Monday, July 14, 2014

Seattle Schools Principal Assignments

From SPS:

Dear Catharine Blaine K–8 Community,
I am pleased to announce … Ms. Heather Johnson (formerly Swanson) will return to serve as your new principal. Your current principal, Ms. Julie Cox, will be Principal at North Beach Elementary next year.Ms. Johnson spent the past year as a middle school Principal at the American School of Barcelona, in Spain. Previously, she served as principal at Catharine Blaine from 2006 through 2012, and she is excited to be returning to this school community.
Prior to moving to Spain, Ms. Johnson was a consultant to the Readers and Writers Project at Columbia Teachers College in New York. During her previous time as Catharine Blaine’s Principal, she also served as the President of the Principals Association of Seattle Schools (PASS) for one year. Early in her career, she taught Language Arts, Social Studies and Reading at Seattle’s Denny Middle School, which has been renamed Denny International Middle School.
After receiving a Bachelor of Arts from Seattle Pacific University, Ms. Johnson earned a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from the same school. She holds Washington State certifications as an administrator.
Ms. Johnson has been selected because she was a highly rated principal prior to her departure from Seattle Public Schools and is a natural fit for the Catharine Blaine K–8 community. She is a dedicated instructional leader who is committed to working collaboratively with parents, teachers and students. We will be arranging an opportunity for the community to meet with her when she returns to the United States full-time in August.
Please help me welcome Ms. Heather Johnson back to the Catharine Blaine community and to thank Ms. Julie Cox for her leadership during the past two years.
Sincerely,
José Banda

22 comments:

mirmac1 said...

Oh gosh, I pity North Beach.

Anonymous said...

Julie Cox uncovered a lot of dirty business and challenged conventional, one-dimensional thinking at Blaine and was publicly vilified for it. No good deed goes unpunished, indeed!

Blaine, like most schools in SPS with a predominately White student demographic, gets what it wants in the end. Back to the status quo, nepotism, and mediocrity with the old principal of returning.

- District Observer

Anonymous said...

Mirmac's comment seems far from constructive. Nor is it informative.

Seen It

Anonymous said...

Which principal at North Beach abandoned Saxon math via a BLT maneuver? How is the NB community sitting with that decision? I have heard of other issues that have gone on for the last 4 years there; slowly students have trickled away from that school to other places. Will the new principal care/notice/want to do anything about that? Did the NB community get a hiring committee with good parent representation?

-northbeach-curious

mirmac1 said...

You haven't seen what I've seen. You may have your opinion and I am entitled to mine. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Agreed that Mirmac's mean middle school vibe paired with no supporting evidence is quite poor. A lot of the information here is helpful and the commenters usually insightful but those sort of comments are not.

Veteran Reader

mirmac1 said...

Facts are that Cox misdirected PTSA funds intended for a math tutor and instead had him work on her data dashboard the first month of the school year. When a staff person questioned this in a staff meeting, that teacher was unceremoniously placed on a PIP, drummed out, and blacklisted. Cox really should follow her equally malignant BFF Nancy Coogan to Tukwila.

North Beach now gets to deal with her.

Anonymous said...

I have also heard stories from parents at CB of really nasty, vindictive behavior from Cox. Also that it was her pattern at the school in the midwest before she was hired by Seattle. Teachers and PTA members were intimidated and feared retaliation against their kids. There were also emails between the principal and exec director refering to one individual who has raised complaints as the "evil parent".

Of course, this was only one side of the story.

wallfly

Unknown said...

I was at a school board meeting where some folks from CB complained to the board about the leadership:bullying behavior by the principal.

-Another SPS parent

Anonymous said...

Re-post to answer others questions

Anonymous said...

Interesting North Beach BLT on their own voted to drop the Saxon math waiver for EN-VISION. When we pressed the principle he rebutted that "The bld staff made the choice"

They also got some new projectors from the district then the PTA voted to spend another $32K on upgrading and mounting of projectors. I see drop math waiver and get new projectors...is it a coincidence ?

Many parents did not know of the waver decision and some still don't. The principle seemed very angry for anyone questioning his decision.

Two of the PTA anti-saxon members blurted out, now that we don't have to pay for Saxon math we can buy the better projectors.

I don't know about funds at other schools, but $32K seems like a lot of PTA money to blow on projector mounting!

--Michael

6/27/14, 11:09 AM

Charlie Mas said...

So, again I ask, what is the principal appointment process?

Which schools get to participate in the hiring decision and which schools do not? What guidelines are followed? Is stability of leadership a value?

Anonymous said...

The process is "Here is your new principal love it or leave!"

--Michael

Anonymous said...

When you consider that old technology projectors have bulbs that cost $800 each, you can burn up $32K fairly quickly.

I expect the principal was angry to get an email like this:

"R.J. Sammons,

Who was in attendance at the BLT meeting today? It is my understanding that the School Board is specifically interested in community engagement in the math adoption. I have never received any out reach from the school to the parents and guardians on the issue of math adoption for North Beach. Math in Focus was the better choice offered by the district but it is still inferior to Saxon. Why not continue with a superior math curriculum? IN OTHER WORDS, if it's not broken don't fix it.
North Beach has a 13 year legacy using Saxon math. I find it hard to believe the North Beach community would take this saucy email from you lightly." 6/9/14

Happy w/MIF

Anonymous said...

In addition , there was an HR investigation...open to all who wish to do a FOIA...finding Cox did push an employee and then lied about it. A month later, moved to another school. I wonder if it was the other way around, would this teacher just be moved...

As for Swanson, better but not perfect.

Yes, what is the principal hiring process? Or rather, why is proffessional standards so different for those who are in roles in administration.

-InDahHood

-

Anonymous said...

"Bulbs that cost $800? Pesos or dollars? My entire projector cost less than that...Oh and you forgot to add on the $600.00 from the district. So it's actually over $40K, $32k was PTA money.

I expect to see nice gains in test scores to justify the expenditure?

--Michael

Anonymous said...

Cox is a EDM and Reader and writers proponent. North Beach was Saxon and linguist remedies.

This proves the second law of thermodynamics.

--Michael

Anonymous said...


Who was in attendance at the BLT meeting today? It is my understanding that the School Board is specifically interested in community engagement in the math adoption. I have never received any out reach from the school to the parents and guardians on the issue of math adoption for North Beach. Math in Focus was the better choice offered by the district but it is still inferior to Saxon. Why not continue with a superior math curriculum? IN OTHER WORDS, if it's not broken don't fix it.
North Beach has a 13 year legacy using Saxon math. I find it hard to believe the North Beach community would take this saucy email from you lightly."

Hey that's my email! and RJ can go ride his pony off into the sunset!
or more precisely to BT.

also happy with MIF

Melissa Westbrook said...

I don't know about projectors but I was told that the bulbs for the white boards are something like $200 each. And, that when they go out, the district expects the schools to replace them out of school budgets. But that was two superintendents ago.

mirmac1 said...

When I served on our PTA's budget committee, we budgeted a few thousand for projector bulbs that were $800. Brutal. But what's the alternative? The overhead projector and writing on transparencies? In our digital mecca, where is the SPS Technology Plan? I found an assessment online that had this to say:

"Based on staff comments, it appears that the vision for moving from a paper-based curriculum and teacher-driven instruction toward a more digital-based curriculum and student-driven learning is starting to evolve in SPS."

Aaah, so teachers going the way of the dinosaur, to be replaced by students teaching themselves.

Anonymous said...

Projectors bulbs last 2k-3K hours or about 750 school days when running 4 hours per day. When I purchased projectors we always negotiated one free replacement bulb for each unit.

We never had to replace bulbs and ended up selling the replacements on ebay and used the money to buy new projectors with free replacement bulbs.

Selecting units that have $800 bulbs would be a bad choice unless you have no alternatives which is NOT the case for SPS. There are at least 15 brands/models meeting the requirements with replacement bulb cost around $200.00, but with one free replacement you should NEVER need to buy any replacements.

How to run a school

Charlie Mas said...

The new projectors with LED lamps last 30,000 - 40,000 hours. And they are cheaper to buy in the first place.

Anonymous said...

To "District Observer" -

Nepotism? Was there nepotism that Julie Cox uncovered? If so, please show some evidence of that. From what I understand, the only nepotism was years before and it was a playground supervisor. So, not exactly a position of great authority.

As for what she DID get rid of, well, she got rid of (and vilified) a respected special education teacher, several other teachers left the school for other schools, and at least one teacher left the district altogether.

If you want to talk about cronyism, well, that's how she got the job, and that's how she hired new teachers.