The Principal Problem

BY JENNIFER ANDERSON
The Portland Tribune, May 28, 2009, Updated Oct 30, 2009

She issued an apology of sorts to the staff of Northeast Portland’s Madison High School, what some might call the Rodney Dangerfield of high schools in this city.

The May 11 e-mail addressed the staff’s frustration about having a new principal placed at their school without a process to solicit their input, which typically occurs when a principal vacancy occurs. (The current principal is moving to the district’s central office.)

Smith acknowledged the oversight. “Before making that selection, the district missed a key step,” she wrote. “We did not invite the broader Madison community – including students, families and partners as well as staff – to share what they wanted to see in a leader. While I believe everyone was acting with the best of intentions, this failed to fulfill a primary value of our district to involve our communities in key decisions.”

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