Another D.C. principal trades classes for cupcakes

July 6, 2011

It looks like another D.C. school principal has decided to trade classroom observations and irate parent calls for the cupcake business.

District officials confirmed Wednesday that Noyes Education Campus Principal Adell Cothorne has resigned after one year at the school in Northeast Washington. Officials would not elaborate on the departure.

According to a new Web site, Cothorne, 40, is joining former Hearst Elementary principal Bill Kerlina as co-owner of Cooks ’n Cakes, a gourmet cupcake venture. Kerlina resigned last month from Hearst and said he hopes to open a store in Columbia. “Adell, a master baker, has over 15 years of baking experience and has mastered her frostings to ensure that each bite you take will leave you wanting more,” the site says.

Neither could be reached for comment Wednesday.

Noyes, which serves students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, has been under scrutiny for elevated rates of answer sheet erasures on city tests during the tenure of Cothorne’s predecessor, Wayne Ryan. He resigned June 17 after a year as an instructional superintendent. Ryan did not respond to requests for an interview.


Store co-owner Bill Kerlina, former Hearst Elementary principal. (Bill O'Leary/WASHINGTON POST)

Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson has asked the D.C. inspector general to review findings of a USA Today report that Noyes was one of more than 100 schools between 2008 and 2010 with classrooms that showed high rates of erasures in which wrong answers were changed to correct ones.

There’s nothing to indicate Cothorne’s departure is related to the inquiry. Like Kerlina, she came from Montgomery County schools and was known to be unhappy with how the D.C. system operated. Sources who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of personnel matters say she clashed with Ryan, who for a time was her supervisor.

Bill Turque, who covers Montgomery County government and politics, has spent more than thirty years as a reporter and editor for The Washington Post, Newsweek, the Dallas Times Herald and The Kansas City Star.
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