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Friday, February 06, 2009

Principals to be named on Monday - probably

Some of us were expecting the new principals following the Capacity Management Plan to be named today, but they will not be named until early next week, hopefully on Monday.

38 comments:

S Sterne said...

Interesting.

Lowell parents got an email this morning from Julie Breidenbach announcing the Principals and parent design team representatives for Lowell and Thurgood Marshall for next year.

Steven

Roy Smith said...

Doubly interesting, as I'm already hearing rumors about possible shifts. Given the fact that staff don't seem to be able to keep secrets very well, it seems like it would be better just to make the official announcement sooner rather than later.

Beth Bakeman said...

Principals were notified today. Don't know why the district would wait on the final announcement until Monday.

north seattle mom said...

I just heard that Summit's principal Roy Merca is going to AS1. Any idea where AS1's principal is going?

SE Mom said...

I received this in an email from the APP Advisory Committee -

"This was posted to today's Lowell Link to Lowell parents/guardians:

Principal Announcements
Parents-
At the staff meeting this morning, I shared with the teachers that I would assume the role of principal at Thurgood Marshall next year.
TT Minor principal Greg King will be assuming the role of principal at Lowell. DeWanda will be working in the central offices next year.
Your children will be bringing home a letter from the superintendent with a bit more information about all of this.

It's hard to walk away from a school community that I've so enjoyed working with, but I am excited to begin a new chapter. I am particularly
saddened at the thought of not watching our current students grow and mature during their final elementary years. However, I know
that they'll be in good hands with Greg next year.

Design teams begin their work next week. Joyce Israel will represent special education on the Lowell Team and Geeta Teredesai
will be the APP representative on that same team. Ian Storey will be the APP representative on the Thurgood Marshall Team.
DeWanda and I carefully selected parents who know the current programs well and are committed to the notion that both schools
must unite all programs in their school as one nurturing learning community. As always, I'll keep you posted as the work progresses.

I still have another five months before the school year ends. I'm confident we'll continue to keep our focus on what's
important so that all of our students will transition smoothly into their new school environments next year."
Julie

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

WS said...

We have just published the news that Sanislo Elementary's principal Debbie Nelsen will be going to lead the Jane Addams K-8, and Ernie Seevers from AS #1 Pinehurst will be coming to Sanislo. I have a scan of the letter that went home to Sanislo families today and will be adding it to our post in a moment - Tracy at West Seattle Blog

north seattle mom said...

They should have just made the official announcement today. By the time Monday rolls around we will have all of the details on the blog!

Laura said...

In a letter to Thurgood Marshall families, Dr. G-J writes:

Ms. Winifred Todd, your current principal, has been appointed as principal of Dunlap Elementary, starting July 1,
2009. Ms. Todd has been an effective leader for your school and I especially appreciate her commitment to
students, staff and families.

Perhaps an official announcement wasn't made today because many appointments are still pending. DeWanda Cook-Weaver, co-principal at Lowell, does not yet have an assignment, but won't be needed at Lowell because next year's student body will be smaller.

Sahila said...

"Ms. Winifred Todd, your current principal, has been appointed as principal of Dunlap Elementary, starting July 1,
2009. Ms. Todd has been an effective leader for your school and I especially appreciate her commitment to
students, staff and families."

The above is a form letter, with only the names changed... we at AS#1 got the same wording in the letter about Roy Merca coming in and Ernie Seevers going to Sanislo...

Sue said...

So where is Greg Imel at Dunlap Going?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, where is Greg Imel going? He was the principal at Whittier for years and is a very good one. I sure hope he gets a good post.

Sue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
north seattle mom said...

This was on Harium's blog

AS #1 at Pinehurst - Roy Merca
Bailey Gatzert - Greg Imel
Concord - Norma Zavala
Dunlap - Winifred Todd
Hawthorne - Sandra Scott
Lowell - Gregory King
Sanislo - Ernie Seevers
Thurgood Marshall - Julie Breidenbach
K-8 at Jane Addams - Debbie Nelsen (elementary focus) and Chris Carter (middle school focus)

WenD said...

Roy Merca has been principal at Summit during the 4 - 5 years they've been on the chopping block. If he's being moved to AS #1, this doesn't bode well for their future, does it? I think this is a very bad choice.

Is he close to retirement? Honestly, this sounds like he's being sent to mop up and wait out the clock. I'm very unhappy to hear this, because we would like to tour AS #1 and consider them for our two younger children. If Merca is principal, we won't. That said, I would like to hear feedback from AS #1 families on your feelings about this change.

Maureen said...

And (I could certainly be wrong about this) isn't Ernie Seevers one of the few remaining 'real alternative school principals?' I know what I mean by that if you don't! If so, why is Sanislo a good place for him?

Sahila said...

From the comments posted by AS#1 families on our yahoo group, Roy Merca's widely-recognised unpopularity precedes him to our school...

We have now AS#1 parents who knew him at Summit and many of us have friends whose children were/are Summit students... the feedback as to his leadership style and commitment to alternative education is overwhelmingly negative...

We are quite apprehensive but we are attempting to keep an open mind and to set up a dialogue with him as to the character of our school and how we want to move into the future...

We do wonder whether this is the District's way of 'minding' us until the axe falls next year...

Or if they thought Ernie Seevers was too much of a pushover and that this person will be able to keep us in line better...

And its very disconcerting because we have been working hard to market the school - the new (parts still in progress/refinement) website, enrolment flyers that are being distributed from today, brochures being completed, name change process underway, changes to the programme with perhaps an after school component being made available, an Experiential Learning Fair Open House planned for March 11...

Megan Mc said...

Sahila,

I don't think you can generalize that Roy was "widely- recognized as unpopular" at Summit based on the few 2nd hand posts from a listserve.

I would like to hear from Summit families first hand what their experience with Roy was like. It may be that the very things that turned some people off from him are what others are looking for or vice versa.

As for Ernie Seevers going to Sanislo, there's going to be many AS#1 students who will be devastated by this news (mine included). He is extremely well loved by the kids and is a kind and compassionate administrator. Parents either loved him or were frustrated by a passive communication style and a lack of commitment to "true" alternative education.

Beth Bakeman said...

I have no inside knowledge of the people involved, but from the outside, sending the principal from the African-American Academy to the Jane Addams K-8 to focus on middle school makes no sense.

It was the middle school grades of AAA that were considered least effective. What is it that they expect Chris Carter to bring to the Jane Addams K-8?

Sahila said...

I like Ernie Seevers and I am sad he has been posted elsewhere...

I think Sanislo is lucky to get him - he has an authentic, from the inside out commitment to diversity and social justice and to doing whatever he can to support children in whatever situation they find themselves...he makes himself totally accessible to students and AS#1 children love him...

I have had differences with him about AS#1 moving further towards the mainstream, but I agree with him that 'alternative' does not equate with 'illiterate' and I appreciate why he has felt he has had to nudge the school more towards District parameters... His views conflicted with those of many of the families that were there under the principalship of Ron Snyder and there has been a great deal of tension around that....

I dont know anything at all about Sanislo or the principal currently there, but in Ernie Seevers the children of Sanislo will be getting a principal who is truly attuned to them and dedicated to their wellbeing...

North End Mom said...

Beth,
This is a cross post of something I found and posted on Harium's blog.

Background info on Chris Carter, from an old SPS press release (from when he was hired for his current position at AAA):

***Christopher Carter has been appointed principal at the African American Academy. Carter has been
assistant principal at Pacific Middle School in the Highline School District since 2003. Prior to that time,
he was a house administrator and teacher at Asa Mercer Middle School in Seattle, where he taught
reading, health, language arts and social studies. He also spent two years teaching at Horace Mann
Elementary School in Long Beach, Calif. While at Pacific Middle School, Carter supported and
supervised math and literacy initiatives, and initiated and implemented a three-tiered, school-wide
discipline system in conjunction with the Safe and Civil Schools Committee. Carter, who comes from a
family of educators, has an undergraduate degree in history from the University of Washington, a
master’s in teaching from City University and a principal’s certificate from Western Washington
University. His appointment is effective July 1, 2007. Carter replaces Ms. Rickie Malone, who is retiring.***

So, it seems that Chris Carter has not been at the AAA very long. He has middle school experience from his days at Pacific Middle School (Highline), and previous to that, at Mercer.

I would love to hear more about him, and what he hopes to accomplish at Jane Addams.

anonymous said...

Moving Roy Merca to AS1 might be the districts attempt to lure displaced Summit families to enroll at AS1 (for the sake of continuity)??

anonymous said...

Chris Carter is transferring to Jane Addams from a school (AAA) that had the lowest middle school performance and WASL scores in the entire district. And his last two positions (Pacific Crest in Highline and Mercer in Seattle)were at low performing schools. Very low performing schools.

Creating a brand new school from the ground up in a matter of months is going to be an enormous and challenging, if not impossible task? The leaders of this school will have to be strong, and have the vision and drive to make it happen. They will be the leaders of the design team. Why didn't the district pick a leader with a proven and sucessful track record? The community will need to have faith in the leadership to "buy in" to a new, unproven school.

This decision really makes no sense to me.

Megan Mc said...

Re: Ron Merca to AS#1

I have written Dr. Goodloe-Johnson an email asking for the reasoning behind the placement - at the very least they should be able to present an argument as to why he is more qualified to carry out the restructuring plan than Ernie and what unique skill sets he brings to the community.

I also asked her if the district did any fact finding or surveys with Summit families to ascertain whether having Roy Merca at AS#1 would make moving to AS#1 more desirable or less.

I am willing to have an open mind about the change but I believe that transparency about the reasons for the placement will help ease the mistrust our community already has about whether the district really has our best interests in mind.

Since I have never received a response from her I would be interested to know who else I could direct my request to. The board doesn't have any influence over principal placements right?

North End Mom said...

adhoc,
Chris Carter was at Pacific Middle School. I have no idea if there is a Pacific Crest in the Highline School District, or anywhere else.

The 2007-2008 WASL scores for Pacific Middle School were:

7th grade:
reading: 59%
math: 39%
writing: 63%

8th grade:
reading: 59.9%
math: 43.15%
science: 40.8%

Yes, these stats are lower than say those for Eckstein, which typically fall in percentages in the 70s and 80s for all subjects.

However, these numbers are not terrible considering the demographics of the school (43.9% free/reduced lunch, etc...). And, let's remember, he was the assistant principal at Pacific, he was not fully in charge of the school there.

He obviously has drive, and is up for a challenge, or else he wouldn't have taken on the AAA assignment in 2007.

I'm willing to have an open mind, at least until I hear the first report from the Design Team.

Beth Bakeman said...

This article from August 2007 about the AAA and Chris Carter is interesting. It includes a very clear statement by Goodloe-Johnson that if test scores didn't improve, the district would close it.

Seattle's African-American Academy Gets One More Try

anonymous said...

"Yes, these stats are lower than say those for Eckstein, which typically fall in percentages in the 70s and 80s for all subjects"

Yes, that is true, but Eckstein, the highest performing MS in the entire district, is the MS school that Addams will be competing with. Adamms will have to perform as good if not better than Eckstein if there is any hope of attracting the Eckstein families. I find it ironic that the district took the principal of the lowest performing middle school in the entire district and placed him at the helm of a school that will be competing with the highest performing middle school in the district.

I will have an open mind too, north end mom. And I am eagerly awaiting the reports from the design team. But honestly I am not that optimistic on this one.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I had sent the Board an e-mail right before the final vote. Here's part of what I wrote:

"It is vital that the K-8 doesn't become a disaster or, at a lesser level, nothing special. You need people to want to be in the new K-8. If that means pulling a great principal from some school, so be it. For, APP the district needs to listen to Dr. Vaughn and do what he says. As well, parents' wants should be heeded. These are people who CAN easily walk away from this district. Don't give them a reason to do so."

I was talking with a couple of principals about this and they agreed with me only because it is such a big undertaking from their viewpoint (not because I think this new K-8 just can't fail).

Mr. Carter may be a great principal but the fact that no one really knows because he hasn't been in this district for long is worrisome. I give him credit for taking the AAA job both because of the resentment it engendered from some staff and parents and because of the issues that faced him from day one. I would have thought a known quantity - a good principal from another K-8 - would send out reassuring signals.

But again, we have to give the guy a chance. He won't be making the decisions for the programming; he'll be enacting them. He has middle school experience. I wish him luck.

uxolo said...

New Lowell principal has 2 kids in APP, one elem and one in middle school. I think that he was the choice all along and they couldn't pull him from TT Minor to Lowell unless the whole school closed. They got the current Lowell principal to agree to go wherever. I bet this was the behind the scenes plan as soon as they got that audit report.

North End Mom said...

Megan,
In that article that Beth posted about AAA, it said that appointing a new principal was part of the restructuring process. I don't know if it is ALWAYS part of the restructuring process, but it might explain, partly, why AS-1 is having a change in leadership.

North End Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Josh Hayes said...

There may also be some really prosaic reasons behind principals being moved around -- for instance, union regs (and principals are unionized, just not the same union as teachers) may allow principals at closing schools to bump those with less seniority. Who knows?

I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for Dr. G-J to respond to queries about, well -- anything.

Perhaps Ruth Medsker would be willing to weigh in on the decision to move Roy from Summit to AS1.

While Ernie and I have butted heads over the years, I'm sorry to see him go. It's frustrating to build a working relationship with someone only to see them reassigned.

North End Mom said...

I was curious, and looked at some of the WASL scores from Pacific Middle School before Chris Carter was onboard there as assistant principal (pre-2003). They were VERY low. The school showed strong improvements during the course of his tenure there.

Without knowing the details of his involvement in the academic improvements at the school, it would be difficult to attribute it all to him, but I would say his time there could be considered a success. Here are the numbers:

2001-02 WASL:
7th grade (passing):
reading: 31.5% (2007-08, 59%)
math: 21.9% (2007-08, 39%)
writing: 48.8% (2007-08, 63.5%)

Teachermom said...

As far as I can tell, all signs point to Chris Carter as being a good leader. I was following the news when he was appointed at AAA, and he sounded great. He was demonized and sabotaged by the community from the beginning at AAA. They wanted Henterson Carlisle, and I think that the district picked a better principal. I say we give him a chance.

Maureen said...

Interesting that the new K-8 rates two principals: Salmon Bay and TOPS only have one principal and one asst. principal. TOPS only has about 180 middle schoolers so I can see that, but SB has 360. Will the new K-8 have more?

Josh Hayes said...

Maureen, it darn well BETTER, since the Addams building has a planning capacity of 835. I'm sure nobody expects it to fill instantly, but surely the expectation of management (realistic or no) is around, what, 600 or so, the first year or two? Surely more than 360.

But this all comes back to the pretty much fictional nature of the whole school. We know what the building is, and we know who the two co-principals are, and that's about all we know. Since open enrollment starts on March 2, and ends March 31, it'd behoove the district to at least run something up the ol' flagpole pretty soon.

Maureen said...

...Addams building has a planning capacity of 835

That's right, I forgot, a school that big will need two administrators.

North End Mom said...

This was just posted:

http://www.seattleschools.org/
area/news/0809/20090209
_principal_appointments.pdf

North End Mom said...

For those of you interested in the Jane Addams Building...

JANE ADDAMS K-8 (new program for 2009-10)

One element of the board-approved capacity management plan is to establish a new K-8 school at the Jane Addams building. This action is one of multiple steps taken to meet the demand for school capacity in Northeast Seattle. A program design team will work to develop details of the curriculum. The new program will include advanced learning, a K-8 world language emphasis, a strong arts program and integrated services for special education that serve as a model for the entire district. The program will be led by co-principals, Mr. Christopher Carter (middle school emphasis) and Ms. Debbie Nelsen (elementary school emphasis).


Christopher Carter has been appointed co-principal at the Jane Addams building, with an emphasis on the middle school grades. Mr. Carter served as the principal at the African American Academy for one year. He previously worked in Seattle Public Schools for several years, teaching at the elementary and middle school grades. Before his appointment to the African American Academy, Mr. Carter served as assistant principal at Pacific Middle School in the Highline School District, was a house administrator and teacher at Mercer Middle School in Seattle and also taught at Horace Mann Elementary School in Long Beach, California.

Mr. Carter has an undergraduate degree in history from the University of Washington and holds a masters degree in teaching from City University and a principal’s certificate from Western Washington University.

Debbie Nelsen has been appointed as co-principal at the Jane Addams building, supervising the elementary grades of the school. As a 17-year veteran of Seattle Public Schools, Ms. Nelsen spent two years as principal at Sanislo Elementary, six years as principal at Sacajawea Elementary, two years as head teacher at John Hay Elementary and eight years teaching at Thurgood Marshall Elementary. She was also nominated for the distinguished principal award in 2007-2008 by Seattle Association of Elementary School Principals.

Ms. Nelsen received her Bachelor of Education in elementary education and a master’s degree in education in teaching/administration from Western Washington University.