New Central Region Executive Director Announced

From SPS:

Today I’m pleased to announce that Sarah Pritchett, principal of McClure Middle School, has been appointed as the new Executive Director of Schools for the Central Region.

Ms. Pritchett will support the principals and schools in the central region of the city with responsibilities that include coaching principals, coordinating professional development for principals and teachers, strengthening our systems for monitoring and using student data, and conducting frequent learning walks in the schools – all in service of ensuring a world-class, 21st century education for every child in every classroom in the region.

She has been principal at McClure Middle School since 2007, during which time McClure has twice been named a Washington State School of Distinction. Previously, she served as assistant principal at Rose Hill Junior High in Redmond, Washington, as house administrator at Seattle’s Mercer Middle School and as middle school re-entry teacher at Sharples Alternative School, also in our District.

Ms. Pritchett earned a Master’s in school administration from Western Washington University and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Washington State University. She holds a Principal’s Certificate and a Teaching Certificate.

The hiring team, which included district administrators and central office staff, appreciated her participation with the Central Region Administrators and as a representative on Principals’ Association of Seattle Schools (PASS). Her active role in these venues will assist her in transitioning to executive director of the central region. Ms. Pritchett replaces Nancy Coogan, who is leaving the District to take over as Superintendent of the Tukwila School District. We wish Nancy well and thank her for her years of service to our students and schools.


mirmac1 said…
Based on parent and staff complaints, Sarah Pritchett should get fired - not promoted! Her name was floated for the SE Director, and parents raised heck. Sorry Central.
Anonymous said…
Just my own opinion, but this is a happy day for McClure.
Anonymous said…
It's hateful comments like that which make reading this blog so unpleasant at times.

Anonymous said…

McClure's projected enrollment next fall is 471 and the building's capacity is 675. It does sound like parents are unhappy with something there.

Jet City mom said…
Nice article in the Queen Anne news, however.
Nauseous, no one said anything personal about Ms. Pritchett but addressed their own opinions about her professional performance. As with nearly any principal, there are always mixed opinions.
mirmac1 said…
My opinion is based on a) number of staff grievances filed against the principal; b) her record of misuse of special education funding and denial of SDI; and c) my personal knowledge of SE parents objecting to her prospective assignment to the SE area.
Noam said…
The only thing "hateful" involved is Ms. Pritchett's job performance at McClure.

The public doesn't know even the tip of the iceberg.

The move so typifys Banda's "man behind the screen" (staff driven) "leadership" that its actually funny in the absurd way.

Time will tell!

Congrats to the McClure community!
Linh-Co said…
I don't know anything about Ms. Pritchett but it seems we always put the wrong people in roles of leadership at SPS. Why is that? Do other districts have problems finding good administrators to fill positions?

Do we really need executive directors? I know these positions were created by Enfield. They don't seem to help parents and I am not sure that they are useful to principals. Why can't the superintendent manage principals directly? It seems like it is another layer of bureaucracy that takes funding away from the classrooms.
Linh-Co said…
Sorry for the double post.

Is this another one of Tolley and Heath's brilliant picks? I think Banda is too trusting of his advisors.
Anonymous said…
We only had a year at McClure, but she is one of the major reasons we left (for private school). To be fair, she stepped into the job at a school with rampant discipline issues and a staff that seemed divided on how to deal with it, but nothing in her first year of service there convinced me she was someone who could lead the school to a better place. Again, just my opinion and perhaps she has her fans.
Charlie Mas said…
Funny how discussion of someone's job performance is interpreted as a personal attack or hateful.

How could someone legitimately raise concerns about job performance without being accused of character assassination? Perhaps Nauseous could instruct us.
dw said…
What the heck does this mean?

strengthening our systems for monitoring and using student data

Regardless of who gets this appointment, is this now one of the top 4 duties of and Executive Director??
dw said…
Also, Noam, could you elaborate on this:

The public doesn't know even the tip of the iceberg.

Comments like this may agitate, but are not very helpful. What would be helpful is giving specifics ( to the degree possible ), like mirmac did right above your post.
Anonymous said…
I have an incoming McClure 6th grader and the reviews of Pritchett have been much more positive from parents I know (and I know many) than the posts here would indicate.

As far as the low enrollment, enrollment has been increasing and the school is on an upswing, largely due to the NSAP. McClure used to be the place to send kids removed from other schools for discipline problems. When I moved to QA 20 years ago, this school was known as having a disproportionate number of thugs and criminals (including a pair of students who were torturing and hanging neighborhood cats, and a student who beat a transient to death with a skateboard in Kinnear Park.) This was long before Pritchett, obviously, and caused people to opt to other schools. Now with the NSAP, the school population has changed dramatically.

Many good things are going on at this school. Nothing is perfect, I'm sure, but I take the mud slinging with a grain of salt, based on what I've heard from parents deeply involved at the school.

Dissenting Voice
Anonymous said…
I am glad to hear that good change is underway at McClure. We were there just one year, 6th grade, 5 years ago. At that point the school was indeed a dumping ground for kids pushed out of other schools. I did speak to some parents who were reasonably well satisfied with the program, but only parents of Spectrum kids. There were many good, caring staff members, some of whom I believe are still at the school. However, the measures Ms. Pritchett took that first year seemed unlikely to help the problems, and in fact they made the climate worse. It's always possible she learned from her mistakes and made some progress. But after dealing with her I'm more inclined to credit the NSAP for any improvement.
Charlie Mas said…
Here is a link to the Spring 2012 surveys from McClure.

The results from the staff survey on leadership is bit below the District average, but not disastrous. Same for the family survey results.
mirmac1 said…
The fact that Pritchett had to be directed to quite using special ed money for a general education class, that she stuffed with 45 kids...that does not bode well for special education in the Central District. And the district is under the gun on this issue and OSPI. That alone merits censure.
Anonymous said…
" Linh-Co said...
I don't know anything about Ms. Pritchett but it seems we always put the wrong people in roles of leadership at SPS. Why is that? Do other districts have problems finding good administrators to fill positions?"

I can say that Shoreline has problems finding good administrators as well, so it's not just Seattle. I've heard they'll often fill their positions with friends, or friends of friends.

Anonymous said…
I'm with Nauseous on this. This kind of loose talk leads to the guillotine.
Anonymous said…
Ms Pritchett's oh so wonderful test score results are the result of a totally different demographic at the school from when she started. Kick out all the southend kids - and look! The test scores rise! But really, not as much as you might think. And all that flap about racial equity? Well, the "acheivement gap" is alive and well at McClure! She did nothing about it despite her "passion". At least, nothing effective.

Black 7th graders lag more than 40 points behind pts behind their white peers in math. And by wide margins in reading and writing too. This despite special all-black afterschool programs.

McClure has been on an "upswing" for at least 10 years.

The good news. With her gone, I'm sure the staff will be much better. Her main complaint was staff. A job of her going to meetings - will be a lot better than anything else.

Anonymous said…
Just googled Sarah Pritchett and there are some angry posters on SSS from the last few years about her at McClure.
Rants about bullying and yearbook, WEB, and ASB classes. Seems her enemies are still out there. Strong black women are a magnet for the haters.

Anonymous said…
Bottom line. Her staff hates her, and it negatively impacts the school. Her promotion can only be a good thing. She'll get to spend her days at meetings, and writing "strategic" plans, and cutting ribbons at various functions. Who knows? Maybe she will excel at it, race card or not. Seems like a win win, all the way around.

Anonymous said…
"Strong black women are a magnet for the haters."

Look closer and you will find that there is another princpal at a school close by who also is VERY unpopular with staff and is white and female.

It's has not been daylighted because staff is running scared.

There are many posts on this blog about this situation, people are just focused on the wrong problem.

ANON 2013

Anonymous said…
Student and parent surveys indicate problems in the classroom. What I hear from parents is that there are some great, many fine, some so-so teachers at McClure, and some really poor ones. Maybe the poor ones are the ones complaining about the principal. Attempts to get teachers who are really awful to improve or leave might have been what lead to some people filing complaints.

No way to know unless you are directly involved, whether the bad teachers are the ones complaining, and whether what they are complaining about is her trying to get them to do their jobs.


mirmac1 said…

When the number of grievances is leaps and bounds beyond other schools, it is delusional to say it's "just the haters". Please, I have stated objective evidence that runs counter to promotion, and can be confirmed by other sources. This seems to be a pattern for principals in this district, in regions with ineffectual Exec Dirs like soon-to-be ex Ex Dir Nancy Coogan and Ex Dir failure Marni Campbell. They have themselves been promoted per the Peter Principle.
Anonymous said…
You know, at some point the problem is on the principal. Sure, first year on the job, you can blame somebody else for all the "bad teachers". eg. the last principal. If she can't get the staff she wants after 8 years, either by fixing them or moving them on - then that problem is on her. You can't just keep passing the buck, saying: well they just don't like me fixing them. Well, fix them already! If there are indeed bad teachers at McClure, then that is all 100% on Sarah Pritchett. The fact is, they ALL dislike her, intensely. They even tell families. Yes, some of these teachers wouldn't be good anywhere. Those never leave. But many others are good. And, the school is literally a revolving teacher door. How many LA teachers can 1 school tear through? Many of them don't even make it the year. The good ones are the first to go. That's on Pritchett too.

-not a teacher, not a hater
Anonymous said…
Good and bad news. I never felt comfortable with her. I always felt like she was hiding something. Problem is now we have to wait and see who we get, which could be a catastrophe, revolving door, or we could get lucky. With what we experienced at Lawton, I am nervous........

Heidi b said…
Since one role of an ED are the principal evaluations,SPS should be hiring the best of the best principals for theses positions and it seems they have fallen short of that opportunity.
I wonder what the criteria is for that position?

If this move is good or mc clure, then it doesn't bode we'll for the central Distrct to improve or develop those schools.
Is SPS rearranging deck chairs on the titanic?
Anonymous said…
>Strong black women are a magnet for the haters.

Wow. What a Seattle politically correct comment. What makes her a strong black woman? The fact that she's black? And a woman? Really? A principal is the standard for "strong"? What a low bar for measurement.

Same crowd came out defending MGJ. The reality in most of this commentary is in the job performance - not their demographic representation.

Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
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Bill said…
If anybody has small kids who liked Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shivel, there is a real one, rusty, but totally awesome.
It's in a yard just west of the Ballard bridge, not sure of the street name, it's the street behind Trader Joe. Not just for little kids, I remember the story when I was a kid in the sixties and I never saw a real steam shovel. This one has the boiler on the back. I read that story to my kids and it is pretty timeless.
Bill said…
Yikes. I'm doing this on my phine and I meant to post on open thread Tuesday.
Anonymous said…
As an "innovative" teacher who once was at McClure and left as soon as possible - I can say Pritchett is not, was not and will probably never be a good person to work with... she made McClure a very hostile environment. And when questioned about her leadership skills and some of her not so ethical maneuvers, she would play the race card. As a person of color myself - it made me uncomfortable and sad for the community. I left as soon as I had the chance and it was the best move I had ever made. I feel sorry for the people who will now have to work for her - I wish Banda would have done some research before promoting her... and it makes you wonder why?

--Save the Post
Anonymous said…
You just have to wonder about Nancy Coogan. Was she recommending this hire? She was also overseeing the Lowell situation, which imploded. So .... what standards are Education Directions actually supposed to meet? If the standard is "let is fester" Coogan scores in the 100000 percentile. What was Tukwila thinking in hiring her as the superintendent? That's the sad part.

Charlie Mas said…
Everyone has their truth, and I'm not going to deny it. If that's what they see, then that's the truth from their perspective. I don't have their perspective, so I can't dispute it.

That said, there are some objective truths.

The staff survey on leadership at McClure rated Ms Pritchett only slightly worse than other principals were rated by their staffs. The majority of the results are positive. So claims that all of the teachers or even a majority of the teachers don't like or respect her are countered by this evidence.

In case you're wondering, the bulk of the staff did respond to the survey. The data profile reports 46 staff at the school (47 on the school report) and about 40 responded to most of the questions.

As for the academic achievement gap at McClure, the only indications we have is the School Report which shows Black students underperforming White students, but by less than the District average.

McClure's Black students pass the MSP at slightly higher rates than the district average and McClure's White students pass it at rates slightly lower than the district average.

The pass rates for other groups are generally about the district average, except ELL, which lags. Now, you might think that the school should have done better given the SES of the surrounding community. The District data profile reports that 91.1% of McClure students are from the attendance area.

I don't know Ms Pritchett. I am neither inclined to support or oppose her promotion. I have heard complaints, but I have no first-hand impressions of my own. Everyone has their own truth, but there are some facts that we should all share. The data I have seen doesn't indicate grave problems at McClure. Is there other data that does?
Anonymous said…
Charlie, your point is kind like saying a kid with great grades cant be a behavior problem in the classroom. There are lots of pieces to every puzzle.

Jet City mom said…
This was posted a couple years ago ( by Charlie?) it does seem to indicate a concern.
Results from McClure staff survey:

Staff feeling positive about professional culture: 30% (District average 56%)

Staff feeling positive about school leadership: 32% (District average: 57%)

Conflict and dissension among the staff is resolved in a timely and effective manner: 15% (District average: 46%)

The principal encourages and supports open communication: 19% (District average: 61%)

The principal is an effective manager of school operations: 38% (District average: 67%)

These are not very good results. About half of the staff responded to the surveys.

The Executive Director of Schools for McClure is Nancy Coogan, a woman who has always impressed me as a straight-shooter. I would encourage folks to contact her about any school in her region.

Just last week Sarah Pritchett, principal, McClure, accused her entire teaching staff of being racist.

Who is watching for and monitoring such bizarre behavior?
mirmac1 said…
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mirmac1 said…

Thanks to the NSAP, in three years time McClure's demographics have changed thusly:

FRL has dropped from 47% to 32%
White has climbed from 43% to 57%

These changes, along with the SES of the surrounding community, likely have a greater impact on student outcomes than any other factor. Such are the hazards of just looking at "gap" and test scores.
Anonymous said…
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hschinske said…
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Anonymous said…
The posts by Charlie speak volumes about his characteristic of being pot stirrer. He has a tendency to complain about almost everything w/o the ability to inspire change. How long has it been Charlie, ten plus years. Again, I see retirement in the works for exactly what SPS does, not solve problems but continuously talk about them.

Annie,Charlie was very even-handed and fair in his assessment of the situation. Did you read it? Because I can't see any pot-stirring in it.

I don't even understand your last sentence.

If you don't think this blog has created/inspired/irritated change, you haven't been paying attention.
Anonymous said…

He may be even handed but he speaks from two sides of his mouth. He is using the numbers post NSAP to support a mirage. Check out his past post where he states that there is a problem. Thus he is a pot stirrer. He knows that the increases in numbers does reflects mostly the change in enrollment at the school. Charlie is a contrarian. The last sentence accuses Charlie of being just like SPS, talk talk talk...nothing gets done. Even Charlie admits this, see you past posts as well for his own words.


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