2008-02-08 / Community

Executive Principals To Be Named For Failing Schools

Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein and Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA) President Ernest A. Logan today announced the start of the Executive Principal program, in which expert principals are paid an annual bonus of $25,000 if they commit to leading struggling schools for three years. The Department of Education (DOE) hopes to appoint up to a dozen Executive Principals within the next year.

Candidates for the position must have a record of successful school leadership for at least three years in their current principal positions and their schools must have one or more strong potential successors. Executive Principals will be appointed to positions at low-performing schools with principal vacancies, which will be posted on the DOE website. The DOE will evaluate whether principals who apply meet the criteria to become an Executive Principal.

"I am overjoyed that the Executive Principal program is underway," Chancellor Klein said. "Strong school leaders are critical to the success of our schools and this bonus money is already attracting some of our most talented principals to the schools that need them most."

"The Executive Principal concept is one of several important progressive ideas we were able to work into our latest contract, and we are very proud that it is getting underway," said Logan. "Through this program, we hope schools will benefit from the skills and experience of some of the City's most outstanding school leaders. This is an exceptional opportunity for an exceptional Principal, and we wish her the best."

The first Executive Principal, Karen Watts, who will lead the ACORN High School for Social Justice in Bushwick, Brooklyn, was one of more than 100 experienced principals invited by Chancellor Klein to learn more about the program last fall. Ms. Watts has been an educator in the New York City public schools for more than 14 years as a teacher, assistant principal, and most recently as principal of Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Harlem, which received an A last year on its school progress report. Watts begins as Executive Principal at ACORN High School immediately.

"We are thrilled that the parents, students, and teachers at ACORN High School for Social Justice are gaining Karen Watts, an experienced educator, to lead the turnaround of this school," Bertha Lewis, President of ACORN, said. "ACORN High School for Social Justice needs the type of experienced leadership that the Executive Principal program will provide. We commend Chancellor Klein and President Logan for a commitment to improving failing schools. The ACORN community is excited and eager to work with our new principal."

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