington. Lloyd Bryant will be the new assistant principal.

"They are experienced school leaders with a record of success in DC Public Schools," Calloway said in an e-mail. "Faculty, staff and parents were notified of the change on Friday Jan. 29, and a PTA meeting has been scheduled to introduce the new school leadership to the Spingarn community."

Mid-year changes in school leadership are unusual and when a first-year principal is removed, it typically signals significant issues. In November 2008, Hart Middle School principal Kisha Webster, also in her first year in DCPS, was replaced because behavior and safety problems had spiraled out of control to the point that the school system sent in a team of administrators to intervene.

By Bill Turque  |  February 1, 2010; 11:15 AM ET
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Excuse me? Another soldier of the "New Army of Believers" has fallen? Did you also say that an experienced principal has been called to action? Maybe we need to take a closer look at that new army. Wow! Who knew? Everybody!!!!! Now go to the high schools that she gave to charters---a mess!!! She wonders why her star is falling? The percentages are still too high if the real story is told.

Posted by: candycane1 | February 1, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

And let's not forget a principal named to Shepherd ES who was pulled out in the first few months of the school year. Yes, I too noticed that an old-school veteran principal, not a New Leader, was picked to head up Spingarn.

Posted by: chelita | February 1, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Responding to Candycane1, anyone who read Colbert King's recent article about the problems at Spingarn will not be surprised that this has happened.

Posted by: dorofacol | February 1, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Thank God, and I mean it. I was a graduate back in 1980 at Spingarn. I went back to purchase a yearbook due to losing mine, and what a shock it was to see my school in the condition it was in. It had no spirit, it felt as if i was walking in a morgue.

I use to arrive at school and just walk inside the building, this time i had to go through a metal detector, check in to a computer, present a id card, however, i was passed over due to my reason for visiting.

I walked in the office and their were people just wondering around the office, no order at all. The admin staff were rude, and no one knew anything. I thought to myself, what a waste of my tax dollars.

I am embarassed to say I graduated from Spingarn High School, to look at such a beautiful buidling with a beautiful football field, and then go inside of it and see the sadness.

I truly hope the new principle can bring back the spirit of such a great school. It hurts my heart to see how the quality of my high school has disapated.

Thank you

Posted by: weaverf | February 1, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Trust me, the veteran has got to be better than Reyes. Hopefully he will communicate with all persons offering free services and hel for the school. Reyes was not an effective manager all.

Posted by: jrhones | February 1, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

that should be help

Posted by: jrhones | February 1, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Ms. Rhee will shortly make statements about there being child molesters among the principals she has fired.

Oh but these are principals and not teachers.

Posted by: bsallamack | February 1, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

From the artilce on Hart MS,
I found this nugget:
"There is plenty of blame to go around for Hart's predicament, Webster said. She acknowledged that she probably alienated staff members by coming in with an attitude that was too hard-edged -- an attitude she said was influenced by her superior's judgment that the school was in terrible shape.

"I will tell you, when you come into a building where you are told everyone is crap, you come in hard," she said. In retrospect, she said, she should have taken time to form her own opinions."

Posted by: edlharris | February 1, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

This reminds me . . .

What ever happened to that council-commissioned, independent study of rhee's tenure? It would be interesting to see the tales of the "fallen soldiers" (as candycane1 so aptly phrases it) alongside the net gains of rhee's chancellorship.

While we "insiders" (read: DCPS employees) wouldn't be surprised at the findings, I suspect the rose-colored glass wearing, pom pon waving, rhee cheerleaders would be in for quite an awakening!

Posted by: schooletal | February 1, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

The pattern here is obvious and yet very disturbing. Remove the established leadership (which in many cases are doing their jobs) and replace them with out-of-the-box (New Leaders New Schools, Teach-for-America) admin wannabees who know nothing. Two purposes are served. One (1), a continued disruption of services vital to the development and well being of our young people. And two (2), create opportunities/jobs for the chosen ones new to our city.

Posted by: Robmic812 | February 2, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Question: Does one think that the principal of Spingarn's demise comes from a situation that involved policemen, evacuation and bad images portrayed on DCPS. Then if so, why in the world is the principal of Mckinley still in place?

A pattern is readily being discovered, I think Rhee has fired more female principals especially at the high-school stage than any other demographic.

Is this the Marie-Antionette version of management...did she learn this in "Off with their heads 101?"

Let the record show...the following high-schools that had female principals at the helm and all were fired during Rhee's tenure...


To the poster, saying the spirit was gone from Spingarn. There's only 500 or so students registered and on a good day in attendance you probably have about 400. In a school that is so large and vast...spirit could only be viewed unless everyone was in the auditorium at the same time.

This is not like Spingarn has been exempt from controversy. It was peaceaholics last year...that required a removal of a principal. Then years earlier its was the basketball team members scandal that sent DCPS in a whirl-wind of retooling and revamping sports and special education.

Hopefully, something can be done to embrace the campus-area that embraces Spingarn. You have four schools on the same acreage...and the vision for them to interwined academically should be a novel idea. But for some apparent reason it is the hardest mandate to get across to those who handle our education component.

Sixth degree of separation...a former Spingarn graduate is now the Mayor of Detroit. Yet, the former disgraced Mayor of Detroit mother-in-law works as a teacher at Spingarn's night school.

Posted by: PowerandPride | February 2, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Reading the well-informed posts on this article shows that the interest is there to get to the bottom of what ails the problems at Spingarn and the surrounding schools. I get mixed messages as to whether the current school administration is on a correct, if not harsh, path or if it is completely missing the point of what is really needed to turn these schools around. I don't know who to believe anymore.

I am a graduate of DCPS who cringes at the mess it appears to be in, but I am also someone who knows how a few in the media and a few "activists" or agitators can distort real issues with their personal agendas. "Experts" don't know what to do so they make stuff up and then we take sides.... and I am talking experts on all sides of each DCPS issue (pro-teacher, pro-Rhee, pro-union, pro-charter, etc). Sometimes I think the interested and smart kids at these schools can run them better than the adult administrators and teachers who are hired to run them!

Posted by: crw901025 | February 2, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

The Rhee/TFA/NTP/NSNL premise seems to be that teachers and principles with little or no experience, but with lots of indoctrination in the education "reform" cult beliefs are better than those with experience, education and training in the field. The only problem with this miracle cure for education in poor areas is that it fails; every time. But never mind, let's hear another story to make us forget and feel better. Perhaps the one about raising test scores, or media coverage than never happened. I love a good fairy tale!

Posted by: mcstowy | February 2, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Great point Schooletal!!!!!

where's the study?

Posted by: oknow1 | February 2, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I covered CHOICE Academy a few years ago as a specialist and know Gary Washington. He will whip Spingarn into shape. He's tough but he's very fair and always treated me as a professional and with dignity and respect. Imagine that, a seasoned DCPS administrator who treats staff as colleagues and with dignity and respect and speaks to them on a professional level. Maybe Michelle Rhee should take a lesson from those of us who've been here a while instead of tearing us down every chance she gets.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | February 2, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

How could they have lost control of a middle school?

Posted by: blasmaic | February 3, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

This seems to be the summary of Bill Turque's reporting recently:

Something happened
Hundreds of people were notified last week in a letter (3 days before this post was made)
I'm posting this now
No official reason why

Thank you Bill Turque. You are an ace reporter. Would it kill you to find a source or not regurgitate last week's news?

If we are going to rely on official releases why dont we all just bookmark the DCPS website?

Posted by: makplan20002 | February 3, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Bill, here are some questions worth asking?

How many principals has Rhee replaced since she took over DCPS?

How many of her appointed principals were fired mid-year?

How have the New Leaders fared compared to non-New Leaders?

What's going on in the high schools that were completely re-structed and/or placed under the management of contractors?

How are things going at Macfarland MS, which was restructured twice in two years?

Posted by: Nemessis | February 6, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

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