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Posted at 8:10 PM ET, 10/12/2010

Michelle Rhee to announce resignation

By Terri Rupar

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee will announce Wednesday that she is resigning at the end of October, bringing an abrupt end to a tenure that drew national acclaim but also became a central issue in the recent mayoral primary race.

She is scheduled to announce her departure at a news conference with Mayor Adrian Fenty (D) and presumptive mayor-elect Vincent C. Gray (D), said officials close to both Gray and Rhee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

She will be replaced on an interim basis by Deputy Chancellor Kaya Henderson, a close associate of Rhee’s stretching back to their days at the New Teacher Project, a teacher recruiting nonprofit Rhee founded and ran before her appointment by Fenty in June 2007. Henderson was a vice president for the group and is scheduled to be at Wednesday’s news conference.

Rhee’s departure has been widely anticipated since the Sept. 14 Democratic mayoral primary loss of Fenty. She campaigned on his behalf and questioned whether Gray had the political will to make the unpopular decisions she believed were necessary to sustain school improvement in the District.

Gray has repeatedly said that he supports an ambitious program of school reform but does not believe that changes depend on a single person. In an interview with the Post last week, he said that if Rhee departed, he would seek to name a replacement who shared many of her values and not a vet­eran who had spent several decades in top school jobs. He specifically ruled out Rhee’s predecessor, Clifford Janey, whose name had circulated widely as a possible replacement for her.

After more than three years in the job, Rhee’s tenure already is the longest of any D.C. chancellor or superintendent of the past two decades. Measures of student performance generally improved during her time in the job but sagged in a round of test results released in August, a month before the primary vote.

Rhee removed most doubts about her future as chancellor the day after Fenty’s defeat, when she told an A-list audience at the premiere of the education documentary “Waiting for Superman” that Fenty’s defeat was “devastating” for the city’s school children.

She quickly sought to re-cast the comment, saying that it was not a criticism of Gray. But the declaration underscored the expectation that her time as chancellor would soon end.

Rhee’s goals--higher student achievement, better-quality teachers and greater accountability for their classroom performance--were generally shared by Rhee’s predecessors. But with new powers putting the struggling school system under mayoral control, Rhee pursued the goals with an unprecedented zeal.

She closed schools by the dozens, fired teachers by the hundreds and spent more than two years negotiating a labor contract that gives principals new control over teacher hiring while establishing a new performance-pay system that ties compensation to growth on student test scores.

Lots more coming; stay tuned to PostLocal.com. The latest story is here.


--Tim Craig and Bill Turque

By Terri Rupar  | October 12, 2010; 8:10 PM ET
 
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Comments

Maybe in your next job you will learn some Ree-spect. Go hard or go home. LOL

Posted by: msdooby1 | October 12, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Gray is a dick head for letting her go. He can go to hell.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | October 12, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

I will miss Rhee's dedication to reform and willingness to make tough choices. I hope Gray fulfills his pledge to hire someone who will continue the reform movement and not some WTU flunky.

Posted by: lipschitzantwon | October 12, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Reopen Lorton.....

Posted by: SilverSpringSteve | October 12, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

This is the city's loss. Well, this is the consequence of voters deciding that they'd rather forego hard reforms in favor of someone who'll do things the "DC way." Attaboy, DC voters... you stay classy.

Posted by: jacket96 | October 12, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Since she lost her boss his election, I'd say it's about time to go. Good riddance!

Posted by: cprach | October 12, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Grey just wants to make sure all the taxpayers school taxes go to his teachers union backers, and doesn't give a rats a-- about the kids. When you give people a monopoly, you remove any incentive they might have to be responsive to taxpayers.

Posted by: hdc77494 | October 12, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations to Michelle Rhee for having survived the gauntlet of DC's racial politics longer than any other DC schools leader in the past 20 years. Another indication of the excellence we had and will soon lose.

Perhaps Gray can find a black face to carry on the mission to the consternation of the WTU bigots and change-phobes.

Posted by: confounded | October 12, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Rhee will bounce around across the country, always leaving before the chickens come home to roost.

Posted by: foldingtime | October 12, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

I think everyone saw this coming a mile away...I'm sad she is leaving. I think she is making the wrong choice...she should have at least tried to work w/Gray, at least through a transition.

Bitter Bill-seriously? Name calling?

Posted by: DCJUSTICE | October 12, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

How dare you put kids ahead of people using the teaching profession to achieve a middle-class lifestyle! Better dumb kids than unemployed lazy teachers. As for Mayor Fenty, you can fix DC but it had better not upset the Black community. So what if you improved the city? We want a leader that will allow us to believe that everything is okay. Time and tide will wait on us to figure out that education is the answer.

Posted by: rcvinson64 | October 12, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Rhee's resignation is a great victory for mediocre teachers, union reps, and race-baiters.

Posted by: terencef100 | October 12, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if the Post will hold it's deadline so a certain couple of columnists can get their digs in? But, much like many celebrity obits, they probably have their drivel ready to download off their laptops, only stopping breifly to fill in the time & date of the details.

Thx,

Jay!

Posted by: jayrockers | October 12, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Sure, what she meant to say was that Vincent Gray will be a wonderful mayor and do a wonderful job with the schools; that's why Fenty's defeat was "devastating" for D.C. schoolchildren. I can see why people don't like her: an obnoxious showboater who talks out of both sides of her mouth. I congratulate Mr. Gray on his dignity and restraint in dealing with this obstreperous jerk.

Posted by: AdrianMole | October 12, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Folks still give this woman much more credit than she ever deserved. Firing teachers and closing schools hardly makes for a good chancellor. Teacher and student morale should have been paramount. She will not really be missed by most District residents. Get somewhat with less hype and more experience and compassion.

Posted by: wpost36 | October 12, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Folks still give this woman much more credit than she ever deserved. Firing teachers and closing schools hardly makes for a good chancellor. Teacher and student morale should have been paramount. She will not really be missed by most District residents. Get someone with less hype and more experience and compassion.

Posted by: wpost36 | October 12, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Only two weeks notice is what Rhee thinks DCPS’ children deserve. Rhee tells the world that the DC’s children come first, but she couldn’t wait until January 1st to resign-- what a freakin hypocrite!

Rhee represents a new breed of poverty pimps-- the ivy leaguers.

Posted by: GoldCoast | October 12, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

WPost and GoldCoast... you now got what you have wanted for 2 months..
Now you are complaining?
you didn't care if she gave them 2 weeks .. or 1 day.. you wanted her gone.
and compassion isn't missing.. its what she has for the system.. which is why the kids are now getting an education...

Thank you Ms. Rhee from many of the DC Parents for all you have already accomplished for the kids.

Posted by: pdv1 | October 12, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Lord thank you Lord for answering Prayers . God is. So good. He knew that she was going to make it so hard. For e. Black students of Dc. Now let support One City

Posted by: Darksecrettt | October 12, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

No surprise here. DC's entrenched education bureaucrats and political hacks will always prefer more of the same mediocrity in public schools to real reform. They're more concerned about their influence and their jobs than giving the children a quality education. I really can't blame the president for sending his kids to private schools. At least he can afford that option, unlike most parents in the District.

Posted by: ExPatYankee | October 12, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Darksecrettt, can you tell us exactly what it is you're thankful for, and why you should be thankful (more than just "because she's gone... yeahh!!!")

Posted by: jacket96 | October 12, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

... and so ended the reign of one of the most destructive and racially divisive figures in the long history of DC politics: Michelle A. Rhee.
________

Go, Rhee, and sin no more ... and you are welcome to take your masking tape, 1930s racial comedy ("Lordy, Miss Rhee"), pink slips, hidden agendas, and broom with you. Mark it, October 13, 2010, the day the People were free of Rhee.

People, stand up and shout and finally RHEE-JOICE! Free at last.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 12, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Major Gray, after Michelle A. Rhee leaves, make sure to borrow her famous broom and use it to sweep out her hundreds of imbedded uncredentialed "Rhee-bots."

And ...

This Thanksgiving, add Rhee leaving as one more thing to be thankful for. :)

[Cheering is heard throughout the city.]

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 12, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

I AIN'T SAD TO SEE HER GO ~ she was only a Fenty crony - one of many on his payroll and donkey tail. Expect many more of his friends and his wife's friends to be displaced, and/or quit cause they can't do the job as intended. None of them had interest of all DC students in mind. I can only hope that SOMEONE truly has the guts and answers to motivate, elevate and empower kids to make something of themselves besides standing on the corner. I can only Hope Rhee lands in Newark, NJ. Enuf said.

Posted by: PSolver | October 12, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Rhee, Bert Gordon told us to tell you: Don't be thinking of walking back into a big city school system ever again. Word's out on you.

Just sayin'.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 12, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Kudos to Mayor Gray for not bowing to the daily bullying of the Post and others by keeping Rhee.

[Yeah, Mayor, we are pretty sure the Come-to-Jesus meeting you had with Rhee that left her crying was to present her with exit papers.]

Strong men keep a' comin'.

[More cheers throughout the United States.]

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 12, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

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