Monday, September 19, 2011

Newark Is Betting on a Wave of New Principals

Overall, a very favorable article on the front page of Friday's NYT about new Newark super Cami Anderson's efforts to bring in top new principals:

These are some of the 17 new principals — 11 of them under age 40, 7 from outside Newark — recruited this year to run nearly a quarter of the city's schools. They were hired by Cami Anderson, the new schools superintendent, as part of an ambitious plan to rebuild the 39,000-student district, which has long been crippled by low achievement and high dropout rates, but now is flush with up to $200 million from prominent donors, including Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook.

"I believe a strong principal is the key to almost everything," Ms. Anderson said in an interview. "Where you have great performance, you have great principals, period, full stop. Where you have low performance, you have struggling principals. It's not that complicated."

Ms. Anderson, 40, who was appointed in May, said that before she came, Newark chose principals through an informal and somewhat arbitrary process, based largely on recommendations from school employees, parents and political leaders. She quickly ousted six principals she deemed ineffective, then used some of the donor money to set up a search committee to replace them and to fill seven vacancies and four positions at new high schools. Ms. Anderson has also broken from district policy to give all principals more autonomy to hire staff, and teamed up with a nonprofit group, New Leaders for New Schools, to develop what she called an "emerging leaders program."

All of which has led to complaints from some teachers, parents and community leaders.

PS—Did the head of the local teachers union REALLY say this?  LOL!

"It's very easy to blame the sinking of the Titanic on the captain, but I would think the crew had something to do with it, too," said Joseph Del Grosso, president of the Newark Teachers Union.


Newark Is Betting on a Wave of New Principals

Published: September 15, 2011

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