Friday, February 10, 2012

King to Stay at Lowell After All (But for how long?)

As reported by the Times' Brian Rosenthal:

It’s been quite an interesting few days for Gregory King, Capitol Hill’s Lowell Elementary and Tacoma’s Bryant Montessori School.

But today, Seattle and Tacoma officials made clear that everything is back the way it was a week ago: King is Lowell’s principal and Bryant is searching for a leader.

Apparently the district hadn't told Tacoma about the investigation at Lowell.  

The results of the special investigation are set to be released in the next two weeks, Rogers said. It is being conducted by Cristin Kent, a Seattle attorney who also conducted the district’s investigation into its infamous small-business minority-contracting program.

It would be interesting to know if Tacoma had asked King if he had anything in his professional background that he thought he should disclose to Tacoma (I've seen that on applications before).  

30 comments:

Shannon said...

Its so much nicer to have things like this happen to other people. Honestly, I know nothing about the back-story but the whole thing makes me cringe. Interestingly, at the Lincoln tour today for incoming APP families, many had not realized that Mr King was not the APP Principal at present and I was asked (with some concern) about what was going on 'with that'.

Nauseous said...

Yes, it's always nicer when others' lives are put on hold and plans destroyed. I'm sure you didn't mean it that way-or maybe you did, but yikes. I can't imagine what it's like to have your career decided in the press without hard evidence.

I know nothing about it either, but wouldn't it be a damn shame if Mr. King is exonerated and would have been a good fit in Tacoma?

NESeattleMom said...

Isn't Mr. King still in charge of Lowell at Lincoln? I know that Rina (can't remember spelling of last name, or I would say Ms. G...) was promoted to a full principal, but I never heard that Mr. King was not at least nominally still in charge of the APP program.

joanna said...

Yikes, for King and the students at Lowell. I often wonder how are the students and staff that are still actually in Lowell School? How are they doing. How many of them are there? Who are they? Some of the TT Minor refugees must still be there and after all the upheaval to have this type of rumor and crisis there too cannot be a good for anyone.

joanna said...

Yikes, for King and the students at Lowell. I often wonder how are the students and staff that are still actually in Lowell School? How are they doing? How many of them are there? Who are they? Some of the TT Minor refugees must still be there, and after all the upheaval, to have this type of rumor and crisis there too cannot be a good for anyone.

Michael H said...

@Melissa: "Apparently the district hadn't told Tacoma about the investigation at Lowell."

Really?? You really have to ask/say that? That kind of information is not legally disclosable for job references.

That is not to say that someone should have passed the word, but legally they can't do it.

Anonymous said...

Actually, they legally are. If Tacoma had hired him and found out that the SPS staff who gave him postive recommendations were aware of his having engaged in acts contrary to the code of professional conduct for certificated staff, SPS would be on the hook and any certificate holder (including the Sup) could've be subject to loosing thier teaching/administration licensure.

ITK

Melissa Westbrook said...

Michael, I have seen/heard questions in job reviews where the company has asked, "Is there anything you feel we should know about this candidate?"

I have also seen/heard this asked at job interviews "Is there anything you feel we need to know about you that we haven't asked?"

I think it is legal to ask the question. Whether a company or candidate chooses to answer the question is another thing.

The company doesn't have to ask if there is/has been any type of investigation/legal action with a candidate; they can ask if there is anything the district thinks they need to know.

Eric B said...

What an employer tells a prospective employer in a job reference is extremely tricky legally. If you give a good reference and the employee turns out to be a dud, you can be sued by the new employer. If you give a bad reference, you can be sued by the employee. Most large employers will only confirm dates of employment when asked for a reference for this very reason. I'm not even allowed to tell a prospective employer anything about people who used to work for me. They have to go to HR, who only confirms dates.

Info could theoretically be passed on the QT, but the people who know about the investigation may not be the people who know he's looking for another job.

Dorothy Neville said...

Eric, someone in education told me that on the applications for school positions in several districts she has seen a box to check Yes/No "Are you currently under investigation?" I have not verified this myself.

Anonymous said...
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Po3 said...

I think the bigger question is why did SPS re-hire an employee, who was under investigation and who had voluntarilyresigned?

Anonymous said...
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mirmac1 said...

In private enterprise circles it is common knowledge that HR give minimal info (e.g. date of hire, date of separation). I know that King County follows this maxim. When we are talking about public funding for which someone MIGHT be accountable, the info provided should be clearly laid out by code or fiat. Because we're not talking about unaccountable investor or privately-held interests, rather this is taxpayer money that oughta be traceable to use and outcome. Of course, when you are Bill Gates, who give a rip?

ITK said...

There are special laws for school districts and a standard screening form that has to be used. If SPS failed to disclose the investigation and Tacoma hired him and then found out that SPS withheld the information, any SPS certicate holder who gave reference information and failed to disclose could potentially loose thier certificates. I have it on good authority that King's references included MGJ, SE, Nancy Coogan, and a Deputy General Counsel. There can be no logical way that SE, NC, and legal didn't know about the investigation. SPS is lucky Tacoma backed out or they would have been in deep to professional practices.

Eric B said...

I didn't know school districts had different rules. Thanks for the clarification. The approach of just listing dates of employment does go into some public agencies, for example Seattle City Light.

Shannon said...

#Nauseous: I am sorry if my comment was ambiguous. I think the whole thing is painful to all concerned. Rephrasing "I cannot imagine going through this myself, its too awful to contemplate and I am glad I don't have to."

There are other people involved - his school, his family, staff, friends and enemies. I don't see this issue playing out publicly helping anyone right now.

Anonymous said...
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Melissa Westbrook said...

I can only say that the people (including myself) who knew about this investigation remained silent for months.

I was informed this investigation was near conclusion and would become public. I said nothing.

But Principal King brought it into the public eye early by choosing to move mid-year to a new school, a new district, knowing the investigation was soon to be public. Times' reporter, Brian Rosenthal, through his own sources, found out about the investigation (which was confirmed by SPS) and wrote about it when Mr. King announced his resignation.

I'm not sure the word "enemies" is appropriate. He may have supporters and detractors but I do not believe anyone was out to get him.

Anonymous said...

No mirmac - you aren't making sense. Public money is indeed at stake when former co-workers (at a public entity) can shoot down the job chances for somebody through the process of reference checking. Prospective employees can then sue for damages. Really, the whole business of "checking references" is ridiculous, fraught with innuendo, and unlikely to produce any good results for the hiring bodies. Candidates only give references they know and who are going to say the good things. That is a bias too. It should be discounted.

-reader

dan dempsey said...

Candidates only give references they know and who are going to say the good things.

Many jobs require contacts for each current and former supervisor be listed, so that direct phone contact can be made.

I would seem that in this situation several supervisors would have been listed.

Anonymous said...

So many people seem to know what's going on and I don't. Feels like a lock out. I sort of wish, Melissa, you'd quit removing posts!

(Just venting...)
n...

StopTFA said...

On a (marginally) related note, I find it interesting that the TFA applications for conditional certificates included, for the most part, the local TFA admin people. Hey! That's all you need when "circumstances warrant"!

mirmac1 said...

reader,

we are in agreement. That is why King County admin refuses to give anything more than name, rank, dogtag number (in a manner of speaking).

StopTFA said...

What I meant to say is, TFA candidates gave TFA administrators as references on their applications for certificates (and jobs I would bet). I'm sure the administrators were very objective...; ]

Melissa Westbrook said...

N, we have policy on anonymous comments, no matter what they say. Charlie and I are trying to be committed to this policy for fairness for all. I can't reprint them all. Our policy is right above the comment box.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous comments are against the rules, but a comment signed with a pseudonym is okay?

This doesn't really make sense. If someone signs a comment with a pseudonym, isn't that pretty much the same as posting an anonymous comment?

I'm confused.

Anonymous said...

I just noticed your response to me, Melissa. I'm laughing. I was frustrated because I thought you were removing posts because of content and I wanted to know the good parts!

I understand well your preference for us to become familiar and identifiable voices. I like that, too.

n...

SkritchD said...

Do you know when is the investigation into Principal King is supposed to be concluded and brought public? March, this school year, summer?

SkritchD said...

OK, I see per an article on Saturday, February 11, by Brian M. Rosenthal, results of the special investigation are to be released in the next two weeks, which is this weekend. Not sure which of the couple of issues are being investigated, but I guess we find out shortly.
2012http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/avantgo/2017478944.html