Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Queen Anne Elementary Principal Leaves

Second Update:  There will be a rally and petition signing tomorrow, Friday the 23rd, at 9:15 am at Queen Anne Elementary.  

Update: a parent sent me a reply from Ms. Pritchett.  I won't print it in full because I don't know if it a general parent letter but basically she stated:

- that it was Mr. Elliott's choice to go "on leave."  That's a bit odd because her first letter to parents said he resigned.  I could be wrong but resigning generally means leaving the place of employment.  Leave is walking away for awhile while some matter gets settled.  

end of update

This is quite stunning as David Elliott was a dedicated principal who left one school, Coe, to helm the start-up of Queen Anne Elementary.  I know many parents are saddened and upset and want answers.

One parent told me he/she feels certain it is not a health issue as Mr. Elliott is unlikely to have started the school year only to leave so abruptly.

Also the Executive Director does not say that he is going on to another school in SPS.

I can only add that the highest number of complaints I ever hear about from readers about an executive director is about Sarah Pritchett.  

Seattle Schools has lost a great principal.
Dear Queen Anne families and staff,
The purpose of this letter is to inform you Queen Anne Principal David Elliott has given notice that he intends to take leave from his principal position and will be resigning at the end of his contract. 
Amy McCue Jessee will be serving as interim principal to support the Queen Anne Elementary students, staff and families, effective Thursday, October 22. Ms. McCue Jessee is currently the assistant principal at Coe Elementary School, and is a former principal of Meridian Park Elementary in the Shoreline School District. Prior to that position, she served as an Assistant Principal and a Program Manager for the Shoreline School District’s Early Childhood Special Education Preschool Program. She also served as a Program Manager for an elementary-level special education program for students with emotional/behavioral needs within the Shoreline School District. Her background includes areas of focus on instructional leadership, implementing the school-wide positive behavioral system (PBIS) and offering school-wide support of diverse students in need of interventions and/or enrichment. Amy earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Notre Dame in 1992, as well as two Masters degrees from the University of Washington – a Master’s in Education and in Social Work. She received her Principal and Program Administration certification from the Danforth Program at UW in 2004. She is the proud parent of two elementary aged daughters who attend Montlake Elementary School in Seattle.
We understand that a sudden change is school leadership may cause students to have questions about what is happening. Here are some tips for talking with your student at home if they have questions: 
  • Remain calm and reassuring. Parents often set the tone and students take their cues from parents and adults.
  • Be a good listener and observer.  Notice when students have questions and seem to want to talk.
  • Do not share speculative information or rumors, as these can cause confusion, frustration and anxiety.
  • Encourage your student to not put too much stake in speculation and rumors shared at school, as, again, they can cause confusion, frustration and anxiety.
  • Answer questions factually. If you don’t know an answer, simply be honest and say so.
I want to thank the Queen Anne staff and community for continuing to ensure strong teaching and learning. Queen Anne is a great community, and I know that our caring, supportive circle of parents and staff will be able to help our students remain focused on all the positive aspects that make Queen Anne an amazing learning environment.
We’d like to thank David for his years of service to Queen Anne Elementary and the community. He is a caring educator and we wish him a successful future. 
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Sincerely,
Sarah Pritchett
Executive Director
Central Region
sjpritchett@seattleschools.org

193 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why is a executive director's wife working as a principle? It would seem SPS would have a policy against this.

WTF

Melissa Westbrook said...

You mean, a principal? Who is this? (Readers, I really don't like cryptic stuff with no follow-up.)

Anonymous said...

O'Captain my Captain!

- dps

Anonymous said...

She's the wife of Wyeth Jessee, the SPED Director? for SPS. I just googled her name to check this and she owns a house with him, so I assume she's his wife.

Momof2

Anonymous said...

I have no idea what is up with the David Elliott health situation.

What one parent "feels" may be completely irrelevant.

I do know that health is often impacted by working conditions. Lousy working conditions contribute to rising blood pressure and erratic sleep patterns as well as more serious problems. No idea if this is relevant to this situation. Sometimes immediate resignations can be the result of newly found serious health problems.

I do hope that Mr. Elliott's health recovers. Remember his health is his business not ours.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

We have indeed lost a great principal, one who was the main reason many families chose the school in the first place. There's no doubt he was fired. The QAE Community is shocked - not just on the action taken, but also the form letter communication without answers or parent involvement or discussion.

- B

Tina Podlodowski, QAE parent said...

There is no health condition, and it appears the entire "resign" thing is involuntary and David has a lawyer and will fight Sarah and SPS.

This is really messed up and political situation, taking a "star" principal down because he will not "kneel" tot he district handlers.

Expect more from QAE and come join us.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Another brick in the wall.... cutting teachers from schools, forcing out excellent leaders (the ones who can think for themselves)......Just watch the senior admin get their fat raises for jobs well done.

Time for a revolution.
Take back our schools.

time is right




Anonymous said...

Remember Martin Floe? He was fired until the crap hit the fan with parents at Ingraham. And then that crap hit the front page of the Seattle Times. And then suddenly he was no longer fired.

Fight for a great principal.

DistictWatcher

P.S. The executive director in that fiasco, longtimers will remember Bree Deausault (sp?) lef the district shortly afterward. Double win.

Robert Cruickshank said...

Yet another reason why we need a new Superintendent - and a school board that won't tolerate this kind of behavior from an Executive Director. Or maybe even a Superintendent and board that will rethink whether we need Executive Directors at all.

Anonymous said...

Executive directors cause nothing but harm. We should not have them at all.

-sleeper

Anonymous said...

Humm...

"We’d like to thank David for his years of service to Queen Anne Elementary and the community. He is a caring educator and we wish him a successful future.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Sincerely,
Sarah Pritchett"


So ... perhaps it is time for a great many parents to ask questions to a lot of people involved in administrative decision-making and especially school directors.

Is this yet another example of the need for a complete overhaul of Top-Down edits from highly paid bureaucrats that add nothing to maximizing the educational opportunity of each child in the SPS? Is this a fundamental part of the Strategic Plan? Is this Board Policy?

Is this the type of stability voters desire?

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Wow. This is shocking. I was hoping to option my child in to 1st grade at QAE next year. I wonder what this means for the program? So sad, such a blow to our cluster.

Mag mom

Anonymous said...

ITK, I agree with your post. We're in the NE. Our Ed Director has been driving principals out too. They have just chosen to leave, not fight like David Elliott.
Again, why do we need Ed Directors? Who are they helping? I know there is one Ed Director that is really good, but the others not so much.
NE

mamashines said...

Is this the same ED for Lowell Elementary?
Liz H.

Anonymous said...

I have a question as we moved to QA because both Coe and QAE were so highly recommended.

We were worried about McClure but I hear that is a school that is doing better but is this Pritchett woman the same woman that ran that school.

I heard quite a bit but I was not sure if it was gossip or just a bad story repeated and magnified over time.

What are ED Directors? Former Principals who they can't fire and so they promote them with hopes they will leave.

Did this not happen at another school in the SE where a AP left immediately and a Prinicpal quit with a month to go before school ended.

I am worried that we made a wrong choice and should have moved East.

- Good to Know

Anonymous said...

If it's schools your worried about - then yes, you should have moved Eastside or Mercer Island. Seattle Public Schools suck.
Not to say individual schools are not good (they can be but this is in spite of SPS not because of). There is no certainty or stability here and mismanagement everywhere you look. Would love to be in a school district that did not need a blog devoted to it (don't get me wrong, this blog is great and necessary to highlight dysfunction and mobilize parents - I just wish it wasn't necessary!).

Frustrated

Anonymous said...


Dear Queen Anne:


Fight back, NOW and LOUDLY


Make a HUGE stink


Contact TV news, contact NPR, contact The Stranger and PI and Seattle Times


IF your community stands united, you can 'pull an Ingraham'. Bring him back, or, at least choose an interim while he recuperates.

I don't live in your hood, but, I remember watching Mr. Elliot testify before the Board during growth boundaries. He was an excellent speaker. I remember thinking at the time 3 things:

he is smart, very dedicated and focused,
he is ballsy,
and
he will pay for this

Looks to me like they got him. He came to speak for you when you needed help; repay that kindness and speak for him.

Coe families, join the fight. Your PTA should reach out to QAE and find out where to point your communications of support.

And yes, lay off all EDs and save the teachers. The district function without EDs just fine before Enfield implemented them a few years ago. Too many generals, not enough soldiers.

PRO ELLIOT

Anonymous said...

Message from Franz Coe principal to parent community.

From the Principal
I am writing this article with some sad news for Coe Elementary. Amy Jessee and I were notified yesterday that the district will place Amy at Queen Anne Elementary as interim principal starting immediately—tomorrow, Thursday, October 22nd. This was not a position that Amy sought, yet she is a district team player and is willing to go and do an outstanding job where she is directed. Queen Anne Elementary will be so fortunate to have her.

This is an interim principal position and we were assured it will be posted in the near future. It is our hope that Amy could return to Coe once Queen Anne Elementary finds a new principal, yet realistically we know this could take many months.
Who will help lead Coe in Amy’s absence, you wonder? At this time an assistant principal has not been determined, but you can be sure I will be pressing the district to locate a substitute in the very near future.
Virginia

From the Assistant Principal
It is with a heavy heart that I write this note of thanks/“goodbye for now" message to all of you. I have loved every minute of my time spent at Coe both learning from and learning with all of you. I am not sure where to begin so a simple "thank you" will have to suffice for now. In all honesty, I am flooded with numerous emotions as I leave this wonderful community. 540 of these emotions center around each and every one of the students I see daily. Oh, I will miss them – their spirit, their energy, their diverse talents, and spark for learning.
Then, double that number to almost 1000 and this represents you - the incredible parents/family members of our wonderful students. I have witnessed your dedication in so many ways – volunteering, working in classrooms, attending fun Coe events, and supporting our teachers in every way. There are still more reasons for my sadness...
50 of them center around having to leave our incredibly talented Coe teachers and staff. I feel so privileged to have worked side by side with such an impressive, top-notch, professional team (and did I mention how fun they are?). The Coe staff does indeed rock beyond all measures. Lastly, I have 1 more reason – my boss, Virginia. It takes an amazing leader to lead an amazing school and Coe has one. I am grateful that she hired me and grateful for her leadership at Coe. Again, thank you to all of you for all that you do. I think the world of you and will miss you. So, goodbye for now. Be safe, be kind, be Coe. I’ll be thinking of you all.
Warmest regards,
Amy

Community member

Po3 said...

Wow.

Coe is also impacted. Forcing transfers, never a good idea.

What a mess.

SPS Mom said...

Anyone else wondering about the timing of this announcement? Too late for the community to organize a response for the board meeting?

Melissa Westbrook said...

First of all, unless it's pertinent - no more gossip. I do think it odd if a teacher is married to a principal but beyond that, not my business.

Second, The letters from the Coe leaders are interesting in that neither references Elliott who used to work there. Probably a little CYA there.

Some of you may not have noticed but I updated the addresses for senior staff. See that one, Mike Starosky? He's the Chief of Schools who oversees the Ex Dirs. It's

mpstarosky@seattleschools.org

Write to HIM.

Maureen said...

Ok, so none of the Ed Director positions, let alone a "Chief of Schools" existed before MGJ/Enfield, correct?

PRO ELLIOT is right: Make a stink. Pull an Ingraham. Fund the teachers, not the EDs. Mr Starosky can supervise the Principals himself.

Watching said...

Was QA Elementary going to loose 3 teachers?

Anonymous said...

There were Level Directors long before MJG/Enflied. They used to supervise principals by grade bad instead of region, ie Ammon McWashington was high school, Ruth Medsker was middle school, and three people (can't remember the names, didn't have an elementary kid then) for elementary. They reported to the Chief Academic Officer along with the program managers for Sp Ed, HC, ELL etc. Enflied didn't replace herself with a CAO, but added the Deputy Sup, the Associate Sups and other types Executive Directos into the mix. Now it sounds like Mike S and Micheal Tolley are both doing the old CAO job, at far greater pay times 2. But no more effectively. Mike is a good guy, but reigning in EDS who have more experience (in their minds at east) who have been given wide power, tough task.

-ITK

Maureen said...

ITK, thanks for the perspective. So, would it be fair to say that the shift to regional governance and chain of command (away from the CAO), changed the position to less of academic oversight (where the person could be an expert on H.S. curriculum and issues) to more of a management position (perhaps more focused on capacity and HR issues than academics)? Not that I ever heard that Ammon McWashington was particularly expert in HS curriculum issues, but the potential was there.

At the time, I thought he shift to regional supervision made sense (if only because the Directors didn't have to drive to every corner of the city.) But it seems like it has had some problematic consequences.

If nice guy Mike can't reign in his direct reports, what purpose does he serve? (Not to be mean, and remember, I'm the one who wants him to take over the whole thing himself!)

Po3 said...

Interesting update on the "leave" versus "resigned" verbiage.

QAE and Coe parents, connect and mobilize you now have the power of two school communities to push back. You may not get your leaders back, but you may be able to force the district to address the issues w/ your ED.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Mr. Starosky has very good credentials and, in fact, this kind of situation should be right up his alley. It will be interesting to see how he handles the first public issue for his tenure.

Anonymous said...

Before getting out the torches and pitchforks, I'd try to get more information. David likes to do things his own way, they way he believes is best for his school, and he end runs the district when he deems it necessary, which might be more often than it really is necessary. I would highly doubt he was fired for opinions or speaking out, but likely for doing something his own way that was in conflict with district policy. So you have a highly popular principal on one side, who may believe he is untouchable because he has a strong (politically and financially) parent community behind him, and an unpopular ED on the other side. But what we don't know is what really happened to precipitate the firing. And is it ok if someone popular does something counter to policy? Does it depend on the policy? And whether or not the punishment is proportional? Before I'd stake out a position, I'd demand to know more. But it had better be a serious issue to justify the disruption to the kids, teachers and families in that school.

Practically Speaking

Melissa Westbrook said...

How is a principal strong "financially?" Please clarify.

QA parent said...

I think Practically Speaking was saying the QAE community is financially and politically strong.

Anonymous said...

Practically Speaking wrote:

" I would highly doubt he was fired for opinions or speaking out, but likely for doing something his own way that was in conflict with district policy. "

Could be .... but .... Kind of hilarious really, the part in conflict with district policy. So how often is district policy enforced or for that matter even noticed?

Thanks for the amusing thought.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

@Melissa, I appreciate your reminder about gossip, as this all seems highly speculative at this point. However, I disagree that it is "odd" for a principal to be married to a teacher. Unless they are at the same school (awkward for them), it is not odd at all for people who work in the same field to be married to one another. Educators are people too (even EDs, so maybe don't call them witches)!

-Teacher's Spouse

Anonymous said...

Melissa, "strong (politically and financially) parent community" is what I wrote. QA Parent understood correctly.

Dan, I agree that the district is pretty random in enforcing policy.

Practically Speaking

Ann D said...

This ties in with both the Alliance break discussion and with this one... I've been thinking that we need to have school communities take back their schools from this disfunction. It goes back to the school leadership structure of the BLT established through board policy some 20 years ago and not enforced at any point in the district management.

Many schools do not have fully functioning BLTs, I would muster that most do not. Meetings should be publicly posted and each school should have by-laws that are reviewed and updated annually and human resources should be ensuring this work is happening. Membership should be including representatives from the community and the student parents/guardians that are not appointed and are not posted from the PTA.

I see that there are probably issues due to enforcement of the board policies that created this school management structure, that HR has not been enforcing or hiring school leaders in support of these policies, and that lack of oversight and support by the executive directors is making the situation worse.

Our school-based management structure is actually more progressive than many but it is not being employed. I think that many other families who have been involved in cooperative preschools would understand what the potential is.

I think we need to start showing up and forcing BLTs to not use a decision-matrix established by the district but to really take on a true leadership role and help shift the priorities to ensure that basic learning tenets are being adhered to. The real challenge will be in trying to get the fiscal budget for the district to support the needed improvements at each school -- be they structural or staffing.

Your thoughts?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Teacher's Spouse, I was not clear - I meant at the same school.

Anonymous said...

He didn't do reviews. Capital offense, evidently.

Reader

Anonymous said...

Good to hear from you, Tina P. Methinks we have a real chance to stop these types of shenanigans with a new Board comprised of Geary, Harris and Burke, so I hope you all on Queen Anne vote accordingly. The wrinkle is that ill-conceived Ed Reform policies, borrowed from the corporate world is what lies behind a lot of these moves and a lot of that stuff took root in your area during DeBell's tenure. I can hear it in my mind now: "But, we need a TEAM player, Mr. Elliott. Can you be a TEAM player?"

Budgets are business, but good teaching is an Art, a Science, and, above all, a Profession, which should always be priority number one in SPS. If we start there, the right decisions will be made, in support of teachers, students, principals and families. If we start from the vantage point that low test scores - and the dreadful avoidance thereof - must drive everything, then we'll continue to spin our wheels and sacrifice more good people to that cause.

But this incident shines a spotlight on a bigger question: What do ED's do all day, and do we even need them?

It's a question that's long overdue and the onus is on the district and SI, not the Board, to justify their existence in the management structure, as it was the SI's office that created this org chart under MGJ.

WSDWG


Longhouse said...

"he is smart, very dedicated and focused,
he is ballsy,"

SSD administration will crush you ASAP if you're that combination and working for the district.


Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous. In any non-dysfunctional, non-dystopian, non-Kafka-esque district, Elliott would be front and center, lauded for school stewardship, faculty empowerment and most of all fostering the love of learning for students in the exact type of cutting-edge school that Seattle needs and craves...and it is Prtichard who would be shown the door.

We might all remember the most recent Pritchard debacle - when she and her office categorically refused to speak to parents over staff cut concerns. She singlehandedly quadrupled the community's dissatisfaction with SPS.

Compare with Elliott who earns nothing but plaudits from the people who really count here: students, their parents, the community at large and his school staff.

Someone at QA Elementary needs to take this matter to a head quickly. Get this on the front page of the Times. Get this on the public radio stations Get this onto TV. Most of all, get Elliott back in school where he belongs and get Pritchard out of the SPS system where she won't be doing more damage to our schools.

DistrictWatcher

Melissa Westbrook said...

"I see that there are probably issues due to enforcement of the board policies that created this school management structure, that HR has not been enforcing or hiring school leaders in support of these policies, and that lack of oversight and support by the executive directors is making the situation worse."

Again, the Board can say - to the Superintendent - that having parents are part of the decision-making at schools invites more family engagement. How can you argue against enforcement of board policies and more family engagement?

Ann D said...

Pritchett oversees Archer, the Stevens Elementary principal and is therefore complicit in the decision last year to not hire required staffing to support SPED students' legally required support services.

She is also aware that schools in her jurisdiction are out of compliance with board BLT policies -- including the absence of by-laws for years -- and still she retains her position.

I'm not a fan.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher, I am not at all supportive of Ed Directors. We used to have Phil Brockman. He was great. Our current Ed Director, Kim Whitworth is not! I agree with the comment about the witch, so I will reluctantly restrain myself. My experience is the our Ed Director is really negative; only focused on the external trappings of education instead of real teaching and learning. A cloud of negativity follows her around whenever she visits. Nothing is ever positive or good enough for her. We keep hoping she will be moved out of the NE. What I would give to have Phil back!
NE Teacher

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

NE teacher, thank you for connecting Pritchett to the other drag on principal leadership: Kim Whitworth. All hat, no horse. The full NE contingent mourns the departure of Phil Brockman and being stuck with the counterpart to Pritchett in management for management's sake aka bureaucracy trumps talent in district principal positions. Note the "pal" in princi"pal". The only way to remain in a position of strong school leadership in Pritchett and Whitworth's orbits is to follow a matrix of centralized nonsense. Watch how the principals get shuffled. The ed-director-principal co-dependent relationship is evident in both quadrants and is shameful. Strategic veteran teachers and principals know to duck and cover.

The casualties are not just QAE. TOPS lost a strong principal after last year for many of the same Education Director dissonance reasons report parents on Cap Hill. There are rumbles that Whitworth is politically working to do it to another school with a strong principal who has no time for worthless downtown directives. And now Elliott? Hasn't he won awards for his skills? The guy is flat out great and this move cannot pass the straight face test. I add my voice to the others: Rebel and do so loudly and pointedly. The problem is the Education Director(s) not these building leaders. What a load.

Seen it

Concerned QAE Parent said...

David Elliott is the heart and soul of Queen Anne Elementary. He's the reason I sent my child to QAE. This is a dark day for SPS and all the children and parents at QAE.

QA parent said...

David Elliott certainly seems to stand head and shoulders above many, many principals, and I hope this whole thing gets sorted out to the satisfaction of the QAE community. I just wanted to add that when this kind of thing happens, it makes me very wary. If things are good at my two kids' schools, I feel like I am waiting for the other shoe to drop - and for their principals to be moved somewhere else. We already lost an amazing new teacher at my youngest's school this fall, just a few weeks into the term, due to the enrollment numbers debacle, and were told flat out that there was nothing we could do to keep her from being transferred to another school. We should not stand for being jerked around like this. It is not right.

Anonymous said...

From what I know of Dave Elliot, he quit on the spot after a tiff with downtown.

Jonny Applesauce

Anonymous said...

Dear Jonny Applesauce,

There sure is a lot to "tiff" about with downtown.

It is way past time to restructure SPS into a site-based organization. This will allow many downtown bureaucrats to pursue other competitive employment opportunities, where their skills are in demand. There must be lots of those available as their salaries were consistently raised ... I guess to prevent them from going elsewhere.

-- Dan Dempsey

Candid said...

Sarah Pritchett was especially weak when working with parents. It would be best for all if she stays in her office and let others deal with this. Former school board member shook his head when her name popped up. Sad to say.

Anonymous said...

Yep. Elliot is great. Pritchett weak, weak, weak

Anonymous said...

Pritchett departure from McClure: Perfect example of Peter Principle.

QAE if you have ties to McClure from the Pritchett days, get together, discuss, get down to JSCEE pronto and get in the face of Nyland. He didn't promote her. He has everything to lose here and nothing to gain by defending this powerplay.

No disrespect to the Interim who was yanked from her own community, but without Elliott QAE will lose its tech focus faster than a rabbit on the run. There will be no knowledge and no willpower to deviate from SPS Bland. Parents will vote with their feet. The other local schools will be overpopulated with families fleeing a school they loved. I've watched this play out before. Downtown politics and a switcheroo of principals easily can destroy a school community and trigger enrollment havoc in nearby schools in less than two academic years.

Aged out

lowell parent said...

Unfortunately yea.
She ia barely competent

Anonymous said...

There have been unfortunate things happening within the schools of Lowell and Stevens too. That makes four schools impacted by what might best be termed 'a lack of productive district leadership'. QAE, reach out to the PTAs and parent contacts on Capitol Hill. There's a common cause.

Central

Tina Podlodowski, QAE parent said...

A statement from QAE Parents:

Seattle and Queen Anne Elementary want David Elliot reinstated as principal of our school. We believe this is an involuntary "resignation", and we do not accept it. We will demand a meeting with the District to discuss how David Elliot can be reinstated. We will continue to advocate for David Elliott until he is reinstated as principal.

David Elliott is the heart and soul of our school community. He is the reason we parents send our children here, the reason why children love to study here, and the reason why the teachers love to teach here. David Elliott is a visionary educator. David Elliott is loved by our students, who sense intuitively that he is deeply invested in their personal futures. And David Elliott is inspiring and creative to those he brings into our educational community to share in these values.

The District faces many problems, and has made many recent missteps. We know we are not alone in Seattle in demanding positive change from the District and from public education in general. A good start would be to keep the quality leaders and innovators we already have. The District should be asking David Elliott how to copy the successes of Queen Anne Elementary for the benefit of the entire District, instead of removing him for reasons we cannot believe would possibly be justified.

Over 200 QAE parents met today in various meeting to work to get David back - we're not going to rest for our school, and we stand ready to help other schools too.

As parents and families - we've all experience disrespect and dysfunction from the District, and we know QAE has been "lucky" to have David in our corner.

lowell parent said...

The whole revolving doors in regards to principals leaving is becoming absurd. Lowell elementary has had thee principals in four years;Gregory King then Marion Smith and now a third one. I'm fed up with the whole process and will consider private school to give my kids some consistent leadership. I am tired of teachers and principals leaving for better pastures mid year, with no regard for our kids.

In regards to Sara Pritchard, she is beyond not competent that it is mind boggling. She comes across as condescending and small minded. How could she have been put in her position, we will never know. Hate to say this but I miss Nancy Coogin.

Parent at Stevens said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
lowell parent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lowell parent said...

Unfortunately yea.
She ia barely competent

what were they thinking said...

Sarah Pritchett was his boss? Huh!

Parent at Stevens said...

Huh

Anonymous said...

If the review/evaluation failure comment earlier is true, then it may be legit. It is one thing that can get a principle canned. No ifs, ands, or buts.
-Sorry

n said...

Dave was always easy going and supportive of his teachers. I don't see that as the current profile of our new principals. Sounds pretty certain this is political and nothing healthwise or social. What I know of Dave is that he's independent much like Jon Greenberg. I wonder if there are similarities there. Two guys who by all appearances are working independently and doing an excellent job. People who think for themselves are no longer welcome in Seattle Schools. I'm very surprised.

Get rid of the damn directors.

what's going on said...

Why is all the focus on the executive directors. Maybe he was let go for something he did, or he just got a better job offer.

n said...

He needs a lawyer for a better job offer? Read the thread.

n said...

You know, Dave was a great elementary teacher. We don't have enough elementary principals who came from k-5 schools. My current is a middle school and so far everything is Seahawks and rah-rah. No understanding of elementary at all. Honestly, should go to a middle school. Really should.

Mad Parent said...

What's Going On:

It is highly unlikely that he left due to health reasons, or a better job, or let go because of something he did. There is no way in the first two instances that he would have left without saying goodbye and talking to the students and parents about it. As far as being let go for "something he did" we believe if it was that egregious he would be arrested! The district has a reputation for these kind of terrible decisions. Most likely he did not "toe the party line" and SPS wants their principals to follow their "rules" and submit to their authority. This was an unjust firing, plain and simple.

-Mad Parent

Anonymous said...

All the special education difficulties at Stevens last year and ongoing now ... including a citizens complaint that even ospi, who is always temporizing, had to come down on clearly for families ... and still pritchett has her job. not even questioned. it's her job, right? isn't she expected to do her job?

confused at stevens

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Reposting one of the anonymous comments that will likely be deleted:
"No matter how much the community adores David Elliott, I am surprised so many are willing to fight for his reinstatement without knowing the reason for termination. If he is not willing to make a public statement about it, there may be something that he prefers to keep private. A little more information is needed."

Kate

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Well, IF David's forced resignation was due to failure to complete evaluations, there are several Special Ed supervisors who should also be canned. Just ask the related service staff about their "evaluations" from supervisors who don't even know the evaluees job duties or where they actually work on a given day.

Actually, dismissing any of them is an over the top punishment, especially when THIS principal/evaluator is a superb leader who knows his staff, student and families, and has built a thriving, engaged learning community. Oh, I know. Take away the leader, leave the staff to scramble to do their best, and then make way for a traditional school in the overcrowded QA catchment area. Win-win for the district, lose-lose for the students and community. Same old , same old.

This situation need to be scrutinized as does Ms. Pritchett's behavior. Where can I sign up to provide specific examples of David Elliott's unparalleled professionalism?

Sped staffer

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Outsider said...

Just a note for those recently arrived from another planet, who wonder why the suddenly departed principal hasn't made a public statement regarding the reason for his termination. It would be common that any employment contract now days had specific terms making severance pay conditional on absolute silence regarding the termination. If they guy said a word, he possibly stands to lose a five-figure sum of cash. Perhaps he would prefer that no one would even speculate, so that he is not suspected of leaking the information.

To suggest that silence somehow discredits the guy is vicious, and whoever said that should be ashamed.

P.s. I know nothing about the case, but something about the world. Good grief.

Concerned QAE Parent said...

Change.org Petition - Bring David Elliott Back!

https://www.change.org/p/seattle-public-schools-larry-nyland-superintendant-seattle-wants-david-elliott-back?recruiter=61325194&utm_campaign=signature_receipt&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition

Anonymous said...

"he intends to take leave from his principal position and will be resigning at the end of his contract."

That means he was fired?

This seems to be an opportunity to attack the former McClure principal. She has her detractors in QA for sure, including a parent who hurled racial slurs at her in the McClure office on one occasion. But from students I know who were at McClure during her tenure there, she was an excellent principal-fair(very strict) and personable, knew the kids names, etc. She kept the kids safe and after Sandy Hook she was right there to increase security and keep the kids and the staff focused and calm.

There were parents who didn't like her. I felt there was some racial bias against her. She knew well the ways of northend white folk having attended Ballard High, and even in these post-racial times, she seemed to irritate the QA sensibility.

I'm a person who takes things as presented and update my opinion as facts are revealed. The words "take leave" and "resign" indicate this was Mr. Elliott's decision, for reason unknown at this time.

All the uproar is without merit, I feel. I am particularly surprised at Ms. Podlodowski rushing to attack the district administration when I presume she has no more information than anyone else. I know she's an advocate for transparency within SPS, but Mr. Elliott chooses not to speak and the district cannot speak, so we're all stuck with what we have for now.

When Martin Floe was fired and rehired, there was no pretense of him taking leave and resigning; he was fired and the district said as much. I think we should focus on keeping the good work continuing at QAE. If the school is dependent on one human being alone for it's success, that is a problem.

Trader Joe

QAE Dad said...

Trader Joe, understand your point, but Mr. Elliott shared his side of the story this morning (certainly vetted by his attorney). As a QAE parent I'm livid about how this happened and genuinely hope SPS can work with him and the community to get him back at school. Partial quote followed by a link to the whole letter:

"Why am I being asked to resign or be terminated?

I did not finish my teacher evaluations for last school year. Late in the school year I communicated to my Supervisor, Sarah Pritchett, that my evaluations would be delayed and shared the reasons why. No completion date was determined. On Monday, October 12, I was called to the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence and asked by Assistant Superintendent Michael Tolley if I had completed my evaluations. I indicated that I was still working on them. On Friday, October 16, I was notified that I would be terminated or could resign, and would have 15 minutes to make the decision. After contacting an attorney, I was given more time to decide and that is where we are today.

I made a serious mistake by not completing these and I feel a tremendous responsibility for allowing this to happen. After serving as a Principal for 15 years, in good standing, I am so deeply saddened for my staff, students, and parents, that the Seattle Public School district finds severing employment the only course of action."

Link to full letter:
http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=5a44499d9ee01280e0efca4e1&id=30437016e9

Anonymous said...

Trader Joe-

QAE Dad above knows far more about the QAE situation than I do (I only know what I read here), but I do know the school district. If you give the school district the benefit of the doubt (as you seem to be) than prepare yourself to be continually disappointed.

The district has burned so many parents, and completely destroyed any goodwill, that they better be specific about their actions - and bring an abundance of proof - if they expect anyone to believe them. Since the district is unable to communicate without obfuscation, this will be impossible for them to do.

If the situation is what QAE Dad lays out above, it is obvious the district was looking for a reason to get rid of this principal. This amount of disruption to kids and family should not happen unless there is neglect or potential danger to children. It sounds like this principal may have been fired for neglecting paperwork.

-fritter

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Totem said...

Principals do need to get these bogus evaluations done on time so the district can be able to say the entire system isn't a joke... but this just isn't a terminal offense. This is the sort of thing district administrators manufacture when they want to get rid of somebody.

There are no perfect people. The system is set up to make sure you make a mistake eventually so they have something on you if you ever question them or otherwise make trouble for them. It's like a cop following somebody they want to harrass -- if they follow you long enough eventually you'll make a lane change that's subjectively too fast or not come to an absolutely complete stop and you'll get a ticket.

Elliott wasn't the kind of person who just sat there silently and went along with the district's BS. They hate people like that and now they've picked off another.

They don't care about having genuinely talented, good people in charge. In fact, they are threatened by it and hate it when somebody better than they are at their job questions incompetence. Maybe that's not unique to SSD, but they seem to excel at it. It's a daily exercise in not seeing the forest for the trees.

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Maureen said...

Reposting for an SPS grad who didn't read the posting instructions (choose an alias next time):

Anonymous said...
Hi all,

I am a former student of David Elliott at Coe and of Sarah Pritchett at McClure. I just want to say that both were outstanding adults in my life. I don't think that is it fair to judge Mrs. Pritchett solely on this occasion. There has to be some incident for this to have happened. Unfair or not, both Mr. Elliott and Mrs. Pritchett were superb educators in my life. It seems unfair to me that commenters in this blog are attacking Mrs. Pritchett without actually having experience with her.

In speaking to the adults who are downgrading the SPS system, I really would advise you to put a little trust in it. I graduated from Ballard and am now at on of the top universities in the country. I find myself to be as prepared if not more prepared for college than my peers here at school. Many of my high school classmates have also gone on to great colleges and universities. You can continue to judge SPS on "test scores" or some other sort of rating system, but in my experience SPS did me very well.

I hope that this is some mistake and Mr. Elliot is reinstated. David was one of the key adults in my life at Coe Elementary. He has done amazing things for the Coe and QAE community. I hope he can continue to impact the QA community in a positive way

If this is the end of Principal David Elliot, I would just like to say thank you for the years of support that you have shown to me. Although I am a couple years older and a couple feet taller I am sure that you will still remember by name if we ran into each other on the street. You might even still remember my birthday.

Geo said...

reposting so this student's positive statement doesn't get deleted:

"Hi all,

I am a former student of David Elliott at Coe and of Sarah Pritchett at McClure. I just want to say that both were outstanding adults in my life. I don't think that is it fair to judge Mrs. Pritchett solely on this occasion. There has to be some incident for this to have happened. Unfair or not, both Mr. Elliott and Mrs. Pritchett were superb educators in my life. It seems unfair to me that commenters in this blog are attacking Mrs. Pritchett without actually having experience with her.

In speaking to the adults who are downgrading the SPS system, I really would advise you to put a little trust in it. I graduated from Ballard and am now at on of the top universities in the country. I find myself to be as prepared if not more prepared for college than my peers here at school. Many of my high school classmates have also gone on to great colleges and universities. You can continue to judge SPS on "test scores" or some other sort of rating system, but in my experience SPS did me very well.

I hope that this is some mistake and Mr. Elliot is reinstated. David was one of the key adults in my life at Coe Elementary. He has done amazing things for the Coe and QAE community. I hope he can continue to impact the QA community in a positive way

If this is the end of Principal David Elliot, I would just like to say thank you for the years of support that you have shown to me. Although I am a couple years older and a couple feet taller I am sure that you will still remember by name if we ran into each other on the street. You might even still remember my birthday."

What a great young person. We could all learn from this.

Geo

Melissa Westbrook said...

She knew well the ways of northend white folk having attended Ballard High, and even in these post-racial times, she seemed to irritate the QA sensibility.

I can't even fathom this sentence. Do we live in "post-racial times?" You'd have to define that period for me but frankly, it appears we are very racial divided in many ways. I also don't think painting one group of people "northend white folk" as having "ways" particularly helps the conversation.

To the young person who wrote in, thank you. We are actually not criticizing the district as a whole, our criticism is with central administration. I,too, think that we have some pretty good schools in our district.

As for Mr. Elliott's letter, a bit baffling and there is certainly subtext.

1)Why didn't he get those teacher evaluations done during the summer?
2)Why wasn't he given a timeline (or why didn't he ask for one)?
3) His actions seem a bit passive-aggressive as he had to have known this was going to be an issue. Maybe he wanted to push the envelope and, when he did, Tolley decided to nip it in the bud and really bring down the hammer. (Don't want those principals getting away with anything.)

So what was the real issue? Mr. Elliott is an experienced administrator so I'm sure he's done his share of evaluations. Does he not like this system? Or is it just the tip of things that he wished were different and he pushed back?

I suspect we'll never know but I think like with Floe, the district wanted to send a message to other principals that even if you do a good job and are well-liked, you need to follow all the rules that come from central adm. Or else it's hammer time.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Elliott's letter states there were "reasons" the evals hadn't been done yet. Maybe he had something in his personal life demanding time - we've all been there. We'll probably never know.

But I do think, unless he was given a specific deadline that he blew off, then this was a rather extreme response by SPS Admin. Yes, I do think he's been made into a sacrificial example of what SPS Admin expects from principals. People I know who have worked with him tell me he's not one to lie down and accept the "company line" willingly.

Whatever the reasons, hardly surprising tht it was poorly handled by SPS. Does anyone at JSCEE have clue about the real world? ack and double ack!

reader47

Anonymous said...

I guess I need to label things as being sarcastic. My bad on that.(sarcasm)

Maybe you missed the the last 7 years of people in the news talking about our society being post-racial since the election of an African American as president(sarcasm).

It looks like at least one student who actually knows Sarah finds all the negative comments to be contrary to their experience.

I think the personal attacks and mean-spirited attitude reflected in this thread detract from the credibility of the blog as a whole.

As far as Mr. Elliot, it sounds like he missed the deadline to make up his work and received an E on his report card(sarcasm).

Trader Joe

Mad Parent said...

Trader Joe:

First of all, since when is a "very strict" principal a "fair" one? These are very different things. In fact, I would say if Sarah is "very strict" then she is probably not "fair" and perhaps she held David to an unreasonable standard.

Also, suggesting our criticism of Sarah is influenced by racism is jumping to conclusions, and a very large leap indeed. I doubt that many QAE parents know the race/ethnicity of Sarah Pritchett-I know I sure don't.

-Mad Parent

Anonymous said...

@ Trader Joe. Go talk to the Stevens and Lowell communities then get back to us on the comments on this thread re: Pritchett. The baseline question is whether under her 'management' the schools have improved or are falling apart. Rinse and repeat for QAE.

Capitol

Anonymous said...

There is no point in dragging SP through the mud. You don't even know what she did. Maybe she supported DE and it was someone else's decision. Maybe DE quit in a huff. We know only what DE's attorney crafted for us to know. "Not finished" covers anything from 95% complete to 0% complete and no intention to do them. All we know for sure is that the QA community will support its popular principal, no matter what he did, because they love him. And they do not like SP. So whatever he did, Yay, and whatever she did or did not do, boo.

Facts be Damned

Anonymous said...

He didn't complete his evaluations. That is one of the basic requirements of the job. It is dictated by state law. It doesn't matter what his excuse is...if you can't do your job, take a leave. If I don't complete the fundamental responsibilities of my job, I lose my job. No matter how good I am at the rest of it. This one is pretty cut and dry. All the principals know it.

Maybe he is making a point and thought this one was worth losing his job over. If that's the case, kudos to him. That's how you stand for something you believe in.

QA Parent

Anonymous said...

Whoa. You can get fired or allowed to resign for not completing evaluations on time. I'm going to use this everytime I have to chase down SPS gatekeepers. Re: compliance and people not doing their jobs, I know it's nit picky, but what about IDEA laws or title IX...

maze runner

Campaign hat said...

"If I don't complete the fundamental responsibilities of my job, I lose my job. No matter how good I am at the rest of it. This one is pretty cut and dry."

No... it's not cut and dry.

You don't do your job perfectly... nobody does. So whoever your supervisor is makes an arbitrary decision about where the line is you have to cross to be fired. If they like you personally, that line is pretty far away. If they don't, it's back there.

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Anonymous said...

Repost for anonymous above.

And let's call this episode Floe II, shall we?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"Maybe he is making a point and thought this one was worth losing his job over. If that's the case, kudos to him. That's how you stand for something you believe in"

I cannot believe that Mr. Elliott was towing the line to become a martyr for enduring the bureaucracies involved with being a Seattle school principal. He signed on for that long ago and it just isn't his style. He was late on the deadline and they used it to show him the door because of past run ins he has had with SPS authority. This is an unfortunate case where they used something small to unseat a powerful voice.

Floe Too

Mad Parent said...

I find it hard to believe the Anon above who wrote: "If I don't complete the fundamental responsibilities of my job, I lose my job. No matter how good I am at the rest of it. This one is pretty cut and dry" and signed QA Parent is actually a QA parent. Just saying.

So can we fire the entire administration of SPS? Because they REALLY don't do their jobs.

-Mad Parent

Anonymous said...


It seems not difficult to prove retaliatory action by the district. One look at the failures of SPED managers to file paperwork that is federally mandated, compared to the number of managers canned for such practice, over years, should do the trick. Maybe we should tally how many principals have failed to file state-mandated CSIPs on time but haven't been fired. Maybe we should find out how many principals have violated student and family federal privacy laws but haven't been fired. Maybe we should investigate how the Garfield principal had a Title IX federal investigation breathing down his neck or more than one 'favor' done for athletes that caused city scandal, but wasn't fired. Maybe we should note that Floe was almost drummed out on the same type of issue but wasn't fired. Readers can add their own examples. A good lawyer is going to have a field day.

Floe Too

Anonymous said...

I'm a former McClure parent. Sarah Pritchett was the worst administrator imaginable. She did her best to chase off any competent staff and had 0 standards for those who remained. As long as staff didn't rock the boat - she was fine with it. My child was in a history class where there was never a schedule, never an assignment, never a reading material, and never a test. Nice if you're a kid - but horrible in the long run. She did nothing about this. And that wasn't one class, it was many similar classes. She had a few office cronies that sat around the whole day in the office, utterly closed off from the neighborhood she served, and the kids in the building. Office staff never had a clue of any kid's name - even though it was an extremely tiny middle school at that time - a fraction the size of the elementaries that feed into it. The office staff in every feeder school are amazingly the opposite. Bullying was rampant at McClure and never addressed. She did nothing about this. Sure some parents liked her. Parents who liked her, did so because she reluctantly supported a segregated "spectrum" program for the special kids (in their eyes). They valued segregation - so they liked it (and her as it's facilitator). But what they didn't know - she hated them too and did what she could to undermine them. The reality is - she hates the whole neighborhood. And this is just another way to show it. But maybe she's bitten off more than she can chew!

X-McC

Anonymous said...
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n said...

Well, I have a different perspective because this is happening with teachers: age discrimination. Who knows. He was late on the deadline and they used it to show him the door...

I'm sorry to guess here but it is happening at my school, it happened at Lowell at Lincoln and it is happening elsewhere. Getting rid of senior people may be for money or to get new teachers (not necessarily young) who are willing to tow the line without expressing independence in any way. I see it at my school. I've been told about it at others. Many of us have children whose parents are teachers and we talk. Dave is over sixty I believe. I think we have an administration that is digging in behind the walls of their fortress making the big bucks and looking down with scorn at the rest of us. I really do.

And Nyland? He's back from retirement. He of all people should know better. But he's making the big bucks now as well. We are in a bad way in this city.

It is curious to me that Dave didn't finish evaluations which he admitted. Maybe there's just too much paperwor for all of us now. And maybe he preferred to be a hands-on principal instead of a paper shuffler. I hope the district gets kicked in its over-paid fat arse.

Anonymous said...

Could be getting trolled here so I'll keep this brief : What is the comment "And let's call this Episode Floe 2, shall we" referencing. It doesn't appear anywhere else in the thread except when th comment is signed Floe II...

Any body know ?

Let me know,
Thanks

n said...

The QAE parents are protecting a principal that did not do the job.

Or maybe their sending a message that deadlines aren't always the best way to judge the performance of people.

Anonymous said...

Dear Thanks.

You and the rest of QAE need to read this 2011 history. The story will sound so familiar. Here is what happened after this story: Floe is still here. The ed director left shortly thereafter and not a loss. Now runs charter organizations out of an office down the street from JSIS. It was the beginning of the end of Enfield as Supe, too. She now works as the Shoreline supe.

Elliott needs to find out Floe's legal strategist and talk to Floe. Some blogger should pass this advice on to him.

http://www.seattletimes.com/education/firing-of-ingraham-principal-draws-fire/

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/backers-of-ousted-ingraham-principal-launch-petition-drive-to-win-job-back/

http://www.seattletimes.com/education/enfield-listening-to-ingraham-outcry/


http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/enfield-reverses-decision-to-fire-ingraham-high-principal/

Floe Too

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Thanks,
I just read all about it. Looks like at Ingraham Martin Floe's termination was based on performance scores of students in Elliot's case it was that he was at odds with the performance grading system of teachers and failed the deadline. Neither just reasons in my eyes as a QAE parent.

We can only rally as parents to do what the Ingraham parents did and go all out by showing up at the SPS meeting and staging rallies at the John Stanford Center.

We can get David Elliott back!!

Let's do it!
Thanks

Anonymous said...

N is correct about many Lowell at Lincoln teachers being forced out. So many excellent teachers gone because they wouldn't follow silly dictates of policy pushers. These were high-quality teachers that my kids will remember for the rest of their lives and ones who really made a difference to their lives.

I talked to Mr King (principal of Lowell at the time and the cause of the mass exodus), and he told me that he wanted all the classes at each grade level doing the exact same thing at the exact same time every day. I told him that sounded horrible and that I didn't want my child to go to school at McDonalds.

The district has been moving towards this type of factory education for years and it's sad. I am sorry for the teachers (I want them to be able to be creative and enjoy their jobs), and I feel sorry for the kids who have to be in this environment. We are trying to factory farm children.

-rugelach

Jan said...

I have to say -- I agree with Floe II (and also, I think, with Totem and reader47). I have no problem with requiring that he complete evaluations (though without knowing more about how teachers are evaluated -- I can't say whether I support the evaluation process per se -- just that -- if it is a requirement, he should do them). That said -- there are lots of other ways to skin this cat -- starting with giving him a firm deadline, a reprimand and (if necessary) a temporary "leave of assignment" until they are done (this all assumes that he had been given a deadline before and a chance to explain why so late). Really -- what would be so hard about a "sorry -- not sure how we let this slip, but it is a real problem. Please go home, finish them and submit them -- and you can return to the school when they are done. And no, we won't give you an extension next year."

Frankly -- that would be WAY more than what appears to have happened when Mr. Nyland blew past his obligation to get board approval for a contract in excess of $500,000; way more than has appeared to happen for any number of this like missing CSIP reports, late or missing information on Native American ed grants, etc.

This District needs to start valuing good principals MORE -- not less. Mr. Floe's continued success at Ingraham after the shameful attempt to can him years ago is Exhibit A. The sorry spectacle of weak leadership that the District continues to countenance in school after school is, unfortunately, Exhibit B through whatever.

Susan Enfield had the smarts to reverse course the LAST time an ED went so wildly off course. Here is hoping that Mr. Nyland has the smarts to do the same.

Maureen said...

I think Floe Too missed this one from Seattle Magazine in 2011 (about halfway down)!

The students, teachers and PTSA of Ingraham High School
Earlier this year, Ingraham High School became the epicenter of a powerful outcry against the sudden dismissal of beloved principal Martin Floe. “When asked for reasons, we were told that it was a personnel matter,” says Ingraham High School PTSA president Cindy Nevins, but the firing was widely reported to be related to concerns over school performance and test scores. So Nevins, along with the teachers, students and parents of Ingraham, came together to take action, gathering hundreds of signatures and holding a rally calling for his reinstatement. “We decided that even if it was futile, we wanted to try to get the superintendent to change her mind,” says Rosemary Daszkiewicz, a Queen Anne resident with two children at Ingraham. When Seattle Public Schools interim superintendent Susan Enfield reversed her decision a week later, the credit went straight to the students. “They felt it was their victory, which was wonderful to see,” says Daszkiewicz. “For the students, it was an incredible lesson to see what happens when you organize and play by the rules. You could see the future of the United States in our student body.” C.L.

Unknown said...

I've been thinking something ever since the strike and that is that I've been preaching the hardships and demands on teachers who are deserving of better pay, better respect, and time.

But truthfully, I've taken a new look at my own school. Teachers are leaving early. They aren't creating and prepping for great teaching. There isn't the creativity and collaboration I was a part of at one time. Given what I see now, I have finally come to the conclusion that teachers are now paid pretty much what they are worth. Maybe even a little too much. Do I want to be saying this? Could it be the lack of support that is creating this situation? No and probably. But it is the situation. So, if we are factory workers (see above) or teaching has become assembly line work, then we really are well paid.

Perhaps teachers don't want to be passionate or creative anymore. With a few exceptions, the newest in my building aren't interested in working beyond hours or putting together grade-level exchanges. It's good pay for time-clocked employees. That's pretty much what the future holds if things don't change. Dave is a principal who knows good teaching. He knows what is best for his school. Not all principals are equal. Nobody knows better than parents if he's motivating his teachers to be great, creative and energetic. If he's giving kids the kind of education his parents want, what more is there to say? If his parents are unhappy, they won't fight for him. But they are fighting for him. Enough said.

n said...

Shoot! Unknown was me intended to click the "preview" button. Sorry.

Oy said...

There was an attempt to terminate Floe on Enfield's watch. I believe Enfield and Larry Nyland are two different individuals. Nathan Hale teachers didn't want to administer SBAC to 11th grade students because those students had completed required state tests for graduation and Nyland threatened- not to fire these teachers-, but to take their teaching certificates. ...completely destroy any ability teachers would have to make a living.

We also had Larry Nyland threatening teachers with an injunction.

To me, it appears we have had an unusual amount of protests. Let's just name a few: Nathan Hale protests, SEA contract protests, protests to disallow the district from stuffing 28-30 students into a class, and now we see protests to retain David Elliott.

As well, I don't ever recall seeing the need to disrupt enormous amounts of classrooms in Oct.

Anonymous said...

I'm a teacher and the experience at my school is very different than what N describes. Our teachers stay late and are working really hard this year trying to deal with the scope and sequence in ELA and math. I do think that many staff feel exhausted by the district demands and demoralized by the district's heavy top down approach this year. I.E. "You MUST do this". Folks are working really hard this year.
Teacher

Anonymous said...

What is the enrollment v capacity at QAE? I'd like to put my tin foil hat away but I'm wondering if this isn't the first chop at Option/Alternative/Option schools. With the most fervent supporter of QAEs alternative-ness gone, its's one step easier to make it a neighborhood school. It's just convenient that Elliot didn't complete the reviews - is the larger picture that SPS is looking to remove obstacles to QAE becoming an attendance area school? Are there enough seats there to warrant it? Meaning, how many of the option seats to to out of neighborhood kids? Are there enough to ameliorate capacity in QA?

-tinfoil hat

Lynn said...

See page 14 of this report for information on where children attending Queen Anne Elementary live: http://sps.ss8.sharpschool.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/Enrollment%20Planning/Reports/Annual%20Enrollment/Section%204%20(1).pdf

Capacity of QAE is 375. Current enrollment is 428.

Maureen said...

Oh my goodness! Guess who else was cited in that Seattle Magazine issue?!

Tenacious, persistent and prescient: The bloggers behind one of Seattle’s feistiest public-interest websites (saveseattleschools.blogspot.com) have been called that, and more.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Not completing teacher evaluation is a breach of state law. He was required to study the state law in his principal accreditation, it doesn't matter what the reasons.
Former Queen Anne Parent

Anonymous said...

This has nothing to do with closing option schools. David Elliott is known to make his own rules. This is about an SPS employee not following district policies.
North Ender

Melissa Westbrook said...

Good principals are generally tough to find. Great principals are rare. And this district is going to let a great principal go? Some would call that penny-wise and pound foolish. But, of course, making a point may be worth more if you want to send a message.

I continue to believe this is beyond not finishing required work.

But I think like the Martin Floe episode, this could backfire badly. Rep Reuven Carlyle either had or has a child at the school. There are other heavy hitters involved as well.

And although Mr. Elliott did issue a message, it doesn't say much about what he wants. DOES he want to come back? We should consider that he may not want to continue on in this district. If it's exhausting for parents and teachers, imagine what it is for principals.

The Floe incident started the slow exit of Susan Enfield. I think that as senior staff try to tighten their grip on the schools, they may not feeling the shaking that is starting to come from this house of cards.

GarfieldMom said...

We covered this one recently, but for all the newbies -- it's "toe the line." Not "tow."

If you thought the district did the right thing in firing the choir teacher at Garfield for not following the rules -- even though colleagues, students, parents, alumni, community members, and other professionals all pleaded passionately for her to receive appropriate consequences but remain in SPS because they all knew first hand the immense positive impact she has had, an impact that far outweighs the rule breaking that she owned up to and made amends for, and the devastation that would be caused by her loss -- well, then you have to accept this as well. And you have to understand that it might be your beloved, amazing, highly effective teacher or principal next. Because the specific rules broken by the choir teacher were not important, it was the fact of having broken the rules at all that got her fired. That, and being from an outspoken school community that had specifically gotten under the skin of the district for the MAP protest and worse, for outsmarting them last year when they tried to pull a teacher from Garfield. Payback is a bitch -- just look at all the classroom cuts following the strike, and how certain people at the district were pointedly blaming the strike for their failure to accurately predict enrollment.

If your school is currently not toeing the line, if you have staff sticking their necks out on behalf of their students, or quietly doing the right thing rather than follow an asinine district rule, better shape up!

(Note that these rules do not apply to the central office. Screw up all you want, there -- surely a promotion and a raise will be coming soon. Only if you do something illegal AND someone finds out about it will you risk losing your job. Even then, you might get severance pay!)

By the way, to the Pritchett fans: I'm sure you have had positive interactions with her. She's probably a very nice person in some situations and to certain people. But some of us have had specific, extremely negative interactions with her, in which she has been rude, condescending, petty, and unprofessional. She works for us and her work performance is fair game for criticism. If you were not privy to those specific incidents, perhaps you shouldn't be trying to defend her from those who were.

Another View said...

"Not completing teacher evaluation is a breach of state law. He was required to study the state law in his principal accreditation, it doesn't matter what the reasons"

The RCW related to this issue allows for the principal to be fired, but does not recommend doing so. Haven't the students had enough lack of stability?

I hope Queen Anne families organize and testify at the next school board meeting and bring signs. The board will evaluate the superintendent, vote to extend Nyland's contract and possibly offer a raise. It is time for the families of Queen Anne to file their own superintendent evaluation.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight: Elliott is terminated for not completing teacher evals while Stevens Principal keeps her job after the SPED program fell to pieces under her watch? OSPI finding lack of services by law, misappropriated funds for substitutes and blatant disregard for the process of developing and changing IEPs. She gets a slap on the wrist and business as usual.

Does failure to evaluate long term substitutes fall under this same "to be terminated immediately?" If so, I think Stevens has a case. Maybe we've been barking up the wrong tree this entire time...

-

Anonymous said...

So, any staffer who said at a Board meeting "I'll get back to you with that" and did not do so thoroughly and promptly will be fired? That will be great! From reading this blog for several years, I expect the JSCEE should be half-empty soon.

Scrawny Kayaker

n said...

"Toe the line" - thanks, Garfield Mom.

I hear two voices on the blog: those who continue to chant a rule is a rule. Others who look at the quality of the person who failed to follow the infraction. Perhaps Dave quietly made an act of civil disobedience because he thought he might be the perfect principal to do it. Rosa Parks was chosen - no accident.

Yes, that's a stretch I know. But still, he is smart and he's decent. Perhaps bridling under all the rule-making dictators now in large supply down at Stanford, he decided to support his teachers rather than evaluate them to death. Look at the capacity indicated above. That is a successful school by all measures. From my perspective, he's letting his teachers teach.

Few parents would be so activated if my principal left under duress.

@Teacher: perhaps the difference between your school and mine is the principal. Ours is by the book in every way and many teachers are discouraged and tired. I can't remember a staff meeting this year that has been open for teacher-generated agenda items. Everything is micro-managed.

n said...

"follow the infraction" - meant to change to "follow the rule"

Melissa Westbrook said...

Garfield Mom is right; rules are rules. Except in this case it's a law and in the Garfield teacher case it was a policy.

Again,I don't think SPS is required to fire Mr. Elliott but a point must be made. That is being made with a highly effective principal is troubling because it's harder to find those people. (Although our loss might be Bellevue's gain.)

And yes, it certainly looks like central staff, senior staff have not done many things that they were legally obligated to do (not to mention Board policies). Where is the hammer on those issues?

So someone on the Board should ask the Superintendent to consider a memo to ALL SPS staff to be sure that ALL staff know they must follow ALL rules/policies or they WILL be subject to termination.

And where is PASS - the principals' association? Hmm.

Anonymous said...

"I think that as senior staff try to tighten their grip on the schools, they may not feeling the shaking that is starting to come from this house of cards."

I would add that senior staff doesn't seem to have learned anything from the strike. The attitude of too many downtown administrators is that if there is a problem, then the answer is to spend more money on downtown administrators. For example, we recently caught wind of talk that they are thinking about devoting a .5 administrator position to coordinate the IB coordinators. The IB coordinators don't need a downtown coordinator. What they need is more financial support for the IB programs.

I'm not saying that the district is going to do this. Rather, my point is that the mentality of downtown administrators has not changed, and will not change, until a superintendent is hired to turn downtown administration into an efficient service-oriented organization instead of the House of Arrogance that it now is.

David Edelman

Anonymous said...

N- If everything I did was micro-managed, I would probably leave early too. The district is being so heavy-handed. It really takes the joy out of teaching. Our principal is much more reasonable, but staff at our school are exhausted too. The newer principals seem to have drunk the Kool-Aid. I also think it is harder for a middle-school principal to go to elementary. An elementary teacher teaches everything. It is really different than middle-school. I don't think many middle school principal get the curriculum or the age group.
Teacher

Mad Parent said...

Tinfoil Hat:

I agree with you. They showed their true colors when they expanded the GeoZone area for QAE to include all of Queen Anne. They did this because there are so many families in the area, and they wanted to alleviate crowding at Coe and Hay Elementaries. In all fairness, those other Queen Anne schools are overcrowded too. The District created this problems by closing schools the year of one of the biggest baby booms since, well, the Baby Boom! In 2007, more kids were born than many recent years. My boys were born that year. So SPS is now trying to solve a problem of their own making. It is frustrating. Glad we squeaked into QAE before the GeoZone was expanded, because we live outside the neighborhood and would have had a snowball's chance in hell of getting in!

-Mad Parent

Barnaby Jones said...

I think DE has some issues with authority, maybe with black people. His letter is bizarre and self-serving. No reason given for his inability to preform his job yet he demands an apology from the district. Self-congratulatory phrases about his awesomeness in hiring staff(don't they have hiring committees?), and his Five Pillars program.

He sounds like a student who won't own up to defiant behavior but tries to blame others.

Just carefully parse the letter, it's actually quite indicative of a person with a narcissistic personality. He's no doubt let all the praise and adulation get the best of him.

He also is obviously trying to stir the pot and create some drama over this.

His letter could have been more detailed and put all rumors to rest, could have truly calmed the waters and helped everyone move on. However he stoked the flames, first by delaying any communication, and then with this strange letter which is all over the map and basically blames his firing on SP and MT, while at the same time he pretends to take responsibility.

I challenge his supporters to reread the letter carefully and see if this isn't the product of a man with an ego problem.

Anonymous said...

Melissa said: (Although our loss might be Bellevue's gain.)

I doublechecked. Bellevue is where the TOPS principal went when he apparently got more than fed up with the bureaucracy under Tolley and Whitworth. Whitworth being the counterpart to Pritchett in all ways that drive the best school focused leaders out of a system that rewards only downtown bow-downs, making pals with the education directors and keeping one's mouth shut on the inane self-serving bureaucracy that is SPS middle management and upper management.

I am rapidly approaching rethinking a city takeover. Let's see what the new board majority does. If they can't fix it, then I no longer have hope that the system will right itself. Power preserves power and the power at the top right now is nothing I want for this city, its educators or our students.

If downtown SPS cannot look at QAE and see a model school, built on the talent and dedication of a model leader, then it needs to be imploded. Or exploded. Both would be enjoyable to watch.

Seen It

Anonymous said...

Spot on, Mr B Jones. Another fallen public figure, with a rabid and blindly loyal following that needs to dig deeper into not-so-hidden truths.

Aware

GarfieldMom said...

Barnaby Jones, I think people should read Elliott's statement and yours, and judge them accordingly. It's not that hard to see whose statement is bizarre, nor to read between the lines to figure out who has the real problem with ego and narcissism. If someone is feeling their authority isn't being respected, perhaps it's because that someone hasn't earned it.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Mr. Jones, you are entitled to read Elliott's letter and determine what you think of it. However, there is nothing in that letter or in the facts put forth that indicate that Mr. Elliott has problem with black people. I think unless you have real first-hand knowledge, you should not suggest this.

Again, there are legalities involved on both sides and all public statements have to be written from that viewpoint. It may explain some of the tone/parsing of issues.

Anonymous said...

Sarah Pritchett came to our school last year when a group of parents put together a gathering for families of color to connect and support each other. It was a grassroots effort and important work for our school community. We broke into small groups to discuss our experiences as parents at the school around race, to connect, and to get to know each other. Sarah joined our group of parents and dominated the entire meeting time. Literally no one got a word in edgewise. Not a single parent got to speak or get to know each other. Sarah went on a soapbox about racial disparity in discipline - which while important to all of us, had nothing to do with the purpose of the group. All of this to say it leads me to question her judgment and actions in this case, as she came across as tone deaf and on an ego trip. How sad for Principal Elliott and the entire QAE commity to lose a gifted and talented leader. -SPS parent

Kevin said...

@Barnaby (if that is your real name) -- Racializing this discussion is absurd. Please do not go there unless you actually have evidence and not just some subtext that you have read into David's statement. You are belittling David, you are belittling the issue, and you are belittling the major issues with SPS that this situation continues to reveal.

You are not carefully parsing this letter and the things that you point out are only obvious to you because they only reside in your thoughts.

David's letter is indeed only one side of the story but it is at least a well thought out side. He takes responsibility for his actions. This is something that SPS has failed to do. In their interactions with QAE parents, SPS has been anything but accountable and transparent. It is especially ironic that Sara Pritchett included a line about asking her questions in her email and then took off and left her out of office on to answer our questions. If she really did understand what a change like this means and if she had any empathy for students and parents, she would have changed her schedule and met with parents, been present, or at least responded to email questions.

I can tell you one thing. David Elliott never shirked from spending his off hours to address the needs and concerns of his students, parents, and community.

Kevin said...
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Anonymous said...

I have no personal knowledge, but a couple of commenters on the Seattle Times version of this story mentioned that the teacher evaluations in question are 60 pages each. If that's even remotely true, I can see why there would be a tremendous time burden for any principal. Is this marginally accurate? Because that seems completely, utter ridiculous.

Too bad we can't do 60 page evals on some of SPS admin folk!! ;)

I imagine there is a great deal more to this whole kerfuffle than anyone is able to tell us right now, given that lawyers are involved on both sides. Whatever the reasons, Admin handled this very very poorly. Quelle surprise!

reader47

Anonymous said...

Barnaby Jones, Brent Jones?

Hmm...

-ITK

QAE Balance said...

I am a QAE parent who has a very different opinion of David Elliott than most shared here or elsewhere on Facebook. I know I am not alone but it almost feels dangerous to disagree with this group, as it did with David Elliott. He was a great leader, until you tried to question his logic or approach, and then you became an enemy. My child, who has been at the school for years, barely knows him. Part of me is jealous of these parents who loved him so because that was definitely not our experience and I think that was because I thought critically and shared that with him. He found that threatening and told others that I was "confused", which I assure you I was not. David Elliott's thing was to be kind, safe, and fair, but he wasn't those things with me and my family. I told him that, and he nodded in acknowledgment, yet did nothing to correct his behavior and words. I just want people to know that the majority of QAE families may want him back, but there are some that do not. I would happily fight the district if they were unfair but I am in no hurry to have David back as the myopic leader of our school. People are also operating under the impression that David Elliott has been without fault and I know there have been complaints filed and investigations ran. The final straw may have been that he didn't get the reports completed in a timely manner, but there may also have been a long road to get to that point. I know people will try to destroy what I've said here, but please just know it is possible we have had different experiences with the same person. I'm not trying to say you are wrong for your high opinion of him, but I do want the portrayal of him to be fair and multifaceted. It's almost becoming cult like at the school and that is not kind, safe, or fair to our *whole* community.

-QAE Balance

Anonymous said...

@QAE Balance-- I hear you. We are QAE parents as well and have had issues. Nothing major really. But we haven't had the closest connection with David as others. I don't think I have any examples of negative behavior on his part. But I do think that he is outspoken on behalf of our community and overall has helped to create a wonderful learning environment for our children. I have joined this fight not so much to be part of the cult or hero worship but because I honestly believe that SPS needs to be held accountable. I think that the administration is horrendous and if we don't stand up we are going to suffer in the future. We all have our faults. David has his as well. But the culture of SPS cannot be allowed to continue with their faults. It is detrimental to us all.

Anonymous said...

David was dealing with some tremendous challenges in his personal life. Despite that, he was able to be the tremendously talented principal he'd always been and would have finished his evaluations had his laptop not been stolen. On it were all of his evaluations and records. Those of you familiar with the new evaluation process know that principals spend hundreds of hours observing, recording, conferring with teachers and then writing up evaluations. I don't know how many "comprehensive" (full form) evaluations David had to do as opposed to "focused" (short form), but without an AP he was doing the entire staff, certs, paras and saeops, by himself.

Either Sarah Pritchett is incompetent or she's malicious. If she was doing her job, she would have known that the evaluation process had stopped with the theft of David's laptop and she would have helped him develop a plan to complete them. Say what you will about Kim Witworth, she knows exactly where her principals are on their evaluation deadlines and she would never let June arrive without evaluations getting done. Another option is that Pritchett is malicious. She looked the other way and allowed June to pass and then summer and then September, because she knew this is the one thing the district can fire a principal over.

As well as being an excellent building administrator and educator, David felt it his duty to speak out on bad policy and the building-level consequences of bad decisions by district leadership. He was a senior principal, and was wililng to speak the truth about our district's horrendous enrollment predictions and penny-pinching staffing at the building level. He wanted more site based control over school budgets, use of technology, and staffing so that each administrator could meet the needs of his/her students. He put his students and his staff before the hysteria and reactionary politics at JSCEE. Larry Nyland would rather not have someone like David Elliot in the district. Nyland would rather continue to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars insulating himself with the 35-45 Directors he's created positions for and hired, paying them salaries higher than a principal and taking educators out of our schools and away from our children. Instead of doing the difficult work of creating systems and procedures that serve students and families, Nyland would rather fire a highly-skilled and effective principal because he's tired of hearing what he has to say. Larry Nyland and Sarah Pritchett are punishing an entire school community, and negatively impacting Coe Elementary because they don't like David Elliot and want him gone.

Our district leadership seems to have a bottomless well of bad decisions to make. It's central office first, and students, families and building level staff last every single time.

QAE Parent

Anonymous said...

Should be Whitworth in the above comment, not Witworth.

QAE Parent

QAE Balance Supporter said...

I agree with QAE Balance. QAE has become like a cult over the last few years. Families think QAE is far and above all the other schools in Seattle in terms of the amazing education it is providing its students. It isn't. There are three great public schools in Queen Anne. I would not say that QAE is the best or that it is that different from the other two. The parents are all drinking the cool aid that David Elliott continually feeds them. He is an excellent speaker and is great at touting his successes. People want to like him and agree with him but he has certainly done things that are not in the best interests of the children during his tenure. I too don't know him and he doesn't really know my son despite him being there 3 years.

-QAE Balance supporter

Anonymous said...

QAE BS, first of all, it's "Kool Aid," and you don't have to drink it to know how to spell it.

Of course there are three great elementary schools on QA, what does that have to do with the current situation? None of them should have their principal fired abruptly in the middle of October when the justification for the firing was known in May.

I support QAE Balance, too. No principal, however talented, can please everyone all the time. In fact, the ones who do aren't very good leaders. I'm sure there are more than a few families at QAE, as there would be at any school, who welcome a change in leadership.

Your divisive and pointless comments sound like sour grapes. You can agree with another commenter without getting vicious.

QAE Parent

Kevin said...

This is a very important message and most likely the one that most closely reflects the reality of the situation. I think every family at QAE has some idea about the extreme difficulties David has gone through in his personal life over this past year. And any good supervisor would have understood this situation and stepped in to provide support. The fact that there seemed to have been little support shows that there is indeed some vindictive behavior on the part of Pritchett and others in the central admin. With no doubt, David was anything but status quo and he was willing to speak out against the powers that be. Both of these are characteristics that I try to instill in my children.

I personally did not know the laptop story in relation to these evaluations and this is a crucial piece of information. In fact, if these forms are indeed as long as has been suggested, losing your work to date is HUGE. Furthermore, I think SPS needs to look at some process improvement to not only revisit this evaluation process in terms of its length, etc. but also in terms of not setting their employees up for "failure by paperwork."

Maureen said...

Is there evidence that Ms. Pritchett provided followup and guidance to Mr Elliott after he missed his first deadline? Surely there is an email trail where she lays out a new deadline and offers her assistance and support to the person she is paid to manage?

Kevin said...

A public disclosure request was made to the city by a QAE parent yesterday. So we will know soon enough. If Sara did not offer help or support, I think that she should be seen as just as culpable given that managing and supervising is her job. A failure on the front line more often than not points to a failure in those in supervision in my experience.

QAE Balance said...

I am tired of hearing what a "tough year" David had last year. He got divorced for crying out loud. Lots of people get divorced and yet still manage to perform the duties of their job. If David's personal life was too much for him to manage, he should have taken leave last year. That is what a good leader would do. Maybe his boss could have been more supportive but why is everyone so reluctant to hold David accountable for things? He made lots of mistakes last year, one which lead to a beloved teacher leaving. Why is he above reproach?

-QAE Balance

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Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Two questions need to be answered: 1) Why wasn’t Principal Elliott doing the primary job of a principal (which used to mean principal EDUCATOR of those in his charge), which is to provide instructional leadership and expert evaluation of his teachers? I taught in the SPS for 36 years, and never did a year go by without a written evaluation that was elaborated upon in a conference with the principal. It took place in June. Mr. Elliott has had four additional months and he's still working on them? Sorry, but not completing an essential part of what one was hired to do is cause for termination (as for the new rationale -that his laptop was stolen - why didn't he mention that exculpatory fact in his letter to the community?); 2) but why termination after school has been in session for 5 weeks? The disruption and public outcry were foreseeable, so why would a district intervene so peremptorily at this time? If the late evaluations were the only proximate cause of the firing, why not take action in August?

Perhaps because there is more, and the unfinished evaluations are merely the cover story hiding a far more serious breach of duty (professional and/or legal). Common sense tells me that this is more than likely.

The SPS always reiterates that "this is a personnel matter" about which the public need not be informed. Those pressing for the whole story have good reason - as well as the right - to do so. The reasons for the termination of a principal (or, for that matter, a teacher) should not be concealed behind the facile invocation of the mantra "privileged information." Doing so makes public oversight of our schools that much more difficult. As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis reminded us, "sunlight is the best disinfectant." It is important to determine if state law requires -or at least does not forbid -full disclosure.

But if they succeed in discovering the most important and proximate cause of David Eliot's firing, his supporters may wish they had not.

Res Ipsa Loquitur

Anonymous said...

All is not well at QAE. How do I know? A bunch of teachers left, and they were great teachers! If things are amazing at a school, teachers don't leave. It's a personnel issue and we shouldn't know those details. Let's move on. Amy Jessee seems solid.
Move on

n said...

@Teacher: I don't think you'd leave early. I can still find some joy in continuing to do what I do well.

I find all the comments interesting. Dave isn't perfect because no one is. I guess it is a matter of priorities. I hear some unforgiving voices above and others who hold him in adulation. I can't speak to the faults and failures he displayed but I can attest to his excellence as a teacher himself and to his guiding principle that a good principal supports his teachers and expects them to teach well. Dave is a people person. If it comes to a choice between rules and people, he'll choose people.

Also, a lost laptop with all his notes? Honestly, isn't there any sensitivity or understanding and leniency left?

What was Nyland like in Marysville?

To those above whose experience with Dave was less helpful, I've never worked with a principal who treated all the same. They do work politics at every level. We all do. With so many parents, children and teachers to address, he may have failed with some of you. I'm a teacher who has been guilty of that as well. I apologized to one student the following year when I realized I'd let him down - not academically but socially. Most of us try hard to do our best but we don't always get it done. Chances are Dave's reading these comments. If he returns, hopefully he'll take those posts from families he's let down to heart as much as the others.

You know, correcting mistakes is really a cheap shot. It is the put-down elites make to those they think less of. Much like giving rules a higher importance than people. Sort of the tail wagging the dog. I make mistakes. Sometimes out of ignorance and often out of fast typing. Read for content rather than conventions. To me it's the difference between proof editors and thinkers. (Not meant for Garfield Mom - I did appreciate the "toe-the-line" correction. You have no idea how many times I've look that up only to forget it again.)

n said...

Just read the last entries (which weren't there when I started writing my post). If good teachers were leaving that changes everything for me. I've written about the Dave I used to know. I am shocked at that. BTW, were they older teachers? Or independent teachers? Or both?

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QAE Balance said...

To be clear, I chose "QAE Balance", because I was offering a different perspective on what is happening (as a result of what has happened) at QAE, thereby balancing the majority of info that is currently out there. I was not meaning I am unbiased. And it is not harsh to hold someone accountable for managing and leading a large teaching staff and hundreds of children and their families. I don't begrudge him if he had a hard time, but I will hold him accountable for things he didn't do or did poorly.

Furthermore, why attack me or my opinions? I am a parent at the school and allowed to have an opinion based on my experience. You can disagree with it but that doesn't make me extreme.

Also, if his work laptop was indeed stolen, I am curious if there was any personal information on there pertaining to students/families. That is very concerning to me.

Lastly, I do know of one teacher who left because of David's lack of leadership. He was letting a squabble among teachers escalate rather than stepping in and mediating the conversation. And he was allowing one teacher's ego decide the reading/writing curriculum, rather than examining the situation with a clear head. I can not speak to why the other 5+ teachers left last year.

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Anonymous said...

Just to be clear, calling you out for not being very empathetic is not attacking you. Your statements in regards to his personal life were very harsh. You basically were saying "so what ... do your job." I know that is not the environment that we try to cultivate at QAE. That was all. Nothing personal at all and nothing attacking. Just a call for empathy.

And I agree with you that it was one teacher that I also know about. As for the others, much had to do with where folks lived, commutes, areas of focus, etc., but none other related to David of which I am aware.

Anonymous said...

Yes. And it was another challenge that he was dealing with obviously. But other than one teacher, others left for a variety of reasons that were primarily personal. So it is inaccurate for you to throw out something that may be factual but in fact is unrelated to David.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but I don't believe all of those teachers left because of "where folks lived, commutes, areas of focus, etc". Even if those were the stated reasons, it'd logically follow that a 'positive' reason to leave would help them get a good reference in the future.

Stop Gossiping said...

I'm married to a teacher at QAE, and the gossipy whisper campaign about teachers leaving for lack of leadership is absurd.

I'm not sure exactly how many teachers left, but none left because of a conflict with David. QAE has some very specific programs and space restrictions. The music teacher left because she didn't want to teach in a portable that was shared with the after school program, and she found a better situation elsewhere. One teacher left because she has young children and lives and owns a family business up north. One left because she might have to move and wants to ensure her young children can continue to attend their elementary school - she is now teaching in that school, ensuring her children can stay there even if she moves. Another teacher left because she wanted to teach a more phonics-based reading curriculum, and QAE is using a Readers Workshop model. The art teacher left because she's a better fit with high school students. Moving for these reasons happens in the teaching profession ALL THE TIME, and is often in spite of a good principal, not because of one. Now that QAE isn't a small school, there are bound to be more teachers coming and going - most of them are young, are starting families or buying homes or simply finding their permanent position.

There is so much ugliness in this situation already - a staff who has had their captain thrown off the ship, children who don't see Mr. Elliot anymore, families who are being told to be "good sports" about district leadership so incompetent we're asked to be good sports again and again and again while district leadership is held accountable for nothing.

QAE Balance, get a grip. You clearly know why the other teachers left last year - none of it was secret - so why imply it was because of bad leadership? I'm sorry you had an issue with David and you or your child didn't get whatever it was you think you deserved, but David Elliot isn't principal of only your child. He had to ensure the safety and equity of an entire school of children.

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Anonymous said...

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

See below so you can challenge your beliefs with a few facts.

QAE Balance said...

This is actually what I wrote:

"If David's personal life was too much for him to manage, he should have taken leave last year."

That is not harsh. That is logical. And that is what great leaders do. They lead. And when they can't, they acknowledge it and let others take the helm.

A core tenet of Positive Discipline, which is at the heart of QAE, is "kindness and firmness at the same time". It is not just kindness. Holding people accountable is neither rude nor harsh---it can be much more respectful to the person in question and all the many hundreds of people affected by their action or inaction. Having boundaries is healthy. I have been very involved with the school all along. I am well aware of the culture.

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QAE Balance said...

Stop Gossiping, you have no idea what I did or didn't get from David Elliott so please don't assume anything and try to dismiss it out of hand. This wasn't an issue of entitlement. But this is the kind of environment QAE finds itself in--one where you are not free to disagree. If you disagree, you are told to "get a grip". This has got to stop.

Stop Gossiping said...

QAE Balance, I'm not telling you to get a grip for disagreeing with the general pro-David sentiment - I'm telling you to get a grip because you're starting down the road of implying "5+" teachers left for lack of leadership. Not one teacher left because of a personal disagreement with David Elliot and every teacher who left was replaced with an excellent teacher because David is particularly good at hiring staff.

We don't know all the facts, but we should stick to those we do know. And I was just corrected about the music teacher by my spouse, who says she actually left to begin the Danforth program at UW - not a program you can attend and still work full time in a school.

Anonymous said...

QAE Balance,
Very brave of you for stating an opinion opposite that of the angry mob. Our experience at QAE was mixed. I saw DE walk across the wet playground one day, and he walked through a puddle not on top of it. Rosa Parks? Get ahold of yourselves, people. The hagiography is embarrassing.

DE has strengths and weaknesses. QAE has strengths and weaknesses. I daresay that some of DE's weaknesses are things that Charlie and Dan Dempsey complain about in others, like dismissive attitudes toward math and ALO. He is very proud of his policy of saying "yes" to the district, then doing things however he wants. This policy often benefitted the school.

Perhaps he overplayed his hand one too many times. He bitched about the district constantly. He buttonholed my wife and me at a school event and went on and on for 10 minutes about the problems he was having getting iPads for all through SPS purchasing. Didn't ask us one thing about ourselves or our student. Interacted with him many times, and he never asked me one thing about my student. A great pontificator. We drank the Kool Aid but much of what was promised when he was recruiting new students for the brand new school never came to pass. That's ok. Nothing is perfect, and much was very good. Maybe his anger and frustration caused him to burn a few too many bridges. Maybe he thought with Reuven Carlyle or Tina Podledowski or other wealthy and powerful parents made him invincible.

The important thing is that the students truly feel known and loved by the staff and the principal. They are encouraged in many wonderful ways. Academics suffer. Discipline suffers. But you can't do everything well, despite what the rabid fans on this site are suggesting. As with anything, you balance the pros and cons, and figure out what will work best for your kid. I feel bad for the kids because many of them love DE. He shouldn't have painted himself into a corner.

QAExperienced

Anonymous said...

You are right, QAE Balance. Look how divisive the community has already become! I've always hated feeling like I can't have an opinion that's not in line with David's without becoming an enemy of the state. I hope people realize that there's a contingent of people who have not been super-happy with David and that this might be the best thing for the school.

-QAMagStraddler

Anonymous said...
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QAMagStraddler said...

Very well-stated, QAExperienced

Anonymous said...

Stop Gossiping wrote:

"Another teacher left because she wanted to teach a more phonics-based reading curriculum, and QAE is using a Readers Workshop model."

Are there schools and teachers who are not using the Readers Workshop model?

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Agreed with many of the mixed reviews. However, this shouldn't be about if you liked David Elliott or not. This shouldn't be about how you felt in relation to other parents. This should be about rhe kids. Even if you don't like David or were on the fence, that is about your feelings towards him, right? Did your child suffer? Maybe David didn't ask you about your kid or talk directly to your kid all the time, but was your kid thriving? I have yet to hear any of the negative or on the fence commenter about David actually tell me that he was doing something that impacted the students negatively. Quite the opposite. It seems that the only ones in this situation who have negatively impacted the kids are SPS who have decided to disrupt our learning community that has shown remarkable achievements over our short history.
10/24/15, 4:36 PM

--Reposting This

Anonymous said...

I'm not reading anything here directly from Mr. Elliott and Ms. Pritchett and I don't expect to. I can understand the outpouring of emotions and speculations. But right now, this is getting painful. It's like watching a proxy fight between two opponents who are blind folded, ear muffed, with one arm hobbled, tied to a chair. A clear answer and a TKO aren't going to happen here.

reader

Maureen said...

Anonymous posts will be deleted. Please read the posting instructions.

n said...

QAE Balance: that was misleading and unfair. Beyond that, I'll wait for the end of the story to find out the truth. Under this superintendent, a whole lot of support didn't help Jon Greenberg so I'm not holding my breath for Dave. I'm sorry for all of us that the "brick wall" or jobsworth seems to be winning.

QAE Balance said...

Thank you to last couple of anonymous posters. I hear you. I do. It is easy for me to get emotional about this. I have posted much more on here than I intended and think I will walk away for awhile. I posted to create some space for people who are like me. It feels a little scary at school with the pro-DE campaign. It is creating a very "us vs. them" climate and I do not like it and I do not think this is a good environment for learning. I wanted other people who may feel differently than the outspoken people, to know that they are not alone.

I also shared some of my story to highlight that DE did make mistakes, some pretty serious. I'm not saying life or death serious, but perhaps fireable offenses. Knowing what I know, it is easy to imagine there may be more problems I didn't know about and I'm just leaving room for that. There may be more to the story than any of us know.

And I also want people in the community to know that he was necessarily the "beloved leader" to everyone, which is how some people are talking.

I hope to help create room for people who are not part of the currently outspoken group. Like I said in my original post, I am not telling people that hold DE in high regard they are wrong. At one point in time, I would have felt the same way. My experiences have led me down a different path and I request people be respectful of that.

n said...

http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=5a44499d9ee01280e0efca4e1&id=30437016e9

Message from Dave Elliott on QAE facebook page. Not much new info but more personal.

To QAE Balance: I don't think he's a saint. When surrounded by money and status like Podlowski and Carlyle, his ego probably did inflate. A few, perhaps many, get lost in all that adulation. Too bad really.

Watching in Bleachers said...

So many questions...

If Mr. Elliot had opted to be terminated he would have had the right to exercise an appeal of that termination, to both the Superintendent and the Board. He would have had PASS representation and support through the process, is my understanding, and, if that process had failed, he would then still have the option to pursue legal recourse (perhaps still with the assistance of PASS) against the district should he be able to demonstrate that there was failure to comply in process or breach of policy or RCW somewhere along the way resulting in professional damages/etc. Why then is he opting to take leave and resign?

Teacher Evaluations are due on May 15th. Part of "rational" for this is that it allows teaching staff at all schools to apply as the job pool opens up, and have current evaluations on record, as they do this. Trying to be logical in my own thought process, if the Teacher Evaluation work was not completed by May 15th and instructions were not being implicitly provided by JSCEE as to a next deadline... would it not seem obvious to look towards the end of the current academic year (June 28/29/30/etc) as a "goal" for completion... and if not then, wouldn't the/a next logical assumption be BEFORE the beginning of the next academic year?

If, as it is stated in above comments, that Mr. Elliot failed to complete his Teacher Evaluations was due in part to his laptop being stolen, is there a police report to verify this? Where was the laptop stolen from? Was the laptop an SPS provided laptop? If so, was SPS notified that district property was stolen and is now missing? If it was SPS property what other district data and student information was on that laptop; and, does that have any relevance to this matter? Furthermore, was any student specific or identifiable data on that laptop and have those families been informed, and what precautions has SPS taken in this instance?

Considering Mr. Elliot has presented a letter to the public but left out various pieces of information, perhaps inadvertently, but nowhere that I read did he ask to be re-instated. One thing all sides of the QAE community ought to consider is that a great school is the sum of its parts... it is not just its principal . I ask you this, if Mr. Elliot resigned and does not come back, do you no longer exist as a school? Give your teachers and staff some credit, give your students some credit, give your program some credit, and, hell, give yourselves some credit.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Watching in Bleachers asks many good questions.

I find this issue of a stolen laptop curious. That would seem like a major issue, for both Mr. Elliott and the district depending on what was on it. I have to wonder if this may be some kind of smoking gun in what is happening (but not being said).

As well, good points on 1) where is the principals association on this? 2) does Mr. Elliott want to stay or not? 3) while I believe a principal is the most important part of any school, indeed, he/she is not the community.

As Director Peters stated at her meeting today -which was well-attended and she did a superlative job - Mr. Elliott can appeal and that appeal would go to the Board, not the Superintendent. However, it could be fraught with problems should he lose (pension and health benefit issues).

I think we will close this particular discussion for now.