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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Musical Chairs Continue In District Leadership

In what I would consider a large leap, the district has these new announcements in leadership posts.

"Superintendent Maria L. Goodloe-Johnson, Ph.D., announced the appointment of Ms. Marni Campbell as the Executive Director of Special Education for Seattle Public Schools. In this key leadership role, Ms. Campbell will oversee delivery of services to students with special needs, including implementation of a service delivery model that focuses on integrated comprehensive services. One of the major strategies of the district’s strategic plan, Excellence for All, is to implement national best practices in serving students with special needs. In an integrated comprehensive services model, general education and special education teachers work together to support students with a range of differing needs.

In addition, Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson announced the appointments of Dr. Jill Hudson as principal of Nathan Hale High School and Mr. Henterson Carlisle as interim principal of Madison Middle School. All three appointments are effective immediately. "The three appointments that I am announcing today are great examples of how we continue to strengthen leadership across our system," said Dr. Goodloe-Johnson."

Marni Campbell is a fairly effective principal (and fairly new to Hale) and maybe her leadership skills will serve the special education community well; I hope so. I do wonder that the district found the best person in a principal with little or no special ed background. There were no really qualified candidates? Maybe I'm missing something.

Jill Hudson is a principal I have only seen a few times. I have found her to be a bit stubborn (she was facilitating a district meeting and it wasn't fun) and very committed to having only an ALO at Madison so Hale should be a good fit for her.

Update: my apologies. I did not print the press release in its entirety (which I should have). Here is the rest of it:

Ms. Campbell has extensive successful school leadership experience, having worked with Seattle Public Schools for nine years. She served as principal for Nathan Hale High School for two years and Eckstein Middle School for four years. Ms. Campbell also taught at Lakeside School for two years and at Shoreline and Edmonds community colleges.

Ms. Campbell possesses the strong administrative skills and leadership vision that are critical for managing the implementation of integrated services for special education. During her tenure at Nathan Hale and Eckstein, Ms. Campbell created very successful inclusion programs that serve as excellent models for integrated services at middle schools and high schools. Ms. Campbell will work closely with principals, teachers, staff and families to ensure outstanding delivery of services to students with special needs.

"I am very pleased to appoint Marni Campbell as Executive Director of Special Education," said Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson.  "Ms. Campbell brings proven successful experience in integrated services, a passion for serving students with special needs, and strong leadership and administrative skills to this role. In addition, Ms. Campbell is a well respected leader and has demonstrated her ability to work in partnership with staff, families and administrators to serve all students. I know that she will be an excellent leader as we continue the work of transforming and improving the ways in which we provide services to students with special needs."

Dr. Hudson has been a facilitator for the Coalition of Essential Schools Northwest Center and has worked in Seattle Public Schools, and in the Everett, Shoreline and Maple Valley school districts. She has served as principal at Madison Middle School, a "School of Distinction," for eight years and previously as assistant principal and principal of Kellogg Middle School in the Shoreline School District for three years. Dr. Hudson also led the design, planning and implementation of the major historical renovation of Madison Middle School which means she has the skills and experience needed to lead the successful completion of the Nathan Hale Building Excellence III construction project.

Mr. Carlisle has worked in Seattle Public Schools as an assistant principal and teacher for eleven years and has four years of administrative experience, including two years as the assistant principal at Madison Middle School. He was an assistant principal and teacher at the African American Academy for five years and at Madrona K-8 for three years. Mr. Carlisle is an excellent instructional leader and effective team-builder, establishing strong family and community relationships that engage all stakeholders.

"We are fortunate to have strong leaders, in Dr. Jill Hudson and Mr. Henterson Carlisle, available to step into the principal roles at Nathan Hale High School and Madison Middle School," said Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson. "Dr. Hudson's many years of experience as a facilitator for the Coalition of Essential Schools Northwest Center means that she has the knowledge and vision needed to continue and build on the excellence offered at Nathan Hale, which is a member of the Coalition of Essential Schools.  Mr. Carlisle has served as assistant principal at Madison for two years, contributed to work that resulted in designation of Madison as a ‘School of Distinction,’ and is known as a strong instructional leader and effective team-builder.

23 comments:

reader said...

Regarding the choice for special education executive director, the big question is what kind of advocate have we gotten? Does this person have a track record going to bat for children with disabilities in a system that seeks constantly to get them out of the mainstream classrooms? Is she willing to challenge this system, her own system? I hope she doesn't have a "get in line" mentality. We need someone who gets that business as usual for children with disabilities in this district is educationally clinically and morally unacceptable.

Reader said...

I wonder if she ever heard of special education before? And if so, why was she only just now hired? Maybe we don't really need anybody who knows anything about special education after all. I wonder what her new salary will be.

adhoc said...

What is Jill Hudson's background? Has she ever been the principal of a high school? Does she support the Coalition of Essential Schools vision?

adhoc said...

Melissa, can you elaborate on your negative experience with Jill Hudson at that district meeting that you attended? How was she difficult/stubborn? Thanks.

ParentofThree said...

Well Ms. Campbell was doing a great job at Hale, either too good of a job so she was tagged for bigger and better things...or not marching to the drum roll of standarizing HS.

casey said...

I understand that the Executive Director of Special Ed position was posted nationally on 2 separate occasions - the first time there was no viable candidate and most recently the job was offered to someone who declined. This sounds like an surprise appointment. Marni will be jumping into a sea of turbulence - and I understand that someone else has been appointed as Special Ed director under Marni....rumor has it. One position will now be two - I wish them luck getting up to speed.

Lynne Cohee said...

Marni Campbell was the principal at Eckstein for a number of years, which is known for its special ed inclusion model. My understanding is that she spearheaded the inclusion model, which makes her a good fit for the district's current special ed approach. But it will be a big leap from overseeing special ed inclusion programs at Eckstein and Hale to managing all of the various special ed programs across the district and implementing the special ed audit report recommendations. The district's news release says that Jill Hudson has been a facilitator for the Coalition of Essential Schools Northwest Center, so presumably she would be supportive of Hale's current vision.

Reader said...

The reason nobody applied for the "executive special education director" position is that it listed with a salary of 1/2 the current paying rate of a principal. Now, why would anybody who was qualified want to come and work as "director" for $60K? Doesn't sound very corporate or Fortune 500ish to me. Where was the Broad foundation in that case? And as to this year.... interviewing 1 candidate. Wow. Nothing like shaking the bushes.

Charlie Mas said...

Jill Hudson and I were on the Advanced Learning Steering Committee together. She was the principal at Madison Middle School and was strongly opposed to having a Spectrum program there. She was an effective advocate for her perspective and her participation on that Committee was highly valued.

Her support for access to additional challenge in inclusive classrooms should be consistent with Hale's culture. A good match for Hale and it allows her to leave Madison before the District directs her to create a Spectrum program there. All in all, a good move for everyone.

Once again we see principal appointments without community involvement. I certainly will be looking for community involvement before the new principal is assigned to Madison as there is no urgency and no middle school principal who is on contract without a position. Or will there be some new excuse for why the community will be shut out of participation?

Charlie Mas said...

Here's a question:

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson was quoted as saying: ""The three appointments that I am announcing today are great examples of how we continue to strengthen leadership across our system"

Since all of these people were already working for the District in leadership positions, how does this represent strengthening leadership? Isn't she re-arranging leadership rather than strengthening it?

Ananda said...

Becky Clifford has also been promoted to being the Director of Special Education. She is really great, and will fill any really specific content knowledge gaps that Marni Campbell may not have. I have heard that Ms. Campbell lobbied for the job, not that it was one dropped on her at the last minute.

sped said...

Strengthen leadership? Why do we need 2 directors of special education? Is that to average out having 0 for several years? Do we really need 1? Do we need 0? Do we need 2? Maybe 3 would be good.

It seems to me we have diluted leadership not strengthened it. Even assuming that these are the best people available (and I am completely willing to assume that), we now have 2 people doing 1 job... and a 1 fewer excellent principal. Not only is that a costly prospect, it is more administration, less time in principal job (already a problem), and more principals hired. We've already got tons of special ed administrators... but precious few teachers.

Anonymous said...

Seems like the district level SpEd staff are overworked and constantly dropping balls - like my son's placement or the hiring and training of competent teachers in the autism programs. I hope that hiring two directors makes those balls stay in the air a little better. There seem to be competent people at the district level (in SpEd) who do their jobs very, very poorly.

sped said...

Dear Unknown,

The hiring of staff (like your son's autism teacher) is at the complete discretion of your principal. Your principal probably has been at the job about 2 years and knows nothing about autism, or your kid, and likely doesn't really care about it one way or the other. They have no basis for hiring special ed staff... and yet, that's their job in the world of decentralized schools. Were you invited to be on the hiring team? Why not?

Hmmmm. So what does it mean to be "competent" but do your job very very poorly? That doesn't make sense. Where I come from... we call that "incompetent". And that is pretty much what we find in the central administration's sped staff. It is in actuality a vast, early retirement system for special education teachers. They have 1 job: placement. Which is theoretically going away. For now, you should attribute any placement bungles to the district's so-called consulting teachers. Bad teachers and bad staff... that's on your principal.

speducator said...

I received the following letter last night from Fred Rowe:


Dear Special Education Staff;
I hope you are having an enjoyable summer and finding time to relax and play with family and friends. As
you know, the District has tried for over a year and a half to fill the position of Executive Director of
Special Education. This has included two national searches.
I am writing to let you know that Superintendent Maria L. Goodloe-Johnson, Ph.D., announced the
appointment of Ms. Marni Campbell as the Executive Director of Special Education for Seattle Public
Schools. This appointment is effective immediately. In this key leadership role, Ms. Campbell will oversee
delivery of services to students with special needs, including implementation of a service delivery model
that focuses on integrated comprehensive services (ICS). One of the major strategies of the district’s
strategic plan, Excellence for All, is to implement national best practices in serving students with special
needs. In an integrated comprehensive services model, general education and special education teachers
work together to support students with a range of differing needs.
Ms. Campbell has strong experience in this area and a passion for ensuring all students receive the services
they need to be successful. She has extensive educational leadership experience, having worked with
Seattle Public Schools for nine years. She served as principal of Nathan Hale High School for the past two
years and Eckstein Middle School for four years. Ms. Campbell also taught at Lakeside School for two
years and at Shoreline and Edmonds community colleges.
In addition to Ms. Campbell’s appointment as Executive Director, Becky Clifford has been appointed to
the position of Director of Special Education. Many of our parents have worked with Ms. Clifford, as
she has served as an elementary special education supervisor for the past three years and prior to that
worked as one of the Department’s consulting teachers.
Ms. Campbell and Ms. Clifford possess strong administrative skills and leadership vision that is critical for
managing the implementation of integrated services for special education students. They will work closely
with principals, teachers, staff and families to ensure outstanding delivery of services to students with
special needs.
Other administrative changes in the Department will include the addition of several new elementary
supervisors who will join supervisor Julie Mack. Michael Sanford will move from supervising Middle
School Services to High School programs; Joanie Bell and Martha Lawson will supervise related
service areas and Stacey McCrath-Smith joins the Department as the new supervisor for Middle School
and K-8 special education services.
Ms. Campbell, Ms. Clifford and the supervisors will provide the Department with an exceptionally
strong administrative team that is committed to strengthening the District’s ability to meet special
education student needs and work collaboratively with parents as members of the educational team.
As I transition leadership to Ms. Campbell and Ms. Clifford, I want to take this opportunity to let all of
you know how much I have enjoyed working with you and District staff as your Interim Executive
Director. I will continue to be available as a resource to the District through this important transition to
ensure its success. I am confident that educators and families working as an educational team will be
able to implement integrated comprehensive services that will truly improve student achievement.
Fred
Frederic H. Row, Interim Executive Director
Special Education/Special Education Consultant

speducator said...

(CONTINUED)
The District isn't just playing musical chairs, they are rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. As you can read from the letter, there are no new people in the mix. Michael Sanford is going back to the job he had a year ago. Joanie Bell, who is incompetent, will now be in related services. (Things like providing Speech, Adaptive P.E, and Occupational and Physical Therapy.)

Sped, I agree with you that some special education teachers are there to collect a paycheck, but from personal experience, I know that there are also wonderful, dedicated teachers.

The District can be blamed for a lot of the dysfunction in the special ed area of schools. They provide virtually no training or curriculum for special ed teachers.

There is a crucial shortage of Adaptive P.E. teachers, vision impaired services, speech and psychologists.


The district will protect their own administrators. I can't believe they have hired
TWO special ed directors. You've got to be kidding! I thought there was still a hiring freeze. Let's see, the District received 12 million dollars for special ed. I guess they must have used stimulus dollars for the extra director.
Unbelievable!!

reader said...

All this personnel information still tells us nothing about how things will be different. What will an increase in elementary supervisors, for instance, translate into? Will they be on site giving technical assistance? If so, how often? SPS seems to have a buffer group between teachers and supervisors --consulting teachers -- who do not seem to do very much except tell people about district policies. Who is going to be out there helping teachers and principals get the best out of these students?

speducator said...

To Another Reader:

We don't see the consulting teachers unless there's a problem. There is absolutely zero classroom support.

reader said...

Speducator, yes and in the void the child's LRE goes up in smoke. That is what they use CTs for: damage control. There is no mechanism for quick consultations and/or problem solving.

Is your union making any headway on the matter of more and more time-reasonable technical assistance to the classrooms?

sped said...

Speducator, I wasn't saying anything about the competence of the special education teachers... except that it is the principal who hires them... competent or not. Which was the issue raised by "someone you don't know at all". On the other hand, the consulting teachers and central staff, is something of a pricey early retirement system for special education teachers. No responsibility except for placement, and no authority... no consulting, and no teaching. Of course most special education teachers do not get to participate in this early retirement plan... and are paid the same as all other teachers.

I heard the stimulus money has all been spent already. On "training"... voluntary of course.

adhoc said...

I did a little bit of research on Jill Hudson, and found that prior to being the principal at Madison Middle school for the past 8 years, she was the principal of Kellogg MS in Shoreline, and had a great reputation there (according to a few families that we know in Shoreline who remember her).

Also, on the West Seattle blog parents are lamenting her leaving Madison. It appears she was a well liked, well respected principal.

I wonder what her position will be on Hale's "inclusion" model of teaching (IE honors/AP/regular ed/sped all in one classroom)?

speducator said...

Sped,
Sorry I misread your comment. Yes, many of the consulting teachers and supervisors are on their second year of "retire, rehire"...

Just out of curiosity, how did you find out what they did with the stimulus money?

sped said...

Speducator, I wasn't really talking about oldtimers who return to be "consulting teachers" after they've retired. I'm talking about the whole bunch of them... most of who never really wanted teach in the first place, but like the high pay, freedom from working with kids, administrative hierarchy, and misplaced sense of authority... with 0 accountability.

It's a very small world... and a very large group of administrators. If they even think it.... we all can hear it.