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Henderson affirms decision to replace Miner Elementary principal despite objections

DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson is moving ahead with a decisiion to replace Miner Elementary principal LaVonne Taliaferro-Bunch despite objections from parents and other community members. (Maddie Meyer/THE WASHINGTON POST)

Chancellor Kaya Henderson this week affirmed her decision to replace LaVonne Taliaferro-Bunch, the popular principal of Miner Elementary, despite vigorous objections from parents and community members.

Anne Evans, a central office administrator and former principal of Anacostia’s Savoy Elementary, will serve as Miner’s interim leader over the next year, Henderson wrote Monday in a letter to the school community.

“Dr. Evans is excited to meet all of you, and I hope you will give her your warm welcome and support as she leads your children toward success,” Henderson wrote.

The announcement came after Taliaferro-Bunch learned in late June that she would be “non-reappointed,” or essentially let go. Officials did not explain the decision, citing privacy concerns.

The news ignited a furor at Miner, located in the gentrifying Rosedale neighborhood northeast of Capitol Hill. Teachers and parents launched a weeks-long campaign to press for her reinstatement, holding rallies, circulating an online petition and writing hundreds of letters to school system officials and politicians.

Henderson agreed last week to meet with the principal’s supporters. They praised Taliaferro-Bunch as an energetic leader who had attracted neighborhood families with her emphasis arts and theater education and community partnerships.

The testimonials didn’t sway Henderson, who — according to parents who attended the meeting — reiterated that she is prohibited by law from explaining personnel actions, including Taliaferro-Bunch’s departure.

Taliaferro-Bunch declined to comment. But a few days ago, she sent a written message to those who supported her.

“Throughout this ordeal, your efforts have restored my confidence and faith in our wonderful community,” she wrote. “Regardless of the Chancellor’s decision, I am in a better place because of you.”

A small group of Miner teachers and parents on Monday interviewed Evans and one other candidate for the interim principalship.

Evans, who served as Savoy Elementary’s principal for nine years before she moved to the central office to work on language arts curricula, officially begins her new position July 29.

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

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