Interim D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson reversed a key reform of her predecessor on Wednesday when she announced that she will appoint a full-time principal at Hardy Middle School in Northwest.
In a letter to parents, Henderson wrote, "The cluster model was not the right model to support Hardy MS as it embraced both a new leader and significant increase in the number of students. At this time, both Hardy MS and Hyde ES need a full-time principal to ensure that student achievement improves and sudents have an enjoyable and successful end of the school year."
She refers to the decision of predecessor Michelle Rhee to join the schools as a "mistake": "[The Hardy community shares] responsibility in making mistakes which have contributed to the challenges that Hardy now faces. We also commit to correcting these mistakes..."
Dana Nerenberg, the principal of Hyde Elementary School, has been overseeing both Hyde and Hardy under Rhee's efforts to "turn" Hardy. The Washington Post explains:
The move effectively pulls the plug on one of former Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's most bitterly contested decisions: her reassignment of veteran Hardy principal Patrick Pope. It was an attempt by Rhee to signal to families in the neighborhood that Hardy, which under Pope drew its predominantly African-American enrollment from across the city, was a regular neighborhood school. But the move produced an angry reaction from some Hardy parents, who saw it as an attempt by Rhee to ease black children out of the newly renovated school, one of the city's few academically viable middle schools.
Nerenberg will return full-time to Hyde Elementary, while Henderson will apoint an interim principal after a Jan. 31 meeting between the Hardy Parent-Teacher Association and Local School Restructuring Team.
Henderson emphasized that the decision "is not a reflection of [Nerenberg's] leadership. She enthusiastically and ably assumed leadership of the cluster last spring and both schools are better because of her work."