As school transformation begins, some principals are let go

The city is removing principals of some schools the city is overhauling with federal funds but keeping others in place, according to an email from a principal today.

In an email obtained by GothamSchools, the principal of William Grady CTE High School told his staff that the city had decided to replace him and several other unnamed principals next year. The announcement was not a complete surprise, as principals of the eleven schools set to begin a new turnaround strategy next year have known they could lose their jobs for over a month.

The new strategy, known as the transformation model, is part of a federal program to improve some of the state’s lowest-performing schools. Though it is the least invasive of the four models offered — it doesn’t require firing teachers — it does call for the removal of principals.

In his email, Grady High School principal Carlston Gray wrote that while new principals who have been in their schools for three years or fewer will keep their jobs, others will be replaced. He suggested that some may be able to remain involved in their current schools.

“Several options are available to the principals including, acting as a mentor to the new principals, being reassigned to other DOE administrative position, or phase-out school,” he wrote. He did not say who his replacement would be.

Department of Education officials would not say which principals were being replaced or allowed to keep their jobs. Only three of the eleven principals have been in their schools for three years or fewer: Mary Brouder (Automotive High School), Jeaninne Wallace (Brooklyn School for Global Studies), and Brian Rosenbloom (Chelsea Career and Technical Education High School).

“We are extremely focused on making sure each school has an individualized plan that will give it the best chance for success,” said DOE spokesman Jack Zarin-Rosenfeld.

A teacher at Grady High School said the change was warranted.

“The data indicates we haven’t gotten any better,” the teacher said. “There should be a change.”

The 11 schools selected for transformation are:

Automotive High School: Mary Brouder; principal since 2009
Bread & Roses Integrated Arts High School: Larry Wilson; principal since 2004
Brooklyn School for Global Studies: Jeaninne Wallace; interim acting principal since 2009
Chelsea Career and Technical Education High School: Brian Rosenbloom; principal since 2008
Cobble Hill School of American Studies: Kenneth Cuthbert; principal since 2005
Flushing High School: Cornelia Gutwein; principal since 1997
Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School: Geraldine Maione; principal since 2005
Long Island City High School: William Bassell; principal since 1993
Queens Vocational and Technical High School: Denise Vittor; principal since 2001
Unity Center for Urban Technologies: Fausto de la Rosa; principal since 2007
William E. Grady Career and Technical Education High School: Carlston Gray; principal since 2006

Source: Anna Phillips