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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Updates from Around the District

  • Our friends over at the West Seattle blog report yet another principal change. Alki Elementary principal, Joanne Hill, is on leave and former Loyal Heights principal, Clover Codd, is coming on-board after her year of leave from Loyal Heights. No word from the district on how long Ms. Hill will be gone.
The current principal at Loyal Heights was Cashel Toner but she has now moved on to Leshi and Wayne Floyd will be Loyal Heights' new principal. In 2007-2008, this was what Mr. Floyd was doing (from the School Beat newsletter):

"Wayne Floyd, interim Principal at Cleveland High School, has been appointed to lead the District's implementation of the College Board EXCELerator schools as part of the Southeast Education Initiative, a program to ensure that schools in South and Southeast Seattle provide high-quality choices for students and families."

It's not clear where Mr. Floyd was from 2008-2009.

You can follow the trail with Jo Lute-Ervin who was principal at Leschi and is now moving to TOPS.

Great musical chairs, not so great for parents with all this shuffling. I haven't been keeping track but this seems like more movement than usual.
  • Look for your new district calendar in the mail the first week of September.
  • The Principals' Association of Seattle (PASS), the principals union, reached a one-year contract with the district this week. It looks like the district is making one-year deals a lot. Maybe they just don't want to face down teacher assessment or the principals' role in it. Either way, I don't want to hear that not voting charters is the only reason we don't have the Race to the Top money.

14 comments:

Grace | Fashion Plants said...

Dear Melissa,

Thank you for posting this thread, as I have received a letter indicating a principal change at Broadview Thompson. While we are very impressed with assistant principal Mr. Wyeth Jesse, we would like to know if anyone has information about what Ms. Jeanne Smart will be doing, and whether or not there will be a new assistant principal assigned to such a big school.

How common is it for principals to be reassigned during the summer? It *does* factor into the school-choice decision, which is fretful enough for any new kindergarten parent.

Ananda said...

Wayne Floyd was an AP at Cleveland and the interim principal for a year when the prior principal quit the week before school started. He is a great guy.

Jet City mom said...

Musical chairs is right.
What ever happened to a principal linking their career to a school?

They knew their decisions would have repercussions that they would have to live with but they also were able build a strong staff and programs.

I was parent group chair for a year at one of the many schools where Joanne Hill was assigned.

She has been transferred back and forth from school to school to the district to another school and shuffled around administration then to another school, and now on leave.



Retraining only can accomplish so much. But once a principal, always a principal- barring the behavior of an Al Jones.

Melissa Westbrook said...

That is the interesting thing about Wayne Floyd. Save one point where he was at Wing Luke, it seems he has mostly worked at high schools. I'm sure he is a great guy but if his work has been in high schools, why an elementary school?

WenD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WenD said...

I don't think principal churn is anything new, but why does it happen with such regularity? Yearly switching up of the school "CEO" doesn't make sense. Absent closures, what's the basis for these changes?

dj said...

Is there an updated chart of where principals are coming from, and where they are going to, somewhere? That might help with trying to piece together an explanation for the shifts.

Chris S. said...

With the discussion on this blog about teacher evaluation and what the union has accepted not being carried out by the district...How about the Stuart Foundation leadership development project helping the principals figure out how to do it?

Not only is feedback and evaluation a key part of management and leadership, it is, aa Melissa mentions, a prerequisite of the ever-popular merit pay theme.

WenD said...

DJ: This would help. Unless parents can piece this together, I don't think there's anything on the SPS website that gives a history of school leadership.

Unknown said...

Wayne Floyd has worked at Wing Luke and also was at AS1 for many years, so he has a great deal of elementary experience. He is a terrific person and a leader with great integrity.

Jet City mom said...

I don't really remember Wayne Floyd at either Garfield or Summit- but I have girls who didn't play basketball.

He could be a golden apple of a human being- but still I read this blurb from last year, and I think about the kids whose hopes were raised and who is going to make sure that those pledges are fulfilled.

( from Seattle Child-18-2008)

Academic Advances

Another small school that’s improving its academic reputation by adding AP classes is Cleveland High School. For the first time, Cleveland has AP classes in biology and language arts. Principal Wayne Floyd plans to have advanced classes in physics, chemistry and history in the next few years.

“Kids want to be challenged. We’re pushing them to do well every day, and we’re pushing them toward college,” Floyd says.

Floyd also wants to add more technical and computer classes at the school. That’s an area where individuals are already excelling. Two students, Ray Hamilton and Nathaniel Gonzalez, recently won a national Web design contest.


My daughter had an upper elementary teacher who at the beginning of the year- got every one all excited with all the things they were going to do that year- handed out a big list of needed supplies including blank video tapes for recording journals and reading lists for background.

But for whatever reason- it never came to fruition, the class actually had a series of substitute teachers for about 8 months and the teacher didn't come back full time for years.

I will leave it up to your imaginations what that does to a classroom of students in the 5th grade, knowing that is a critical year, as 5th grade sets the stage for middle school, which is a whole nother ball of wax.

This teacher is still teaching- and apparently hasn't internalized how her behavior impacted my daughters classroom and the classrooms to follow.

Research shows that schools which operate year round- with shorter breaks have less " reentry" time and more time spent learning.

When students can loop ( stay with a teacher for more than one year), there is also less time wasted trying to figure out what everyone knows,

Changing a principal every one or two years, seems to be an enormous use of time and energy.

While I realize they are unionized ( which seems odd to me for administrators)
and as one of them said to me " they have to find me a job", it also gives the impression that they are only a few steps ahead of the parents with flaming pitchforks.

Charlie Mas said...

Just as there are ineffective teachers who are allowed to remain in the system because their principals fail to adequately supervise and manage them, even fail to complete their performance evaluation, there are ineffective principals in the system because their supervisors, the education directors, fail to supervise or manage them and fail to complete their performance evaluations.

The District paid Joe Drake, the former principal of John Marshall Alternative School, two years' salary when they fired him. Same for the former principal at the AAA. Same for lots of folks. It's almost always two years pay, and that's no coincidence. Nor is it individually negotiated. The two year salary severance is entirely due to failure to supervise.

The regular process of unsatisfactory performance evaluations, training, counseling, and more unsatisfactory performance evaluations takes two years before it gets to the point when the employee is fired. The district pays these people two years' salary to leave because that is what they could collect if they insisted upon staying.

So that means that all of those folks had good performance reviews before getting fired. So how is it that Dr. Drake could have a positive performance evaluation by Ammon McWashington just months before getting fired for non-performance? The answer, of course, is that Ammon McWashington either did not do a performance evaluation or he did it so badly that he didn't notice all of the stuff that got Dr. Drake fired.

In case it isn't clear enough, let me spell it out:

Ammon McWashington's inadequate performance of his duties directly cost the district a quarter million dollars and it cost students and teachers even more than that. So how has Mr. McWashington been held accountable for his failure to fulfill his duties? He hasn't.

He's not alone. For every ineffective teacher there is a principal who is failing in his or her duty, and for every ineffective principal there is an education director who is failing to supervise.

Accountability has to start at the top.

SolvayGirl said...

I agree Charlie. It was the game of musical chairs for ineffective principals (and their ineffective supervisors) that first soured me and my family to the District. After seeing how quickly a school can deteriorate under an ineffective principal, I could no longer trust the integrity of any public school during my daughter's tenure. Hence we went private.

Charlie Mas said...

All of the problems at Rainier Beach High School started years and years ago with one bad principal. Attendance plummetted with her in charge and people picketing the school for two years. Most of the involved families left.

The District did not intervene.

That principal eventually left, but the school was already in a downward spiral. The lower enrollment meant fewer choices of classes, the absence of involved families led to lower test scores, and the school's reputation was damaged. It has been years since then, but recovery is still proving difficult.

District intervention has been late, inadequate, and misguided.

A bad principal, even for a little while, can damage a school for years and years.