Principal Pope of Hardy Middle School ousted by Rhee

rheeOn Friday afternoon at Georgetown’s Hardy Middle School, D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee proved speculations that she would remove the well-liked Principal Patrick Pope from his post to be correct. The Washington Post‘s Bill Turque reported that before a roomful of incensed parents, Rhee announced that Pope would be leaving after this school year to plan a new magnet middle school for the arts.

Parents were outraged, Turque said, and for two hours, accused Rhee of trying to make the school more attractive to families of children at local, white “feeder schools,” which she has held meetings with over the past two years, at the expense of the school’s fine arts reputation.

On Monday, Jonetta Rose Barras seconded the accusations in her Examiner column:

“The recession, a new building and an education reform movement have merged to renew interest in Hardy among white residents. That’s a good thing. Problem is, they favor a traditional academic program and a principal who advocates that model. Hardy and Pope don’t fit that bill.”

Georgetown Metropolitan writes that after Rhee left, the Councilmember from Ward 7 Yvette Alexander told the audience gathered in the school cafeteria, “We’ve got to get rid of Fenty. And Rhee. And you can quote me on that!”

“Pope will be replaced this summer by Dana L. Nerenberg, principal of nearby Hyde-Addison Elementary, who will run both schools as a unified pre-kindergarten through eighth grade program,” Turque wrote.

He gave a speech thanking the audience for their encouragement without saying whether or not he had been forced out.

Photo taken from Flickr user David Clow – Maryland under a Creative Commons license.

13 Comments on “Principal Pope of Hardy Middle School ousted by Rhee

  1. Why is Yvtette Alexander speaking at this meeting? She doesn’t represent Georgetown at all. We already have enough bureaucrats telling us that we can’t party loudly or eat a slice of pizza after 12 midnight. We don’t need another self-important politician to tell us how to act with public works.

    Though…maybe this backlash from out of district opponents will help the ANC use some common sense and stop pushing the university around. Maybe when the shoe is on the other foot, the ANC will gain a new perspective. Doubt it though.

  2. My guess is that Alexander, and likely every council member, has constituents that send their children to Hardy. I teach in Ward 8 and helped one of my former students transfer over there for the current school year. It doesn’t seem unreasonable that she would be there, although I’m not saying that as an endorsement (nor a refutation) of her comments.

  3. Mike is right, Hardy draws from primarily black parts of the city and Alexander represents a significant portion of SE. That said, she’s one of the two Council members (along with everyone’s favorite, Marion Barry) to vote against the Gay Marriage Bill, so to hell with her.

  4. Yvette Alexander represents the people in this city most often forgotten; namely, those who live east of the river. By appearing at that meeting, she was simply representing her constituents, who send their children to schools like Hardy in the hopes that they might escape the cycle of poverty. I work with several schools in SE and, though it’s sad to see so many children leaving these schools for charter schools, it’s equally tragic to contemplate the ramifications of effectively closing the door on such educational opportunities for bright children and letting them waste their potential in dangerous schools in dangerous neighborhoods. Schools like Hardy represent a last chance for so many children; can’t Michelle Rhee see that?

  5. I am confused. How will Nerenberg oversee two different campuses at the same time. How far apart are they? Unified? In what sense? That they share a principal?

  6. Hyde-Addison is the elementary school on O St. near Wisconsin, right by Wingo’s. Hardy is of course up near the sometime Safeway, so these are clearly separate campuses, although geographically not far apart. I’m not really sure of the benefit of having one leader for the two schools, however, especially given the slowed response time to building-based crises.

  7. Yvette Alexander does have many constituents attending Hardy MS (including my child). The same fateful day, DCPS’ latest information booklet on NCLB stats shows why W7 residents choose Hardy. Kelly Miller, my “neighborhood” MS, has students at less than 30% proficiency. Major issue is Rhee is choosing to create havoc in a successful DCPS school. Why? When there are schools that need transformation to meet AYP. It’s absurd. It’s about power and control.

    My child attended Hyde and I was very active parent-leader. DH has 4 years of administrative experience thus leading an MS is a ridiculous notion especially since she’s not primarily an educator but transitioned there from Teach for America. DH was not the parent choice for Hyde and Wilhoyte and DCPS named her even though we spent a day and more interviewing principal candidates. DH should focus on developing the newest aspect of Hyde which is Addison. That school remained on DCPS’ modernization plan when many other schools came off and the small school was threatened. Adding Addison was our saving grace and it was b/c of the initiative to move special ed students back to DCPS. She should focus her energies there. MS is different and she is not, inmy opinion, the person to lead a school 1/2 mile apart.
    Power and control – Rhee was pissed off at parents and Pope and wants us to make sure we’re in our place. She has got to go!!!!!

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  10. This is the lowest point in DCPS in recent history. I do not believe there is an Arts Academy. It is my belief that it is an underhanded attempt to remove the African-American students from Georgetown community. The schools in the Georgetown community offer a safe heaven for many students that have very few alternatives. Both Chancellor Rhee and Mayor Fenty should be ashamed of themselves. Come on guys lowering your standards will not get you re-elected, to the contrary.

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