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Seattle superintendent reverses herself on Ingraham High prinicipal

Martin Floe is being asked to stay. Interim Superintendent Susan Enfield says she has listened to the community and teachers.

In a dramatic reversal, Seattle Public Schools said it will keep Martin Floe as principal at Ingraham High School. Seattle Public Schools' interim superintendent, Susan Enfield, announced her decision this afternoon (May 17) in a letter to the north end high school's staff, students, and families this afternoon, just hours before a meeting she scheduled with the parents' organization.

After scheduling the meeting, Enfield had talked to The Seattle Times about how a good leader listens to the public and staff. She picked up on that theme in her letter, writing that her initial decision had been aimed at strengthening opportunities for all students, transparancy, and accountability. She continued:

However, I also know that a good leader listens. After extensive conversations with Ingraham High School staff and the community, I have decided to renew Mr. Floe's contract for the 2011-12 school year, under the condition that he continue on a plan of improvment, which I, along with his Executive Director, will monitor throughout the year.

Enfield defended herself and other administrators, saying that work over "many months leading up to my initial decision not to renew Mr. Floe's contract was, and is, solid."

Schools' personnel decisions are often wrapped in secrecy, and the decision to remove Floe had provoked confusion, consternation, and huge expressions of support from staff, parents, and students at the school. The reversal brought expressions of joy on a Facebook site created to support Floe. "Our hard work paid off, everyone!" wrote one person posting on the site shortly after 4 p.m.

On the Save Seattle Schools Community Blog, Melissa Westbrook, who wrote a Crosscut article on the firing, praised Enfield:

Bravo Dr. Enfield.  You are your own kind of leader and it's a brave and wise leader who admits a mistake (or says they will try again).

Enfield's letter is here.

Joe Copeland is political editor for Crosscut. You can reach him at Joe.Copeland@crosscut.com.


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