Are mid-year retirements by principals a routine occurrence?
According to the AJC, four Atlanta school principals have retired from the city school system. I wonder if the principals were worn down by the ongoing CRCT cheating probe on top of the normal pressures on them.
I was with several teachers this weekend and all of them agreed that they would never take a principal’s post, citing all the pressures from the district and from parents.
Two of the four principals — Gideons Elementary School’s Armstead Salters and Venetian Hills Elementary School’s Clarietta Davis — were reassigned to other jobs in August after a local investigating panel said wholesale changes were needed at their schools and 10 others. Salters, who was named Principal of the Year in 2008 by the National Alliance of Black School Educators, retired as of Nov. 30.
Reached at home Tuesday night, Salters, who turned 71 on Dec. 10, said he had been considering retirement for a number of years. He was principal of Gideons for 31 years.
“I thought I was needed in that community,” he told the AJC. “That’s why I stayed there so long. Technically, I could have retired a long time ago. My interest was in the children. I love children, and I wanted to be there with them. That’s why I stayed so long.”
He said the continuing investigation into test cheating “has nothing to do with my retirement. As a matter of fact, I stayed a little bit longer than I was supposed to, because I didn’t want that cloud over me.”
Davis’ last day also was Nov. 30.
The state early this year flagged 88 percent of Gideons Elementary’s classrooms for unusual erasures on student test answer sheets.
The Atlanta panel also reported several “qualified allegations” at Venetian Hills, including a student saying his teacher pointed to specific lines on his test sheet and whispered that he should erase his answers; a taped conversation during which students said their homework matched questions on the actual tests or that a teacher told them correct answers during testing; and a teacher who said some staff members returned to campus after hours to correct students’ answers.
Former Whitefoord Elementary School Principal Patricia Lavant’s last day was Friday, the same day city schools closed for winter break. Whitefoord was one of 58 city elementary and middle schools under investigation. That list also includes East Lake Elementary School, where the official last day of Principal Gwendolyn Benton will be Dec. 31, according to the system’s December personnel “gains and losses” report.
–By Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog