If you read the newspaper editorials or the education reformer organizations, the key to successful student achievement is a quality teacher. All other factors are ignored being social-economic conditions, family dysfunction, or peer pressure. Additionally, except for Susan Edelman of the New York Post, the news media focuses on the teachers and nobody else. Yet, the school tone and success is lead by one person and one person only, the Principal. Even our disappointing Chancellor, Carmen Farina, stated that 400 principals should not be running their schools, yet few of these 400 principals have been removed and the few that have been removed happened only after intense media pressure.
The majority of these 400 principals who have no business running their schools are easy to identify. They have the lowest trust rating from their staff, have a majority of untenured teachers due to high teacher turnover, and have poor student graduation to college ready ratios meaning that their students graduate unprepared for the adult world of college and business.
Who are these unqualified principals? Most of them are Leadership Academy principals who have no tenure and can easily be removed by the Chancellor. However, since Carmen Farina took over as Chancellor she has been very reluctant to remove principals. Here is a list of ones she could have removed but didn't until intense media pressure forced her hand.
First, there was Principal Marcella Sills of PS 106 who was allowed to continue as Principal until the media onslaught put an end to her regime.
Then there was Principal Linda Hill who was found guilty of "double dipping" and was allowed to stay in her post until the end of the school year and it was reveled that her OSI report was completed almost two years previously and was not released by the Chancellor.
Who can forget the Chancellor defending Principal Kathleen Elvin of Dewey High School by falsely claiming her graduation scheme was unsubstantiated only to reverse course as the media presented the facts.
Finally, the Chancellor intially failed to remove Annie Schmutz Selfullah after reports of her sexual misconduct at the school surfaced. When the Chancellor finally took action to stop the media circus and removed the Principal, the DOE tried to quietly slip her back in as a teacher at a renewal school.
How about other Principals that have retained their position under Chancellor Carmen Farina despite media attention. Let's look as some of them.
- Eujin Jaela Kim of PS 169 in Brooklyn.
- Santiago Traveras of DeWitt Clinton HS.
- Namita Dwarka of William Cullen Bryant HS.
- Howard Kwait of John Bowne HS.