Friday, April 18, 2008

Joe Drake gets two years pay to leave

Here is the story from the P-I and here is the story from the Times.

So, help me to understand. Is this the accountability that everyone has been talking about, or is this a prime example of why we need accountability? I wonder what sort of performance evaluations Joe Drake got up until he was put on administrative leave. Is there a long paper trail of education directors and superintendents who have complained that his work was inadequate? Or did he have glowing performance reviews up until - and possibly through - last year?

I'm serious about this. If Joe Drake was meeting expectations in his work, is there any justification in terminating his employment? And if he was not, then why did the District have to pay a settlement? Don't we have a process in place to terminate employees who are not meeting expectations without buying them out with two years' pay?

In the story in the Times, the District claims that Dr. Drake

was viewed as a "threatening person" by his staff. In addition, the investigation said he "engaged in a campaign of profane, intimidating and bully behavior, using the 'F' word during a meeting with central-office staff members"; bullied University of Washington evaluators working on a report about his school; "created an atmosphere of mistrust and 'my way or the highway' approach to policies and practices at the school"; and "impugned the character and competence of the District staff."

Which of these is grounds for termination?
- Being viewed as threatening
- Using the "F" word (what, are we in the fourth grade? "The "F" word"?!?)
- Being a bully to your staff
- Being a bully to UW evaluators
- A "my way or the highway" approach to policies and practices
- Impugning the character and competence of the District staff

Which of those gets you fired, because various District central staff - including leadership - have been guilty of each of them or all of them.

Accountability means that people have clearly defined expectations. What clearly defined expectations did Dr. Drake fail to meet? And if he failed to meet the requirements of his contract or meet the clearly defined expectations, then why do we have to grant him two YEARS severance?


Charlie Mas said...

Will the Board have to approve this? The Board has to approve the personell report, the Board has to approve principal appointments, and the Board has to approve contracts. Does the Board have to approve this settlement?

anonymous said...

This is way off topic, but I didn't know where to ask this question??

My child's school, Bryant, has very large class sizes at the upper grades (up to 31), and so I decided to look at the annual report to see how much I-728 funds they were allocated.

They were given $12,500, to reduce class size for a school of 550 students.

Then I looked at some other schools and was shocked, and confused at the contrasts.

AEII $62,486 school size 280 kids

John received $52,684 school size 386 kids

Laurelhurst $70,479 school size ?? but much smaller than Bryant

Sacajewea $49,990 our smallest school in the cluster with about 230 students

View Ridge $62,911 school size about 400

Wedgewood $5185 school size about 400

This just doesn't make sense to me. What criteria does the district use to determine I-728 funding? It can't be free reduced rate lunch, because many of the highest paid school are in affluent neighborhoods. It can't be school size, because our largest school receives the least amount of funding. Does anybody know what criteria the District uses to determine the amount of allocation???

anonymous said...

By the way, I only compared schools in my cluster (NE). It just strikes me odd that Laurelhurst can receive 9 X as much I-728 funds as Wedgewood. And Bryant receives about $21 per student while AEII receives about $238 per student. There must be some rhyme or reason to it??

Melissa Westbrook said...

I found Joe Drake to be a slippery fellow. I didn't feel particularly intimidated by him but he was no the most forthcoming person I'd met (this was during Closure and Consolidation).

I am not surprised at all with this outcome. It's district business as usual. This is one thing that I find different between the teachers union and the principals union. Somehow, the principals, no matter how poor their performance or behavior, always seem to get paid off. I think the reasoning is "we've got to get this person out of here".

I would think the Board would have to okay it but so what? They will because the Board always approves this stuff. (Not just this Board but all boards.)

parent2 said...

I too laughed at the use of the "F" word. What? Even at the central office. Couldn't be! His performance probably wasn't so substandard to justify firing, but it also wasn't in line with what the district wanted. That is, it's a political decision. This was no doubt the quickest and cheapest way to get rid of him. He also has already been on paid administrative leave for almost a whole year. By the way, teachers almost never get fired either, no matter how bad their performance.

Jet City mom said...

The sad thing is- because of business as usual we can't attract good educators. Qualified and innovative personnel, rather would work at surrounding districts, or even in the private sector without union representation than work for Seattle public schools.

Because of this, we are desperate to hire anyone to fill a seat & once they are hired we are desperate to find a place for them.

I've known principals who have placed classrooms in situations where the teacher was incompetent, but since she couldn't be fired apparently,the principal placed her in a more stressful situation hoping she would quit.She did ...eventually, but not until the students had been harmed by the knowledge that the adults of this district thought so little of them, that they allowed a crazy person to be the adult in charge.

We shouldn't negotiate with crazy/incompetent people.
We shouldn't hire them in the first place obviously, but the hiring committees I have been on, have had a skewed sense of priorities. IMO

Charlie Mas said...

This speaks directly to accountability as Dr. Goodloe-Johnson has defined it.

What were the grounds for Dr. Drake's termination - if any?

If they were legitimate, then why would we have to pay him off?

If they were not legitimate, then why would we have to terminate him?

The reasons given in the Times article do not amount to grounds for termination, so it must of been something else.

Don't look to the staff survey - there hasn't been any staff survey results from John Marshall for two years.

The most recent student climate survey is from 2006.

There is no data in either direction to support or oppose the statements made in the Times about intimidation or bullying.

So how could this be a data-based decision.

I can't help wondering about Dr. Drake's last couple of performance evaluations. Were they positive or negative?

dan dempsey said...

Data based decision?

Political or performance based?

Let me clarify:

If a principal is inadequate and they are not a political pariah, they get moved or promoted.

See Susan Dursee.

Look downtown at the marginal level of competence demonstrated by former SPS building level admin.
Almost without exception there is no relevant data used in the SPS for any decision making.

If there is anything particularly negative in Dr Drake's last few evaluations I doubt he would be the recipient of $2 million, unless of course he might divulge dirt if he did not get his just rewards.

This still looks like a rail job from here. Who will be next to leave town on an SPS MG-J monogrammed rail?

I am not defending Dr Drake.
When someone voices public opposition to an SPS mandate, the consequence of administrative leave is not unusual. Then comes the search for a reason for the person being placed on admin leave.

Seldom are the real reasons given.

Opposed Marshall closure,
Opposed WSHS 6-period day mandate,
Opposed the creation of the Insane 6-12 1800 student school called Denny/Sealth.

At Sealth and WSHS we find several teachers avoiding the process by looking for work elsewhere as in outside the SPS or outside the state.

Another clear example of SPS morale building techniques.

parent2 said...

Another shocking thing about the hiring process is the questions that you can ask. I became qualified a number of years ago to sit on our school's teacher interview committee. There's a training you have to go to. No matter who the applicants are, the questions must all be identical. Imagine that! No matter what the resumes are, or how divergent their experiences, you've got to ask the same questions of each applicant. I can't imagine something more ridiculous! Supposed someone had a really cool teaching experience abroad or years of experience, you couldn't ask directly about it... unless you asked all the candidates the same thing. The whole teacher selection process clearly wasn't aimed at getting the most qualified teacher.

dan dempsey said...

We are interested in being fair to all of the applicants, what is in the best interests of the children has little to do with this process.

After a year and a half of getting more involved in these education processes at both the state and local levels it is clear that this is all about relationships and has zero to do with producing improved results.

dan dempsey said...

Joe Drake certainly was guilty of a relationship fracture. He said no.

He may have done other things also, but I do know for certain he said no.

dan dempsey said...


Fabulous analysis of the application to central office senior staff. Great thought --> Which of these is grounds for termination?

Let me try one:
CAO Carla Santorno =

- Being viewed as threatening (1)

- Being a bully to your teaching staff (2)

- A "my way or the highway" (3) approach to policies and practices

- Impugning the character and competence of the WSHS math (4) department head.

- suppressing relevant data in the math adoption (5)

- refusing to meet with me prior to the math adoption after inviting me to do so (6)

- assailing me as treating her with disrespect supposedly because she is a black woman when it is really because she has no answers for data (7)

- suppression of data in the WSHS 6-period day mandate (8)

- presentation of at least two non-applicable studies in an attempt to justify the Denny/Sealth fiasco (9)

So how many points need to be acquired?

Did Joe Drake flush away multi-millions by adopting known failed math programs?

I give up why is Joe Drake gone and Carla Santorno still here?

I guess Carla wins the bigger bully award, as she is here and Joe is not. A pretty good trick as she probably has accumulated lots more liability points than Joe did.

Pig Newton said...

The reason Joe Drake didn't have bad things in his file was because his golfing buddy was his evaluator. That supervisory position was a revolving door over the years he was principal so the ball was dropped every time there was a change in leadership.

The man missed a lot of days of school, including the day when there was a shooting during lunch. One day he came to school and asked the custodian where all the teachers were. It was a day off but he was unaware.

He passed his job off to two teachers who weren't assigned to have any students all day. Furthermore, he okayed thousands of dollars of overtime pay so these two guys would do his work.

He bullied women, then used the NAACP as a shield.

You might want to request to read the report for yourself.

I'm sure they paid him for one more year because it's cheaper to pay him than to go to court. They could win in court, but it would have cost the taxpayers more to go through the process.

Charlie Mas said...

This follow up story appeared in today's Seattle Times:District's report says Drake was intimidating, ineffective as John Marshall principal.

It doesn't really add much to the accountability expectations used to dismiss Dr. Drake, but it does raise the question of why Ammon McWashington is still working for the District.