City/Poly Principal Shake-up: Yes, we've heard the rumors
Many of our readers are wondering if we've heard the buzz surrounding the possible replacement of the principals at City College and the Polytechnic Institute -- two of the city's premier high schools.
The answer is: yes, the buzz started for us about two weeks ago -- when a source mentioned casually that the retirement of Western High School's principal would leave the top seats at three of Baltimore's flagship high schools vacant.
However, the position of the Western High principal is posted on the city schools Web site, and the others are not. The Western job joins the dozens of principal changes, reassignments included, that have taken place this summer (look for a story on that soon), and I have the stack of personnel reports -- which are made public after the school board approves them -- to prove it has been quite the summer of leadership turnover.
But Barney Wilson, the principal of Poly, and Tim Dawson, the principal of City, have not been among the turnovers.
Granted, City and Poly aren't just ordinary schools -- which makes it all the more difficult to move on speculation. And believe me, no one's talking, just yet.
My sources tell me that it is anticipated that at least one of these leaders won't go down without a fight.
Another point: Last week, I watched as the board could not decide whether to uphold recommendations for terminations of two employees by CEO Andres Alonso, ultimately tabling the recommendations until the next board meeting on Aug 10. It is not known who those employees might be.
Here's what we know about the debate taking place around the principals of City and Poly:
In the case of City College, Neil Bernstein, a permanent board emeritus member of City College's alumni association, said the group of heavily invested, well-connected and vocal alums tabled a vote of "no confidence" for the school's principal last month.
Bernstein also said that he was under the impression that "the deal was done," when it came to the removal of Dawson. But he maintained the association had no inclination that any dismissal would happen this year.
“The alumni association did not ask for the dismissal of Principal Dawson, but a resolution of no confidence had been tabled at a meeting," Burnstein said. "That’s not to say that individual board members have not made known their concern about Principal Dawson’s administration.”
He admitted that he wasn't a fan of Dawson, himself.
“I did not think he had the wisdom, nor the commitment, to a fluid college preparatory program that City provides," Bernstein said.
But, even Bernstein admitted that "'it's not done til it's done."
We've attempted to reach the Poly Alumni Association and Dawson and Wilson but have not heard back from them.
The school system would not comment on any personnel matters.