Saturday, May 19, 2012

Enfield Announces Principal Appointments

Here's Dr. Enfield's announcement on new (and moving) principals.  There are a couple of curiosities like why Olympic Hills will have a co-principal.  I didn't think they had gotten that big.  Also, no mention of Greg King so I will have to query Communications on why the Detroit Press had that story with his name as a new principal in one of their school systems.

Looking over the appointments, I have to say these people, on paper, look very strong.  The new principal at Olympic View, Sandra Powell, looks especially impressive.

Obviously, there are still some appts to be announced (for example, Lafayette).

Thanks to a reader for this.

Thank you to the staff and families who served on interview committees. Appointments made today:
·         Julie Cox will be the principal at Catharine Blaine K-8 School. She is now the interim assistant principal at Catharine Blaine. Previously she served in many educational positions, most recently as literary coach at Hmong International Academy in Minneapolis. She has also been in leadership roles at schools in Mumbai, India and Amman, Jordan. She was an elementary teacher at Viewlands Elementary from 1986-1993. She holds a Masters of Education, Language Arts, from Seattle Pacific University, a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics Education from Oregon State University and has her Washington State Administrative Certification.
·         Katie Pearl will be principal at B.F. Day Elementary School. She is currently assistant principal at Mercer Middle School. She was also a house administrator at Mercer and has taught Special Education at Mercer and at Briggs Elementary in Bronx, New York. Ms. Pearl earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from Mercy College, specializing in elementary education and K-12 Special Education, and completed the Danforth Educational Leadership Program at the University of Washington.
·         Helen Joung will be co-principal at Olympic Hills Elementary School joining current principal Zoe Jenkins, who will now be co-principal. She comes to Olympic Hills from Emerson Elementary in Everett, where she was assistant principal. Previously, she served as educational assistant and building math coach at Seahurst Elementary at Highline Schools, taught third grade in New Jersey, and was a clinical faculty member at Montclair State University in Mount Clair, New Jersey.
·         Sandra Powell will be principal at Olympic View Elementary. She is now assistant principal at Nathan Hale High School. Prior to coming to Seattle, Ms. Powell was principal at Doris M. Johnson High School of Law and Leadership in Baltimore, Maryland. She brings more than 15 years of education experience in Maryland, New York and the Peoples Republic of China, and she was a Fullbright Scholar in Turkey. She holds a Master of Science in Education, School Administration and Supervision from Johns Hopkins University and earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She has Washington State Administrative Certification.
·         Michelle Ota will be principal at Viewlands Elementary School. She comes to Viewlands from Salmon Bay K-8 where she has been assistant principal since 2007. Ms. Ota has been with Seattle Public Schools since 1989, serving as a professional development coordinator and a STAR Mentor. She has taught sixth grade language arts and social studies at TOPS, and middle school social studies in the Spectrum program at Washington Middle School. She holds a Master of Education degree and a principal certificate from Western Washington University.
·         Melissa Schweitzer will be principal at Whittier Elementary. She is currently the assistant principal at Whitman Middle School. She previously worked as an instructional coach for the district for three years and as a Special Education teacher at Meany Middle School for five years. She has also been a Special Education teacher at the Seattle Children’s Home. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Special Education at the University of Evansville, Ms. Schweitzer completed her Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Colorado.
I also want to take a moment to thank outgoing principals at these schools: Heather Swanson, Susan McCloskey, Justin Baeder, Lisa Escobar and Linda Robinson. Thank you for your dedication to your students, staff and school communities.
 I want to send a shout-out to Susan McCloskey who was at Day.  I only met her once and have been to the school just a couple of times but what a united staff and a warm atmosphere they have built there.  It starts from the top.


Anonymous said...

I know one thing, Viewlands sure lucked out. Michelle Ota is very good.
-sad to see her go

Steve said...

Thanks for mentioning Susan McCloskey at BF Day. She's a long-time principal (15 years?) and has created a very welcoming school. Some parents met her replacement at a school event today, and we're impressed.

Anonymous said...

To clear things up co~principal means they will job share. It has nothing to do with the size of the school.


Melissa Westbrook said...

I get that but why two? Seems costly, no?

Anonymous said...

If they job share it might be cheaper. Perhaps no benefits for either depending upon the contract.

a parent

Anonymous said...

It is the same cost.....just as when teachers job share.


Jet City mom said...

My oldest worked at bf day with Susan, when she was in CityYear in 2000-2001.
Katie Pearl was a year or two ahead of her in high school. Seattle is really a small town.

Anonymous said...
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Charlie Mas said...

I don't have a problem with the idea of co-principals doing a job share thing, but isn't it contradictory to some of the ideas about leadership and accountability that we've been hearing?

I guess I'm unclear and behind the times with the most recent rhetoric about the principal's role.

Anonymous said...

Why would co-principals who are job-sharing hinder leadership and accountability? People should have options like job-sharing to open the pool of workers.

If teachers can job-share, why can't principals? The key is communication so that both individuals are fully caught up in what's going on.

My H works with two women who job share as they raise their kids. The two of them act as essentially one person. It works out fine. Why would you think two people would be less accountable than one or be poorer leaders? H's co-workers don't do poorer or less work.


Anonymous said...

With the current move to "Co-Principals", knowing how that cost plays out would be great to know, as in 'transparent'. Are these two principals each working part-time with benefits? Are they working full-time, BOTH with full benefits? Are they working part/full time and one of them doesn't need benefits from SSD as they're already covered elsewhere????? Lots of Co-Principals lately. Is this a best practice?

Two and a quarter years to go

Anonymous said...

What I'd like to see in these announcements is how many years each has as a classroom teacher. We were given a principal with a very diverse and impressive global resume, but little classroom experience, and the school foundered. She was replaced with another similar type: very impressive education and diverse experience, but not many years in the classroom. We left the school so don't know how that is going.

Love the diverse experience but teaching is job 1, and the principal should be the best teacher in the school. They also need to "get" how schools operate based on years of experience on the inside. Not that they shouldn't change how things work, but they need a strong visceral understanding of the lay of the land first.


Anonymous said...

Where are the principals that are leaving their buildings going? Are they retiring, being re-assigned elsewhere in the district, etc...?

Also, how were the new principals selected? Were they part of the "principal pool" of candidates that the school site principal hiring committee comprised of staff and parents first conducted a paper screening of candidates and then brought in the finalists for in-person interviews?

~Public School Advocate

dw said...

Puzzled said: If teachers can job-share, why can't principals? The key is communication so that both individuals are fully caught up in what's going on.

My H works with two women who job share as they raise their kids. The two of them act as essentially one person. It works out fine. Why would you think two people would be less accountable than one or be poorer leaders? H's co-workers don't do poorer or less work.

Jobs are widely varied. It's all about the type of work and how it can be split up.

On one extreme we can consider a widget producer on an assembly line. Absolutely no problem splitting this up between 2 or even 5 people. Each person can pick their day of the week or split shifts or whatever works for them.

Usually, job-sharing teachers split work by subject area. e.g. one takes math/science, one takes reading/social studies. There are still areas of overlap and gaps that require extra communication, but it's manageable if the teachers are well-organized and great communicators. If you talk with these teachers you'll find that they need to spend more than 50% of a standard full-time position because of this communication. But more power to them if they can make it work!

However, moving toward general management and oversight roles it gets far more difficult. How do you split a principal's job, and what do you do when the principal responsible for a particular area isn't in the building?

If you take the tack that both principals must be responsible for everything equally, then there are massive inefficiencies that are unavoidable. Every single day the principals would need to communicate everything that happened in the building as well as all orders coming from downtown, all meeting notes, discipline issues, parent concerns, transportation problems, etc. The list could be pages long.

Even in the best possible scenario this will be a logistical nightmare; teachers and parents trying to communicate about various problems or issues will need to include both principals on all communication. When it's via email that "merely" means that both principals will have to read and keep up with virtually everything happening in the building. But not all communication is email, there are ad-hoc discussions, parent conferences, where lots and lots of information is shared every day. There is no way both principals are ever going to be able to share all this information without spending MORE than full time hours EACH!

If instead you try to split the job by roles, e.g. co-principal A gets discipline, transportation, SpEd and building budget, principal B gets teacher evaluations, downtown meetings, playground duty and PTSA meetings (not a great list, but there are probably at least another dozen principal roles to add), what happens when the responsible principal isn't around? This is especially problematic when dealing with parents, who come in the building and (quite reasonably) expect to get answers to their questions. Staff also has to figure out who they can (or want to!) ask about various issues because there is also the problem of topic overlap. As parents, our kids may choose to ask permission from one parent or another depending on the likelihood of getting the answer they want; the same thing happens in the workplace, and bosses sharing responsibility face the problem of keeping a unified front.

A principal's responsibilities are so diverse that I can't see this working well under any circumstances. The best one could hope for is a barely tenable situation, and that will require a LOT of work by both principals.

Proud Teacher said...

The principal at Oly Hills has been a principal for a long time. She works hard and has great skills. I have no doubt that she'll make a job share work and it's very likely twO people devoting energy to this job will be valuable to the school. Running a school is more than a full time job--as is teaching. Each principal will be able to devote a much more manageable amount of time to meet the demands of the job and if the partnership is a good one, it will work out great. And don't worry-- it doesn't cost the district more. The salary will be split and the benefits to each reduced.

Proud Teacher

Jan said...

dw: people who job share and do it well understand that they need to manage the transfer of responsibilities, information, etc. It can be done, and in some cases, it can have terrific results. I hope people won't prejudge here. Also, there are many management positions where having TWO heads thinking about a problem is better than 1. Example: new teacher A seems to be struggling with implementation of math curriculum, and is also having difficulties managing the class outbursts of Child Q. Principal 1 may be really good at figuring out how to pull together some quick help to get math on track; principal B may have had more experience in special ed classes, working with kids with emotional/behavioral issues -- and may be a great resource for that issue (and for that child).

If they are smart, they won't promise that there will never be any impact whatsoever, but they should be able to commit that the positives (twice the energy, two heads better than one, etc.) will outweigh the positives -- and if they are good, they will make sure that there is a feedback loop so that people can let them know if and when the split seems to be delaying decisions, causing confusion, etc.

Jan said...

And I agree with JMHO.

dw said...

Jan, I do agree that there are potential benefits around the edges, such as what you mentioned. I don't believe those will make up for the huge burden of redundant communication and/or missed communication, and confusion about responsibilities (not necessarily between themselves, but others).

I may have stated my case a bit more strongly than I intended, with the "there is no way..." comment, but I'll absolutely stand behind the notion that the efficacy of job sharing depends greatly on the type of job. In general, the more communication required, the less effective job sharing will be, and communication is one of the most important parts of a principal's job (or any general management/oversight role).

Don't get me wrong, I am a huge believer in job sharing in general, and I've seen it work great with teachers and in other industries. It just depends on the type of job. The comments about twice the energy would only be applicable if both parties are willing to work close to full-time, but that would normally run counter to the whole desire to job share.

At the end of the day, it's unlikely that we're ever going to hear about these failings. If the principals are well-liked as people, the staff and parents won't make a big deal about the problems, and we all know how "Seattle Nice" works. But I think it's a bad idea in general, and while "death by a thousand cuts" is too strong, I think there will be a constant stream of small-to-medium hassles throughout the duration of the co-principalship.