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Posted at 8:24 PM ET, 01/26/2011

Henderson: Hardy decision "mine to make"

By Bill Turque

I got e-mail responses this evening to some questions I put to Interim Chancellor Kaya Henderson earlier today. They were too late to make the paper, but here they are:

On whether Mayor Gray wanted her to move Dana Nerenberg: "I have talked with the Mayor and he has been clear that personnel decisions are mine to make. I valued our discussions, but in the end, it was my decision to dissolve the cluster model and it will be my decision and duty to appoint the next principal of Hardy MS."

On what she would do if, after consulting with the school community on the next principal appointment, it was clear that Patrick Pope was the favorite: "It is important that the Hardy parents share with me the qualities they believe are essential for Hardy's new principal. I am eager to listen. However, I am unequivocal that like every other principal appointment, the final decision rests with me."

Read that as a "No."

By Bill Turque  | January 26, 2011; 8:24 PM ET
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It nice to know that Kaya knows what's best.

Posted by: edlharris | January 26, 2011 9:55 PM | Report abuse

"It is important that the Hardy parents share with me the qualities they believe are essential for Hardy's new principal. I am eager to listen. However, I am unequivocal that like every other principal appointment, the final decision rests with me."

In other words, as first voiced by her boss, Rhee, “…cooperation, collaboration and consensus-building are way overrated.”

Hopefully the parents will ask, and get a cogent answer to the question -- why, besides pure stubbornness, are you so opposed to Pope?

Posted by: efavorite | January 26, 2011 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Rhee Rhee is still in control. Sorry excuse for a leader.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | January 26, 2011 10:45 PM | Report abuse

It's clear that under Rhee and now under Henderson that the leadership is more concerned with power and control rather than what's in the best interest of students.

This style of management is way out of date. Successful organizations and companies operate in a much more collaborative and collegial style, respecting it's employees and valuing their input.

One more piece of evidence that DCPS is still operating in the Dark Ages.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | January 27, 2011 8:18 AM | Report abuse

The regulars have spoken on who should be the lead bouncer should be, selecting who gets admitted to the Club. Seems they won't have a Counter- Reformation without a restoration.

Posted by: incredulous | January 27, 2011 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Here we have the school community (the majority of the school community) voicing their concern and desire and the current leader of the schools dismissing them with hypocrisy. So she is Rhee with a smile or slightly better personal skills. She still has the same corrosive mindset. She simply should have said a mistake was made and since this community wants Patrick Pope back then this is what will be done.

Posted by: adcteacher1 | January 27, 2011 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Well, we can thank Kaya for showing her true colors in public.

Now we know why she prefers to be #2. I CAN DO my dirt under a rock and with a GREAT BIG SMILE.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | January 27, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Previously, it was shared that the Hardy community would be included in the process and decision-making. Now, Kaya makes the decision? Typical DCPS.

As Hyde's LSRT chair and part of the parent panel that did principal interviews for Hyde (when Dana was hired), I know first hand that this isn't a new thought process. DCPS picked a principal(Dana) that parents did not even include in their choice(s).

DCPS' lip service is not inclusive nor collaborative. Both have elements of shared responsibility and value and decision-making. Their lip service is a disservice to parent-involvement, disrespectful to parents who are actively engaged in their child(ren)'s education.


Posted by: ColoredSpirit | January 27, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I hope Ms. Henderson changes her mind, and listens to the parents of Hardy Middle School.

If she does listen to the parents, she will build much needed support.

Posted by: educationlover54 | January 27, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Wow, ColoredSpirit

Thanks for your input. The mask is truly coming off of the Rhee/Henderson administration.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | January 27, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Bill Turque's reported:

"School officials have been under intense pressure to remove Nerenberg, but the senior school source said this morning that her departure was a mutual decision, eased along by the pending maternity leave of Nerenberg's assistant principal at Hyde-Addison. Rather than put the elementary school through another transition, Nerenberg opted to return full time her original post."

The corollary of what is said in the above paragraph is that the pressure on school officials has been even more intense to return Patrick Pope to Hardy.
So why then is Kaya Henderson refusing to return Mr. Pope to his original post as principal at Hardy rather than to put Hardy through another transition ?

Returning Mr. Pope to Hardy is a simple solution to complex problem that Rhee created and Henderson is perpetuating !

Posted by: BigTight33 | January 27, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know the origin of the "command-control" organizational format in public education? Is there any reason for it to continue in the 21st century? I understand the ideas it rests on: accountability and authority. But I don't understand why one person away from schools has so much official authority in so many buildings. Each school culture is different, including its student population, teacher dispositions and skill base, etc. Authority, especially on issues affecting the learning environment should be vested in that school building, in particulary the classroom.

With authority comes accountability. I would be more than pleased to accept full accountability as long as it was accompanied by the authority to completely design and deliver my class without the interference of all the people trying to affect education without being in the trenches where it is happening. Take Jason Kamras, for example. He seems to believe that he understands this undertaking more than anyone else in DC right now. A publication referred to him as possibly the most important man in education today. Phooey! The teachers who didn't flee the classroom for higher pay, salary and bogus influence are the most important people in education today, along with all of the supporting cast in a school building, especially the janitor (why are their job descriptions so narrow, they could be teaching all kinds of helpful skills and some do for sure).

Lets put this another way. The current way of organizing the grinding work that must be done on a daily basis to teach kids content and character is anachronistic. As Obama recently tried to make clear again, we have to modernize public education so we will have a competitive country in the future. Like or not, we live in a nation-state and we are in a struggle with other economies for jobs and influence. In order to play a hand in developing kids who understand and solve complex problems (like those facing us now), I and millions of my teacher colleagues need to wake up energized, focused and inspired to drive students to achieve academically, socially, etc. If I drive to school and I'm continually distracted by the stupid "goings-on" (e.g. IMPACT evaluation hyperfocus, lack of administrative support, parent apathy, etc.) that are normally thwarting my efforts, then the kids will not get as good of an education. Neither my colleagues nor I have some kind of magic formula and there are no suuperheroes coming into the classroom to help. Most teachers are more than capable of being productive if they are supported by principals and the central office, not directed by them. Central office should, just about, only concern themselves with recruiting and retaining good teachers. And what's their record with that?

Posted by: thetensionmakesitwork | January 27, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

It's really sad that DCPS can issue a statement that Pope cannot apply for principal at Hardy! On what grounds are they making this decision? How can you stop him for applying? I think I know how. Just like the teachers who accepted the money attached with being rated highly effective. They gave up everything. If they speak out about anything that the leadership is doing wrong they will lose everything which is their career. So they must sit in silence while poor leadership destroys childrens lives.

Mr. Pope is an at will employee just like the highly effective teachers who signed away their rights. He is sentenced to silence or he will lose his job. He has a family to take care of like most of us.

Bill will you please ask Henderson, on what grounds is she preventing Pope from applying? If there are any lawyers out there can you please tell me if this practice is legal?

Posted by: helluvateacher | January 28, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure that Pope would consent to come back to Hardy if DCPS said to him, "You can have your job back, but you can't have your student admission policy back."

Posted by: gardyloo | January 28, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse


Kaya's scapegoat answer: We cannot discuss personnel matters. Translation "F you".

Most overused statement of this sick administration. Works better than lynchings. Oh, yes I know Pope is white and Kaya girl is "a large black girl."

Posted by: dccounselor72 | January 29, 2011 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Helluvateacher...the same way it was told Pope at Hardy it was told Chiselom at Eastern. Yes, they are at-will employees but at some point there needs to be plans written or documented. Such as the case both actions were done with a verbal conversation. Yet, the primary person responsible for such conversation is gone as in Rhee. With her number 2 basically saying I will entertain the conversations until June 30th. At some point at-will employees deserve a-little more concrete information or confirmation. Yes, many and all have been afraid of losing their careers but if we all just reacted to word only contracts, can you imagine the outcome? All in all the actions of DCPS is seriously imposing the violation of prohibitive personnel practices. To tell someone that they can't apply is outright WRONG. The most appropriate way is to let everyone apply and let the results show who is eligible or not eligible to be the most decisive way of handling principal vacancies in this situation.

Posted by: PowerandPride | February 1, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

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