The Washington Post

DCPS to replace 16 principals this fall

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly reported that 17 principals would be replaced.

D.C. Public Schools officials said this week that 16 schools will open this fall with new principals, roughly matching last year’s leadership turnover.

Officials would not discuss reasons for individual principals’ departures, saying only that some are resigning or retiring, and others have received letters of “non-appointment” — another way of saying they’ve been fired.

Among those being replaced is Thelma Jarrett of Coolidge High, who was put on leave last fall after she was charged with assault because of an alleged physical altercation with other Coolidge staff members following the school’s homecoming football game.

Also leaving is David Pinder of award-winning McKinley Technology High, the system’s 2012 principal of the year. Pinder announced in March that he is leaving to take the helm of the D.C. office of New Leaders, a nonprofit devoted to training principals.

Principal turnover in the District’s traditional school system spiked in 2008, when then-Chancellor Michelle Rhee hired 46 new school leaders in one summer, but has since slowed.

Still, attrition is high compared to many suburban systems. This year’s 16 leadership changes represent about 16 percent of the system’s principalships. Montgomery County Public Schools, for example, usually turns over between 5 and 7 percent of its principal posts, according to spokesman Dana Tofig.

Most of the District’s departing principals did not respond Wednesday to a request for comment. Others told The Washington Post they are leaving of their own volition.

Mary Weston, principal of Burroughs Education Campus in Brookland since 2010, said she has resigned because she is moving to North Carolina to raise her children near family. Burroughs was named a “reward” school this year after making double-digit gains on standardized math and reading tests under Weston’s leadership.

Jermall Wright of Leckie Elementary said he resigned to take a position with Denver Public Schools, and Zakiya Reid of Bancroft Elementary said she is leaving to spend more time with her family. Cheryl Warley of J.O. Wilson Elementary said she is retiring after 38 years in the system.

Another 13 principals are being displaced because of the system’s planned school closures. Officials would not say which of those principals will continue working in the school system, saying those decisions are still being made.

“Many of them will continue to serve as DCPS principals and will interview with the school communities from the vacancy list,” said spokeswoman Melissa Salmanowitz. “Others are interviewing for central office and/or school support roles, and others are transitioning out of DCPS.”

Here is the list of schools where principals will be replaced this fall:

Bancroft Elementary

Brightwood Education Campus

Browne Education Campus

Burroughs Education Campus

Coolidge Senior High

Drew Elementary

Houston Elementary

Ketcham Elementary

Kimball Elementary

LaSalle-Backus Education Campus

Langley Elementary

Leckie Elementary

McKinley Tech Senior High

Nalle Elementary

Orr Elementary

J. O. Wilson Elementary

Emma Brown writes about national education and about people with a stake in schools, including teachers, parents and kids.

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