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Principals frustrated; Nixon outlines some leadership strategies

By Katie McCabe on Jun 19, 2012 12:28 PM

Monday night's School Reform Commission meeting gave principals the chance to vent their frustrations about lack of support from the District and high turnover.

More than 20 participated in a public discussion and were forthright about what they were not getting from the District and how they were rarely consulted about important decisions before those decisions impacted their schools.

The roundtable-style “strategy, policy and priority” SRC meeting to discuss leadership was called partly in response to reports on principal turnover by ACTION United and Education Voters PA, which made a presentation on their findings. The reports highlighted that the most instability occurs at the highest poverty schools.

Many principals reiterated how this year’s budget cuts have been a drain on staff morale and limit the time they spend on instructional leadership. “I personally spend three hours in my lunchroom nursing and policing,” said one.

Others emphasized the importance of school-level autonomy, a key focus of the District’s reorganization process. “We need to make the decisions on what’s coming into our building,” said Marilyn Carr, principal of Pollock Elementary.  

The local alliance OneVoice reiterated that innovative, educator-led reform models could lead to school improvement in Philadelphia, as opposed to reliance on outside organizations.

Chief Academic Officer Penny Nixon said that her team is focusing on new principal recruitment and retention strategies.

These pathways include plans for having principals identify strong “teacher leaders” in their buildings to groom and mentor, she said.

Nixon, who said her goal is to have all principals stay in the same school for at least five years, said she wants to partner with universities so the teacher leaders can complete the coursework needed.

Readers, does this sound like a viable plan?

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Comments (77)

Submitted by Anon (not verified) on June 19, 2012 1:36 pm

Could not believe that a principal whose school has received millions of dollars in federal funding AND is under serious investigation for cheating showed up and ran her mouth bashing her school parents after actively trying to prevent them from forming an HSA. What an embarrassment to the district.

Submitted by Pat (not verified) on June 19, 2012 4:08 pm

So right PLUS, all of her shenanigans are documented and well known everywhere in the district. It takes a special person to be so ignorant as to ramble on and talk trash like her.

Submitted by Anon (not verified) on June 19, 2012 7:40 pm

Do you think they specifically invited the principals or there was a general call out and those were the ones that showed? I hope there's no one at 440 was stupid enough to think we all really needed to hear what THAT principal had to say but you never know...

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on June 19, 2012 8:38 pm

I'm sure the principals were invited. They represented a range of types of schools minus the magnets.

Submitted by Pat (not verified) on June 19, 2012 8:46 pm

Nixon was probably given pictures to help her read along. Heard K. Donahue got the boot--there must be a God after all. Weyman to S.M.---------------Bombs away on that staff cause she gots da hook up.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 20, 2012 1:06 pm

I wondered the same talking to colleagues, I was informed that those present received a phone call from their regional sup with a directive to attend the meeting.

Don't understand why there wasn't an open announcement regarding the SRC meeting/agenda for principals to attend if they were interested. This stacking deck with a few is getting tiresome.

Submitted by Anon (not verified) on June 20, 2012 2:37 pm

That says a lot about the regional superintendents that some of these principals under suspicion for cheating were chosen to be highlighted.

Submitted by Mick (not verified) on June 20, 2012 2:57 pm

The more cheating the better--as long as they got away with it.

Submitted by A Touch of Sense (not verified) on June 21, 2012 8:36 am

Because they are the petty little power games that have become part of the "game" of the present administration.

Of course, they did their usual teacher bashing didn't they?

When are they going to have a roundtable with teachers? Let's get it all out on the table.

Let's have an honest discussion of what really happens in schools. Do Knudsen, Nixon and the SRC have the courage to do that?

Submitted by Chris H. (not verified) on June 21, 2012 9:09 am

Of course not and they don't have to. They can do whatever they want far.

Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on June 19, 2012 8:11 pm

To which principal and school are you referring?

Submitted by Anon (not verified) on June 20, 2012 9:06 am

Going to make you do some legwork: cross reference the list of schools under investigation for cheating with the schools receiving federal transformation grants.

Submitted by Jack (not verified) on June 19, 2012 1:35 pm

This is all well and good but as she said, there are schools who have had five principals in four years. That is recipe for diaster. If these schools aren't making AYP, the PSD will categorize them as "failing" and close or merge them when it was the district that caused the leadership vacuum at these schools which leads to this type of failure.
What are they going to do then? My bet is they will just label the school as "failing", charter operators will cry about the lost opportunites for these kids as they bid to take the school over and the staff will be gone. All because the PSD has nary a clue about how to recruit, retain and train principals.

Submitted by Pat (not verified) on June 19, 2012 4:31 pm

WRONG--all of these double dealings are designed to produce failure just so, charters can come in and make money for themselves and cretins in the district. There are no accidents.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 19, 2012 5:17 pm

I've had more than one principal EACH year so far. I've outlasted 6 in two years.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 19, 2012 2:36 pm

Good, strong teachers are needed in the classroom, not in the principal's office!

Submitted by Concerned Philadlephian (not verified) on June 19, 2012 2:43 pm

It would be nice to have more principals who were strong, competent teachers. Too many principals are not instructional leaders because they do not have enough classroom experience. This is especially true in high schools. I have never had a principal who could have "covered" my classes.

Also, far too many principals are people in power's friends. They are there because of who they know - not what they are able to do.

Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on June 19, 2012 10:33 pm

Actually, it's beneficial to have principals who are good teachers. Obviously, it's not good if all of the best teachers become principals. However, one of the most important jobs of a principal or vice principal is to evaluate and coach teachers. Principals and/or vice principals should be looking over lesson plans every week, doing informal observations at least a couple of times a month, and several formal observations during the school year. In addition, principals and VPs should be looking at formative assessment data and grading procedures of teachers, not to micromanage but to ensure that teachers are following best practices and to help teachers improve instruction. Principals and VPs should promote reflective teaching and an environment that welcomes inquiry. Professional development needs to be an everyday activity, not an activity that occurs at a conference or presentation a couple of times per year.

Unfortunately, budget cuts are forcing principals and VPs to cover so many bases--such as being the nurse and monitoring lunch and recess--that principals and VPs place teacher evaluation and progress monitoring on the back burner. Also, when test scores and AYP become the end-all-be-all, as is currently the case. In fact, there is a research article which shows that principals will "staff to the test" (See, “Staffing to the Test”
Are Today’s School Personnel Practices Evidence Based? by Lora Cohen-Vogel). It's important that principals first and foremost be educators! It's possible for them to learn skills such as budgeting and managing through courses and on the job experience. But their foundation needs to be in education so that they understand what it's like to teach in the classroom. Principals need to be educators first, people who can relate to and manage teachers and other educators, and managers/administrators second.

Submitted by Christina Puntel (not verified) on June 20, 2012 11:09 am

It is so telling, Ed Grad Student, that you put the evaluation and "coaching" (come on) of teachers way up top there on your list of "most important jobs" and creating a learning communities way at the end of the list.

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on June 19, 2012 2:28 pm

I listened to the SRC meeting re: principals. There was a lot of teacher bashing - Frank Murphy was the exception. While I agree there are teachers who should be "counseled out," there are also principals who need to be "counseled out." How, for example, did the principal from Cayuga - a school note for cheating on test scores - get selected?

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on June 19, 2012 3:30 pm

How we choose our school leaders is one of the major issues which needs to be addressed by the SRC.

So is how to attract talented leaders and develop them from within.

So is how we remove ineffective leadership from our schools.

All great schools have the common denominator that they are well functioning school communities. If we want our schools to be true "professional learning communities," we need to govern them and lead them as communities.

We need collaborative, collegial, positive leadership in our schools if we are to have great schools for all of our children. The way to facilitate that is to allow school communities to choose their own leaders.

Prior to the state takeover of our schools, prospective principals were placed in a "pool of eligibles" after going through a leadership program. Then we all had to go through a "site selection process" before we were appointed.

Once we develop a credible process for choosing our school leaders, we must develop a credible principal evaluation process which includes the input of the school community. Ineffective principals should be replaced after a fair and impartial evaluation.

Those principals who are effective leaders, relationship builders, and community builders, will be retained through such a democratically oriented process.

Leadership Matters! It matters so much and so deeply.

Submitted by MBA to M'Ed mom (not verified) on June 19, 2012 11:48 pm

I love reading your comments!! Preach on!!

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on June 20, 2012 8:21 am

Thanks! I will. It is all part of "the democratic imperative for our schools."

We need to move into the 21st century when it comes to school governance and leadership.

And as a community, we need to grow above the adversarial processes of an era long gone which destroy the community of our schools and school system.

I sincerely hope the SRC leads us forward instead of backward and acts to "change the administrative culture" of the school district. That is the reform which is sorely needed.

Culture change is a leadership game -- the leaders have to ante up first.

Submitted by Mick (not verified) on June 20, 2012 2:04 pm

I like the comments too. They are well intentioned psycho babble. These cretins just laugh at that stuff and keep on counting their money. We need to mobilize with malice and the sooner the better.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 20, 2012 11:09 am

This is so true about relationship building and leadership. I know first hand, as a retired principal, that "All great schools have the common denominator that they are well functioning school communities. If we want our schools to be true "professional learning communities," we need to govern them and lead them as communities. "

Having administrators cover lunchrooms after being forced to dismiss Noon Aides, SSAs, and School Police, does not respect the contributions of all members who are not less valuable to the well functioning of a school than other better-paid employees in stellar educational communities.

I miss the pre-Ackerman era, when schools could protect their folk and respect all contributing employees regardless of their salary scale. Unfortunately, accountability at higher levels only comes in after the destroyers of our system leave.

Over spending at the higher levels is criminal, with this particular episode resulting in an entire school system at the brink of collapse, with kids paying the price of mismanagement through lack of education and safety. It saddens all of us who went into this field as a vocation, to see our educational communities dismantled by outsiders who do not care and who are better at preaching and dancing around with out kids' money, than in being accountable and facing reality.

I offer no solutions but advise newly appointed principals and school staff who are lucky enough to fall into successful educational communities to not rush to "leave their mark" by changing what works, without having the experience or drive to recognize that a working educational community takes years to develop, and that it took the contributions of an entire school community to get there.

Please, do not fix what is not broken.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 19, 2012 5:33 pm

Translation: let's make teachers do the work for a couple thousand dollars and stop paying six figure salaries to APs.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 19, 2012 5:41 pm

There are over 1000 teachers with their Principal's Cert. Our school district is not interested in any of us. I guess there is something wrong with each of us.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 19, 2012 7:15 pm

Is that figure correct? I don't doubt it. I'd just like to know where the number came from.

Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on June 19, 2012 7:48 pm

That is interesting because the concept of the "Lead Teacher" once was a major topic of our discussions in education. In a more progressive scenario the Lead Teacher may change from year to year.

In that paradigm, the leader is not viewed as a principal who is superior to the team, but the leader is part of the team who is the acknowledged leader. It changes the whole leadership paradigm and allows leaders to emerge from the group -- or shall I say leadership emerges from the school community.

It elicits a sense of ownership to what goes on in a school.

Submitted by Pam (not verified) on June 19, 2012 5:41 pm

Great Remove Ineffective Teachers But Shift Ineffective Principals from school to school. Allow them to ruin more schools and children lives. Lets check the data of the schools in the high school division where ineffective principals were sent from a closing/soon to be a renaissance school to another school. Oh Thanks Linda Wayman there all friends of yours. Administrators come to school when the want to - oh they don't have to sign in because they are administrators. No matter what time they get to work they sign in on time. Oh but they write teachers up for attendance and tardiness. These are our leaders - the ones you want to give autonomy. No accountability what so ever. I am so appalled by the behavior in the school district. I am one of many in jeopardy of losing their job but I DON'T WANT THE DISTRICT TO RECEIVE ANY ADDITIONAL DOLLARS UNTIL THEIR IS REAL ACCOUNTABILITY.
Yes, I know many great teachers with principal certifications who would make great administrators but you are not friends of Linda Wayman. I will pray for the employees, students, parents and the community of Strawberry Mansion High School they you survive under the leadership of Linda Wayman.

Submitted by Pam (not verified) on June 19, 2012 5:09 pm

correction - I will pray for the employees, students, parents and the community of Strawberry Mansion High School that you will survive under the leadership of Linda Wayman.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 19, 2012 6:44 pm

We do not talk enough about ineffective principals. How many people in the district are aware that every single JROTC instructor at Philadelphia Military Academy at Leeds handed in their resignations yesterday and apparently no other JROTC instructors are interested in going there because of the extremely ineffective principal (Pat Randzo) who was also an ineffective teacher? She has driven staff members out of both of the schools where she has been a principal because she demeans and belittles her staff. I wonder how she will run a special admission military academy without the military.

There are some principals who are wonderful and value their staff and make them feel good about going to work everyday (Linda Caroll- Northeast High School) but there are too many who lack real leadership skills.

I too pray for the school community at Strawberry Mansion under a principal who had a horrific turnover rate when she at Rhoads.

A true leader knows that you get more from an employee when they have ownership and feel valued. Hopefully, SDP principals will start receiving some training on how to be more effective. They certainly like to talk about rigor and relevance; too bad many are forgetting the relationship piece!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 19, 2012 6:17 pm

correction- when she was at Rhodes.

Submitted by Pat (not verified) on June 19, 2012 8:31 pm

Weyman is a product of the Phila. System--knows nothing but street, behaves like that 24/7, is proud that she knows nothing other than street and refuses to learn anything else.
Captain Quigg without the charm--the proverbial bull in the china shop.

Submitted by Gayle Robinson (not verified) on June 19, 2012 6:16 pm

We reward cheaters? How can she look for strong leaders when she is not one herself.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 19, 2012 10:24 pm

Did Wayman get demoted?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 20, 2012 5:27 am

All of the Assistant Superintendent positions were cut. We were told Penny Nixon's "cabinet" will expand to include, among other positions, 5 people who will have the role of Assistant Superintendent. (Someone should be watching who and how many downtown six figure salaried positions are maintained/added.) It was announced that Ben Franklin's principal is going to be part of Nixon's "cabinet" - why?

As far as Ms. Wayman, she is being "demoted" in the sense that she is going to a school but I think her salary will stay the same. While I disagree with Ms. Wayman's understanding of curriculum, pedagogy, interpersonal relations, treatment of staff, ETC., she is taking over a tough situation at Strawberry Mansion. Combining Rhodes, Mansion and Fitzsimmons is a potential powder keg. The SDP needs someone who knows the neighborhood and will take on the challenge. So, I respect Ms. Wayman for taking on the challenge. In a way, she is returning to Rhodes - where she was principal - by taking over Mansion. That said, I would not want to be a teacher under her 24/7 watch because it is her way or the highway. She is NOT a collaborative leader and she has little understanding of how students learn. So, we shall see...

I'm curious if Gratz - now under Mastery - will have its boundaries changed since Fitzsimmons is closing. Some Fitzsimmons students could go to Gratz. But, since Mastery seems to call the shots in the SDP - especially under Darden - I'm sure that will not happen.

Submitted by Mick (not verified) on June 20, 2012 9:37 am

Weyman, as posted often, is NOT a leader. She seems to know nothing except bullying and that's deadly. Thank God, though, they finally gave Ms. Donahue the pink slip. She was actually crazy and everybody knew it.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 19, 2012 10:47 pm

Did Wayman get demoted?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 20, 2012 5:49 am

Christopher Johnson is going to Ms. Nixon's executive cabinet. The SRC she look into why he lost his building for a year but retained his status and pay grade as a PSD employee. He is another one who spouts off at the mouth bet gets nothing done, evidence is in the test scores. I wonder why Ms. Nixon doesn't recruit or select for the inner circle those who actually know what they are doing she must be threatened by competition of the competent. The executive cabinet and salaries increase while school budgets, relevant Central Office staff decrease. I have a suggestion, get rid of Curriculum and Instruction they haven't done anything all year and won't do anything next year, reduce the size of Grants and Compliance who recently hired a large number of people, the large pool of secretaries who do nothing all day and Ms. Nixon's pool of support staff she has quite a few people working for her. Layoff notices will go out and people like Wayman, Lissa Johnson, Karen Dunkley, Christopher Johnson get promotions, salary upgrades and retain their positions.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 20, 2012 6:55 am

Under Ackerman, there was never full disclosure of who worked in her "cabinet" and salaries. We need full disclosure of who is working at 440 who are non-union employees, their salaries/benefits, and the chain of command. We also need to know their qualifications other than "friends of..."

I agree, the Curriculum Office is basically closed. The leadership in Curriculum (Bratton, L. Miller) are incompetent and are "hang overs" who some how continue to hang on...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 20, 2012 1:39 pm

Why is Karen Dunkley moving up? What the heck is going on? Please don't say that principals will be reporting to her....Does she know anything about education or organizational leadership?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 20, 2012 9:40 pm

Karen Dunkley's title is Associate Superintendent of Schools. How, when and why did she get a promotion?? This is the same way Ackerman ran her ship....promote from the galley.

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on June 21, 2012 3:13 am

Dunkley was brought to Philly by Ackerman ( and has no teaching experience other than taking courses at Columbia under Ackerman. She appears to be another left over from Ackerman/ Nixon.

Why is Nixon giving people positions when the search for a superintendent is supposedly on-going? Shouldn't the new superintendent pick his/her cabinet? Nixon is a left over from Ackerman. Nixon also ran a school under investigation for cheating. Don't continue to make the SDP another huge joke, SRC! Anyone associated with Ackerman needs to go!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 21, 2012 8:04 am

If I attend Teachers College, I can get the hook up with SDP earning $180 G's? Sit in my office everyday while writing my dissertation? Something worth thinking about...and fabricate stories about how I created a multi-lingual family program and the like...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 21, 2012 5:32 am

Unbelievable! Was she ever a certified teacher? A principal? Let's hope she has a superintendent's license in hand (not one in the making in her doctorate's program).

I am so sick of self serving people who position themselves with a title in the SDP as they perpetrate a fraud, getting paid 6 figures while they write their dissertation, before going off to another school district.

This nonsense has to stop!

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on June 21, 2012 8:51 am

Her doctorate is on parent engagement which is what her job was in Philly. I'm sure this is another stepping stone... yes, at our expense.

Submitted by A Touch of Sense (not verified) on June 21, 2012 8:05 am

The SRC and Mr. Knudsen are responsible for everything that happens in the school district. The SRC must start living up to their responsibility for what goes on within the school district including who is appointed to top leadership positions within the district.

For too long now the SRC has just rubber stamped the appointment of many unqualified people who were "put in place" only because of their personal connections.

Ackerman routinely fired or demoted many highly qualified and experienced educators and replaced them with her lackeys who would do her bidding for her. So did Paul Vallas.

The result is that the district is sorely lacking in leadership capacity at the top positions. It is known as the "brain drain" from the district.

When you have one person unilaterally promoting people, it is a prescription for lunacy.

Submitted by I Teach in Philly on June 20, 2012 8:06 am

Former principal Frank Murphy said, "nothing was ever, ever good enough," and he now encourages people not to become principals in tough city schools

This is the same reason I discourage every teacher I know who thinks of coming to PSD. Wayman is going to Strawberry Mansion? my heart and sympathy goes out to those teachers because she was a major contributor to the negative, destructive climate caused by the Walk Through teams.
— I Teach in Philly

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 20, 2012 9:43 am

Wayman to Mansion, can"t wait to read the comments in Sept.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 20, 2012 2:51 pm

Ms. Wayman is not going to tolerate no mess from these disrespectful children. When she was at E. Washington Rhodes as an principle there was zero tolerance for any mess. I had two children under her supervision and they loved her deeply. Ijs

Submitted by Mick (not verified) on June 20, 2012 2:37 pm

Ms. Wayman--thanks for posting now go back under your rock.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 20, 2012 3:18 pm

Maybe she would have done better as a principal at E. Washington Rhodes?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 20, 2012 5:09 pm

Her data at Rhodes was lousy.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 28, 2012 12:11 pm

First of all, Mansion students are not disrespectful. Incompetent staffers should not poison leaders by stories of failure and violence because a good leader can transform school climate and provide safety nets for students. Give students a sense of ownership in the building by providing avenues for success. Encourage all children to be successful and always have an open door policy for children, community partners, educators, parents and etc. That's is how it was when Mondesire was Principal. But she was able to transform those stories of children despair, violence and negativity into stories of post-secondary education, hope, ownership, and success. During her tenure, Strawberry Mansion High School was taken off the persistently dangerous list and became a model School in Philadelphia. I remember Ms. Wayman when she was Principal of Rhodes. All she did was kick out girls she didn't want and sent them to other schools like Mansion. Its going to be very interesting to see how she deals with being a principal in a comprehensive high school that never gets support from the school district unless its beneficial to the district, no security assistance, 22 open side doors, an adjacent elementary school connected, 1 working boiler for the winter that is shared with the connecting school, parents who are unwilling to monitor their child unless it is related to fighting, parents who refuse to come to programs, refuse to attend back to school night and no air conditioner in the building. Yea, it's going to be interesting. Mondesire had tough job. She never gave up and she earned the respect of the parents, staff and students. Her assistant principals were extremely helpful to her success. Brown was a specialist in special education. Album was a father for many of the students. Upchurch was a specialist in discipline and monitoring student activity along with her Climate Manager Cameron. The building was beautiful. The floors were always shining. Culinary Arts was brought in, as well as, dance, martial Arts, Student Government, College Partnerships and test scores did rise because student morale rose. Think about that.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 20, 2012 3:17 pm

Great to keep principals in their positions for 5 years, but make sure they are doing a good job first. Our staff can't wait for our principal to leave....he is a liar and thief, and doesn't have a clue about running a school, yet we just have to put up with the insanity.

Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on June 21, 2012 4:11 pm

I think teachers, caregivers/guardians, should have real say in the choosing of principals. Real say as in, veto power, or the ability to give honest feedback. If only one person or a few, select a principal, then the criteria is necessarily biased; and there must be a check to make sure it is not harmfully biased.

Submitted by Ken Derstine on June 21, 2012 5:20 pm

Let's see how much say we have in the Superintendent who is about to be announced. Let's see if the public meetings made a difference.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 21, 2012 7:40 pm

The new Superintendent will be Michelle Rhee good luck with her Philadelphia.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 21, 2012 11:42 pm

Put a cork in it, Bleat. Seriously, if that heinous woman comes here, she'll be the final nail in public education's coffin.
If any other teacher EVER taped her students' mouths shut to keep them quiet in the hall, she'd be fired, but Rhee can do it and joke about it, and there are no consequences?!!! Where are the parents of those children? I'd love to hear what they have to say about it. Funny, no one asks her about that, when they interview her for magazines or for documentaries.

Submitted by Ken Derstine on June 21, 2012 11:44 pm

For anyone who does not know what Anon is referring to, here's the link:

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on June 22, 2012 8:13 am

The new Superintendent should have had no relationship with Ackerman - this includes Nixon. We need to cleanse 440 N. Broad of Ackerman and her followers. While we are at it, there also should be no one associated with Vallas. Both damaged the SDP.

Submitted by Ken Derstine on June 22, 2012 8:38 am

If these candidates have any connection with The Broad Foundation or its Superintendent's Academy, they are connected to Ackerman. She was on their board while she was Superintendent in PSD.

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on June 22, 2012 8:04 am

...and the Urban Education Leaders Program from Teachers College / Columbia. We also were "given" many of Ackerman's students - .

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 21, 2012 8:43 pm

Lois Powell Mondesire was the best princal Strawberry Mansion ever had.

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on June 21, 2012 9:13 pm

Strawberry Mansion under Mondesire was notorious for cheating. As soon as she left, scores fell dramatically because her cheating methods were not implemented. Strawberry Mansion under Mondesire is under investigation for cheating by the PA Dept. of Ed. How can that be "best?"

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 27, 2012 8:47 pm

Scores dropped years before she departed and scores continued to drop when Dr. Byron Williams toke o9ver as Principal. He was a terrible principal, that's why he was removed.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 27, 2012 8:43 pm

Byron Williams was brought to Philadelphia by Ackerman to run a region. He was an Assistant to an Assistant Regional Superintendent. In that position, he also knew nothing. Why was he given a high school principalship when he was demoted from a Regional office?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 21, 2012 8:48 pm

The best principal the Strawberry Mansion Community ever had.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 21, 2012 9:47 pm

Mondesire was window dressing, the real heart, soul, blood and guts of the building was VP Marshall Album, God rest his soul.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 27, 2012 8:28 pm

Strawberry Mansion High School would not have flourished without the wonderful leadership of Ms. Lois Powell Mondesire and her team. Before Mondesire arrived at Strawberry Mansion High School, it was failing for decades under Charles High-smith. She was brought in by Edward Williams (then Chief Academic Officer) at the perfect time as a instruction specialist. She turned the school around through rigorous instruction and built long-lasting community partnerships through active communication. She had a great team. Mondesire was assisted by several assistants ... Album, Brown, Bright, Cameron, Up-church. All of her assistants gave as much as they can to implement her philosophy into discipline, instruction and creating an educational haven for success. Strawberry Mansion High School test scores were improving from year to year. Only during the end of her tenure as Principal did the scores begin to drop. In 2004 through 2007 test scores at Mansion made A.Y.P. but in 2008 through 2010 test scores begin to decrease. I can't say for did any cheating occur, but I do have common sense. If one was to cheat, why not continue to cheat if the scores are decreasing?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 27, 2012 8:18 pm

Mansion under Mondesire was known for cheating on the PSSA. Selected students were tested in different areas of the building, provided with "support" during testing, and were pulled out of "non tested" subjects for test prep. Mansion was a test prep factory under Mondesire. Scores went down dramatically when she left because her predecessors did not follow her testing "protocols" which were always suspect. Mansion's enrollment also plummeted under Mondesire. Now, with the influx of students from Rhodes and Fitzsimmons the school will be a real challenge.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 28, 2012 1:57 am

When it comes to test scores becoming low. You have to consider the factors surrounding school enrollment. Enrollment was affected by the amount of students becoming incarcerated and students lack of interest. Students refused show up to take the test, but Mondesire and her staff went to homes, gave incentives for attendance, held assemblies and award programs - all to encourage students not only to take the test, but to pass it. You may call it cheating, but I call it great leadership. You see some folk love to sit and criticize others, but it's hard to step up and lead. Every principal before Mondesire with the exception of Mr. Gillespie, carried the torch of leadership at Strawberry Mansion and brought it to blue ribbon status. Mondesire was a different type of leader, so yea, you may not understand that teaching, implementing, professional development, and strategies is not cheating.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 28, 2012 7:06 am

Mansion is on the list of schools for cheating because of high erasures. It has nothing to do with the gimmicks used to get students to show up for the tests.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 28, 2012 8:14 am

Kids do change answers on those tests. How can the state determine cheating through eraser marks.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 28, 2012 8:29 am

Sometimes children change their answers from right ones to wrong ones (which is what mine are inclined to do :) and sometimes they change them from wrong to right. When answers are ONLY changed from wrong to right, that's a RED FLAG, because that's not normal. When this happens on test after test...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 22, 2012 5:46 am

The District is very close to selecting a Superintendent, so much for transparency. The public will have an opportunity to meet them after they are selected. I can bet my last dollar that the finalist have either been ousted or asked to leave their current position. Philadelphia will become the laughing stock of the nation when Michelle Rhee is announced. Welcome Michelle Rhee, allow me to tell you where to get the best steak and hoagie to enjoy while you fire, union bust, bring in an inner circle and decimate another school district. Washington, have you recovered yet?

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