Twenty-eight schools to open with new principals
The changes have been trickling out all summer, but DCPS finally confirmed late Friday that 28 of its 125 schools will open with new principals next week, including four high schools, five middle schools, five K-8 campuses and 12 elementary schools.
Officials will not elaborate on the changes, a mix of dismissals, retirements, reassignments and promotions. This is Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's third full round of principal recruiting and hiring --four if you count the 2007-08 school year, when she had barely two months to prepare.
The churning has been considerable. By my count, Rhee has filled 91 school leadership openings since coming to town three years ago, some created by dismissals, others by resignations or retirements. Of the 91 principals new to their posts, 39 are no longer in those jobs. There are some asterisks. One of Rhee's first moves was to declare most of the newly hired principals in 2007-08 "interim" because she said the pool of candidates was so shallow. Of the 20 principals named that year, 14 are no longer in those jobs. Of the 46 she assembled for 2008-09, nearly half (22) are no longer at their schools. Again, there are qualifiers. Some left on their own or got other jobs in the school system. One, Shaw@Garnet-Patterson's Brian Betts, was murdered in April.
Rhee acknowledges that she doesn't have as many good principals as she would like.
"It's not ideal. I'd love to have a higher batting average," Rhee said. "We have had some who have been great and some who have not panned out."
Because the District won't differentiate between principals dismissed for poor performance and those who left in good standing, it's difficult to determine an actual attrition rate. A 2009 University of Texas study of principal attrition in that state between 1996 and 2008 found that it varies widely by school level. The average tenure for a high school principal was 3.8 years; elementary school principals stayed at the same job for an average of five years. Those figures tend to be lower at schools with high numbers of poor children.
The most famous principal firing of the Rhee era was probably the 2008 dismissal of the leader at her daughters' school, Marta Guzman of Oyster-Adams Bilingual. Her service predated Rhee. She has also removed several new principals at mid-year, including those at Hart Middle and Shepherd Elementary.
Rhee said that the District has worked hard to improve screening and recruiting. "The best thing we can do is do as much as we can at the front end and realize that when we made a mistake to correct it. And don't just cling to people because they happen to be people that we brought in."
At least two of last year's principals, Ross Elementary's Amanda Alexander and Noyes Education Campus' Wayne Ryan, have moved up to become part of the new expanded team of instructional superintendents.
Friday's disclosure did not include the names of the new school leaders. You have to go through the school directory on the DCPS site and pluck them out. The four high schools with new principals are Roosevelt, Washington Metropolitan (formerly the Youth Engagement Academy), Dunbar and Anacostia. The last two are schools that were placed under outside management last year. At Anacostia, operated by Friendship Public Charter Schools, Shanika Hope has been replaced by Ian Roberts, who ran one of Friendship's Baltimore schools.(Correction: Roberts replaces Malik Bazzell, not Hope.) At Dunbar, operated by Friends of Bedford, Stephen Jackson is out but the directory shows only TBD. Rhee said that several Friends of Bedford officials will be running the school.
Some new principals are promotions from within: West Education Campus' Andria Caruthers, a former assistant principal at Takoma Education Campus; Kelly Miller Middle School's Abdullah Zaki, former assistant principal at Banneker High School; Aiton Elementary's Irina Malykhina, former vice principal at Bruce-Monroe Elementary@Parkview, and Amidon Elementary's LaShante Knight, a special development specialist in the central office. Five new leaders have the "interim" tag, and Rhee said they are likely to be in place for the entire school year.
Here's the list of new leaders:
Aiton Elementary: Irina Malykhina
Amidon Bowen Elementary: LaShante Knight
Anacostia High School: Ian Roberts
Burroughs Education Campus: Mary Weston
CW Harris Elementary: Tiffany Clemmons
Davis Elementary: Maisha Riddlesprigger
Dunbar High School: TBD
Jefferson Middle School: Patricia Pride (interim)
Johnson Middle School: Pamela Ransome
Kelly Miller Middle School: Abdullah Zaki
Ketcham Elementary: Tandi Tyler
Kramer Middle School: Kwame Simmons
Noyes Education Campus: Adell Cothorne
Patterson Elementary: Renee Cottman-Reyes (interim)
Raymond Education Campus: Natalie Hubbard (interim)
Reed Elementary: Eugene Pinkard
Roosevelt High School: Ivor Mitchell
Ross Elementary: Holly Searl
Sharpe Health Center: Savetra Francis (interim)
Shaw Middle School@Garnet-Patterson: Kimberly Douglas
Spingarn STAY: Gary Washington
Terrell/McGogney Elementary: Clementine Homeley (interim)
Thomson Elementary: Albert DuPont
Truesdell Education Campus: Mary Ann Stinson
Tyler Elementary: Jennifer Frentress
Washington Metropolitan High School (formerly Youth Engagement Academy): Tanishia Williams-Minor
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