Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hart principal fired

One day after the Washington Post writes a pretty devistating article about violence at Hart middle school Hart's Principal, Kisha Webster, was given her walking papers.
Dena Iverson, Rhee's spokeswoman, declined to answer questions and referred instead to a letter over Rhee's signature that was sent to Hart parents yesterday.

The letter, which did not mention the school's problems, said Webster would be replaced by a central office administrator, Billy Kearney, who had been serving as the school system's director of principal recruitment. Kearney was a key figure in the filling of more than principal 40 vacancies over the summer, about half of which were created when Rhee fired people for poor performance.

Webster, 37, a former assistant principal at MacArthur Middle School in Anne Arundel County, is the third principal to be replaced since the beginning of the school year. Galeet BenZion, principal at Shepherd Elementary, was fired last month, and the principal at Shadd Transition Academy was reassigned to other duties.

In a phone interview yesterday evening, Webster said she had been "set up" by District officials. She said she was put in charge of the Anacostia middle school without the resources made available to other struggling schools. Hart was one of nearly two dozen D.C. schools placed in federally mandated restructuring for failing to meet benchmarks for math and English test scores. Last year, just 17 percent of Hart students read at proficiency level.

Webster said publicity about the situation at Hart also played a role in her dismissal. On Sunday, The Washington Post published an article that described a school in disarray, with students fighting, roaming the halls and disrupting classes, according to parents, teachers and police. One student was arrested for possession of a shotgun.

"If I had been able to keep things quiet, I'd still be there," Webster said.


Anonymous said...

Ms. Webster is absolutely right! If she had been able to have keep things hushed up then she would still be in her job. This is the exact same comment that the principal of Shepherd made. She stated if she had been able to control the parents she wouldn't have gotten fired.

Anonymous said...

Can't she be right and still deserve to be fired? If part of her job is instilling discipline and creating order and she wasn't making headway, then maybe she needs to be replaced, right?

If Rhee's end goal is less chaos and a better educational environment, then firing a principal who can't deliver seems like a reasonable step. Hopefully the next one is hiring a principal who CAN deliver.

Am I wrong?

Anonymous said...

Let's think about this one; if the school has gone through 3 principles since the beginning of the year, somethings not right. You have to have the proper resources to gain and maintain control in any situation; someone should do their homework on Ms. Webster, talk w/ her she has a history of turning a school around; at least one if I'm not mistaken in Baltimore. Did they really give her an opportunity to turn the school around and provide the resources that are needed due to the schools issues that are needed to be addressed? Our kids are hurting; Ms. Webster can't do it alone.

Anonymous said...

As an educator, I am dismayed about the entire structure of our educational system and the knee jerk reactions to serious school matters until it gets in the media. Our teachers and principals have little to no support.
As long as "situations" don't get out of control and in the public eye than it seems to be acceptable or even worse ignored. Why would a successful first year principal be removed in mid-year to go to a school which probably needed a seasoned principal and added support. It is a set-up for failure. I totally disagree with the previous blogger who speculates that maybe Ms. Webster should be fired because part of her job is instilling discipline. How can anyone instill dicipline without a system of support? When and Where do the parents come in the picture? Shouldn't dicipline start at home?

Ms. Webster who had a great record of being a great administrator and co-administrator at several other schools now is view as an person inexperienced and not making headway at the school. We are human beings first and no one with this generation of school kids can make a difference by themselves.
If Chancellor Ree wanted to make a real difference at the school and wanted have an impact immediately why wasn't a team of administrators and additional security sent to the school the beginning of the year or throughout the year?
I just think a scapegoat was needed to make the appeareance that some action of "change" is occuring when in reality nothing is being done but the same old blame game. It is sad that a good principal who loves children and really makes difference in student's lives have to be a victim of D.C. politics.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Webster must be commended for having the courage to say what most D.C. principals cannot publically admit - that there are no resources for them to properly serve the children. When will Rhee and Fenty admit that their botched attempts to consolidate schools, unkept promises of support and their failure to build relationships with staff, managers and teachers are the real reason reasons for this debacle? When will they admit that they have, as Ms. Webster also said, encouraged managers to be harsh with teachers because they are "no good"? Judging from the newspaper acounts of Fenty's appeals to Obama's camp for a job and Ms. Rhee's appointment to the transition team for the Mayor-elect in Sacramento, this will never happen. Both are attempting to make not-so-graceful-exits from D.C. before their reputations can be sullied by their poor performances and a multitude of expensive wrongful discharge law suits. Dr. King once said that shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill-will. Even if we give the Mayor and Ms. Rhee the benefit of the doubt, the press is on the right track by exposing them for who they really are - people with a shallow understanding who should leave the business of education to the experts. I hope Obama and Dr. Clifford Janey are reading this.