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Correction to This Article
The article misstated the date on which Mayor Adrian M. Fenty fired D.C. schools superintendent Clifford Janey. The correct date was June 11, 2007.
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Limelight Has Eluded Fired D.C. Schools Chief

Clifford B. Janey was described as having
Clifford B. Janey was described as having "exercised . . . class and professionalism" since being fired as D.C. school superintendent. (Gerald Martineau - The Washington Post)

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"However other people may feel about how he was treated, he's largely kept his own counsel and exercised a degree of class and professionalism that was otherwise absent," said Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, a Washington-based coalition of the nation's largest urban public school systems.

Casserly and former D.C. Council member Kathy Patterson co-sponsored a dinner for Janey with about a dozen of his friends at Kincaid's restaurant a few weeks ago.

"We went around the room and everybody thanked him for his work," Casserly said. "At the end of the dinner, he talked about how committed he was to the kids. He hoped that everybody would pull together on behalf of the system to educate them."

There is clearly tension between Janey and the Fenty administration, however. Rhee and Fenty have said they will use the Master Education Plan that Janey developed as the baseline for their reform efforts. But a Fenty administration spokeswoman said Rhee has unsuccessfully tried to contact Janey three times.

Friends said Janey could be forgiven for keeping his distance because the former superintendent has been thrust into an awkward position.

Months ago, Janey began planning a trip to Beijing with several colleagues as part of a 1,000-member American delegation aimed at working with the Chinese government to expand Mandarin language education in the United States. The eight-day excursion was scheduled to start June 24.

After he was fired, Janey decided to fulfill his commitment; he had paid a $750 nonrefundable fee out of his pocket and was scheduled to deliver a short address at the Great Hall of the People near Tiananmen Square as the top-ranking official among the delegates.

Upon his arrival, however, Janey's speaking role went to someone from another school district. Even among the nine D.C. officials on the trip, it was Cleopatra Figgures, the school system's chief accountability officer, not Janey, who served as head of the delegation, according to an employee who accompanied them.

Still, Iris Toyer, head of Parents United for D.C. Public Schools, said Janey did not show frustration when she railed on Fenty's handling of his firing during the dinner at Kincaid's.

"I expressed my feelings, and he laughed and said he had read what I said in the paper," Toyer said. "People think it was rude. That's not the way you treat someone."

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