Jun 23, 2010

Johnson Middle School Principal Gets The Ax From Rhee & Company

What's the Count of DC Principals Fired under Rhee's administration? 20, 30, 50 ?

I received an email dated June 21 stating that David Markus, a new principal of Johnson Middle School located at 1400 Bruce Pl. SE in Washington, DC received the official ax from Chancellor Michelle Rhee and company on Friday, June 18, 2010. Inside sources reveal in a email (below) that Markus' principal contract was not renewed and that he was served notice last week.

After printing this story, I received a personal email from a person claiming to be David Markus. I requested that Mr. Markus write me from his DCPS email account so that I could verify that he was actually David Markus. Later, Markus wrote me as a private citizen from his DCPS email account in which he disputed information which I received from inside sources about him being handcuffed and led off Johnson school premises. Markus stated “I was not taken off in handcuffs. I worked all day on Friday and Monday and Tuesday I was on a field trip with my students. I am home sick today, but will be working until my contract ends. " While Markus requested that I remove this story from my blog, I am committed to being transparent and printing the truth about what is actually happening on our DCPS landscape.

According to Linkedin which is a business oriented social networking site, Markus is the principal at J. Hayden Johnson Middle School starting August 2009 and prior to that had been the assistant principal at Cardozo Senior High School from August 2008- 2009. Markus who was part of the new leaders for new schools program noted in his public profile that he was "working to improve teaching and learning at an under performing school that has great potential for success."

I have at Markus' request removed statements which he reports are not true from the email I posted below. However, based on my reading of Markus' emails to me, it appears that his principal contract as initially reported by anonymous sources will not be renewed and Johnson Middle School will be searching for a new principal very shortly.

I feel compelled to add that under Chancellor Rhee's model of reform, many have been hired and fired (thousands). In my opinion, employee performance has little to do with the actual reason why principals and other DCPS employees are terminated under this administration. Often times principals report they aren't even told why their DCPS contract doesn't get renewed by Rhee. Until we say no to this type of 'meat ax' reform under Fenty and Rhee, we can expect the wholesale firings of DC Public Schools personnel to continue. It is the only tool in Rhee's arsenal. It is most unfortunate that our educational leaders as well as teachers and school personnel are not given the opportunity nor the tools to really reform our urban schools. Certainly not even superman could turn around a troubled school in less than a year's time. DC residents must stand up to this kind of leadership and employee downsizing by voting NO for Adrian Fenty as the next mayor of Washington, DC in the fall. Another vote for Fenty is an assurance that 'at will' terminations without regard to performance will continue under the Rhee administration.

Here is the email as promised:

"I know the Principal at my school, Johnson Middle School was let go after only one year. I understand that he was given a letter not to return on last Friday. We are interviewing this Thursday. Also I spoke to a number of people that other central office staff in DCPS just received pink slips. Is Markus the only new principal fired in the last week ?"


Name not reveled to protect confidentiality


Anonymous said...

I have heard that the principal and AP of Truesdall EC were also let go.

Anonymous said...

I know who Markus is. He's a youngish white man with a real passion for education, though perhaps in over his head at Johnson.

But Truesdell!! That principal had been brought over there from Clark as it closed and Truedell reconstituted. I really thought he was one of RheeĊ› guys.

Also hear the principal of Reed is retiring.

Anonymous said...

This is a sad time in DCPS. Michelle-I Know Nothing and You Can't Tell Me Nothing-Rhee is destroying people's careers, and lives. The DCPS community of teachers, students, and teachers need to try our best to oust Fenty and George Parker. We can do much better.

Linda/RetiredTeacher said...

I am happy to know that Rhee's "tool" will be used on her in the fall.

EFavorite said...

I can see why Mr. Markus would want to clear up this matter. He has a life after DCPS, after

I don't know a thing about this, except what I read here.

Mr. Markus, assuming you didn't deserve this treatment (e.g. cheating, harming kids), I wish you all the best. Get as far away from this toxic atmosphere as you can.

Anonymous said...

It appears that Rhee is an equal opportunity terminator, firing young, Caucasian, New Leaders as well as experienced, minority, traditional principals.

But the questions is, how many times can you fire the principal of a single school? How many times can you reconstitute a school?

In additional to the turmoil and uncertainty, there's the issue of efficacy. Threatening educators with firing and then making good on your threat does not seem to make us more effective.

Anonymous said...


When will those fired principals snitch on that Michelle Rhee? They assisted Michelle Rhee with the bogus RIF. She thanked them with a pink slip! LOL! It's your turn now to be unemployed! Speak fools, speak fools! Help Rhee get her pink slip and arrested for fraud!

Anonymous said...

The 2:32am commenter is woefully uninformed if he/she believes that the type of reasons a principal can be fired are exemplified by such things as "cheating" or "harming kids."

This commenter needs to consider measurable performance reflecting such achievements or failures regarding: recruiting and developing teachers, implementing IMPACT as well as possible, providing remedial opportunities for ineffective teachers, firing ineffective teachers who do not improve, discoplining teachers who convey a sense of failure to the children, using a cell phone and doing other personal business during classroom time.

Anonymous said...

The principal at HD Woodson was very smart and resigned this year after finding a very good job with a future.

Seems he was not buying John Davis' lying words and/or fake promises.

To Mr. Markus

Did you look into the history of Johnson? Were up hoping to SAVE THE KIDS? Were you planning to whip those teachers into shape? How did you treat your staff and members of Johnson's community? Did you buy the New Leaders big joke? If the answer to any of the above questions is YES, YOU WERE DOOMED BEFORE YOU WALKED THROUGH THE DOOR OF JOHNSON.

Didn't take long to fall off your WHITE HORSE.

meaningful change said...

Anon 3:50 am,
I agree with you. This is just another example of Rhee's poor leadership ability. How many of Rhee's handpicked principals has she fired?

The constant turnover is causing havoc and will prevent any real improvement.

Once again we can see that Rhee's main reform tools are firing and intimidating employees.

EFavorite said...

Hey commenter 11:45 - are you the same anon who ofter responds to me on the urban teachers education blog?

I'm realizing that you sound like Jo-ann Armao of the Washington Post editorial board. If you're not Jo-ann, you should check her out - you have a lot in common in style and content. I think you'll like her and you could pick up some writing tips.

If you are Jo-ann, Welcome to this blog - in the off-chance it's your first visit.

Anonymous said...

@June 24th 4:56AM, You are right, the fired principals need to snitch on the *itch! I would tell all that I know about the fake RIFs. Give this loser a taste of her own poison.

Sheila H. Gill said...

Here is another example that DCPS needs a Superintendent who is certified, qualified, fiscally responsible and experienced.

Leadership starts from the top!! Organization starts from the top!! Academic excellence starts from the top!!

It' time for all DC Stakeholders to pay attention and vote for a "NEW MAYOR 2010" and a certified Superintendent will follow. The DCPS system will be in a disarray until an appointed certified Superintendent is assigned to lead this school system with an educational plan for the best interest of all students, parents and educators!

DCPS is "A HOT MESS!" Mr. Markus: It pays to advocate for yourself. Good Luck in your future endeavors!!

Anonymous said...

Why is no one on here talking about the amount of teachers who received an excess letter in June? I was at the Transfer Fair and the amount of people who were excessed was staggering. I've heard from a very reliable source that 9 teachers were excessed from Jefferson Middle School alone!

Anonymous said...

And speaking of teachers excessed! You know that principals are looking at excessed teachers' IMPACT scores as a type of reference before hiring them. An overall average score of 2.5 seems like an absolute minimum. Good luck and bless any of you out there who've been excessed.

Anonymous said...

To the Commenter at 725 p.m. .... lo, I am the commenter you disrespected. I do not work for the Washingtone Poste.

Altho you were critical, you did not respond to the "meat" of the criteria identified for evaluating principals. Shall we take that as your agreement?

You do know, we hope, that principals are supposed to manage their flock of teachers in each school, including dealing with the ineffective ones, the good ones. All of them.

The sooner we recognize that, the better off we will be.

Note also: we are rooting for Mr. Saunders to the run the Union.

I will not post here again, as I am, as always, Anonymous. Do not be fooled by imitators.

The Washington Teacher said...

Anonymous @ 10:10
I am very concerned about the number of teachers who have been excessed. I have heard between 400-500 teachers. The problem is there aren't enough positions for the number of teachers excessed. As many as 45 teachers have been reported to have been excessed from Ballou SHS.

June 25, 2010 2:38 PM

Anonymous said...

Well, it looks like things are getting worse for us teachers but Ms. Rhee's cup runneth over with blessings! Check out the URL below. Rhee has made it to hollywood! Ugh!!!


Anonymous said...

Wow!!! I saw the hearing on Monday June 21, 2010 with George Parker, he was so nervous when testifying he couldnt sit still. We all know why he sold teachers out. He then had the audicity to try to explain why it was good for teachers and fair to students. He know he sold his soul to the devil please watch the replays. Sad thing is he allowed the excessed teacher component of the contract. NOW look-- instead of a Manufactured RIF we have more excessing. I think the 266 got the better deal. At least they dont have Impact on them-- and hopefully they will be reinstated under the Gray Administration. God Bless Us All!!!

Anonymous said...

I too, saw that sad George Parker speaking on teachers' behalf. The man lied so much I thought he was going to need some nerve medicine. He said, he alone had the right to sign off on the WTU contract. He said he did not need the teachers' vote, nor their input. We need to change the WTU constitution. I never knew that my vote did not even matter, just the union president's vote mattered.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing in Mr. Gray's public comments, and private ones that are pretty well known, to suggest that he would, as mayor, rehire the 266 RIFed teachers.

And there would be a number of legal barriers to doing so, as well as the clear possibility of citizen and other groups opposing such a move in court.

Sheila H. Gill said...

Hi Anonymous 1:53 PM:

Justice will prevail for the 266 because the law was broken. I'm confident that Chairman Gray or any attorney will uphold the law.

Rhee manufactured the Reduction in Force and never stopped hiring SY 09-10. Everyone is entitled to due process and the 266 were fired based on Rhee's alleged budget deficit in October 2009!!

However, Rhee clearly stated in April 2010 at the Wilson Buildng that there was a $29M to $34M surplus SY 09-10.

There aren't any legal barriers when the law was clearly broken before and after Rhee's manufactured Reduction In Force.

Stay tuned to July 30, 2010 and witness that justice will prevail for the 266!

Anonymous said...

Thank YOU Shelia Gill!!! for your comment. Amazing that anon 1:53 is in the dark. Clearly, the law was broken!!! when Rhee RIFfed the 266 which I am one of. I just can't believe that we have not been reinstated yet. Anyway! Justice will prevail anony 1:53. Looking forward to the back PAY!
And to You Ms. Gill Thank you to you for always representing the 266 so well and Thank you for your bravery in Standing on our behalf May God Bless You!!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of excess teachers, almost all teachers and support staff were excessed from Stanton Elementary. Only 3 or 4 were retained.

Anonymous said...

Sad to hear about all the firings.

Cynthia said...

Can anyone post the link to the dc council roundtable? I heard that George Parker was awful and that Harry Thomas lit into him about how many emails he is getting from teachers who are disgusted with Parker and his holdup of the election.

can you tell us where to find this broadcast of the hearing?

Anonymous said...


You all should file a class action suit! Stanton was reconstituted less than 3 years ago which means MR really didn't give STANTON a chance. I worked in that neighborhood as a head start teacher. It is difficult and a very challenging environment. My three and four year olds lived a rough life. Shootings they talked about, mice and roaches at home, harrassment on the street, father in jail, mom at her wits end. Good Luck Stanton Staff.

Anonymous said...

To see this or any city council meeting, go to the council website and follow the links the office of cable television http://oct.dc.gov/services/on_demand_video

The specific link for this meeting is


When you get there, see the date of this meeting, june 21, click on the "view this meeting" link to the right to get the video.

Anonymous said...

Replay of the June 21, 2010 Public Roundtable on the Teachers' Contract can be viewed at: www.dccouncil.us. click on ON-Demand Video and go to Week Four or five then COW on June 21.

Parker was...just what you would expect--noticably squirmy. In the course of Rhee's words, she said Stanton ES is to be "reconstituted" by a charter school outfit from Philadelphia. Ms. Gill was staunch.

In a comment I read to a NY Times article, someone said Rhee's style of reform is to "scortch and burn."
And that is just what I'm seeing in all these comments here about the firings and excessings. Isn't it time to rescue our schools, and our children, from this madness?

Anonymous said...

5:39 posting person,

Oh, yes, let's stop the madness.

Why not "march on Washington" or "boycott?"

kingston 6 said...

When does the council vote on the contract? Media outlets make it seem as if the voting will pass. This is disappointing because I was still hoping that it would not pass by the council.

kingston 6 said...

Confused..400 - 500 teachers excessed? This is sad. Are they under the old contract which states that a principal must employ? Or the new contract which has yet to be voted on by the city council?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone heard anything about the idiotic admin. team over at Eastern SHS?

Anonymous said...

Instead of Impeaching George, the member's of WTU should weigh options with other national unions. George Parker does not care about the $29.61 teachers pay every two weeks out of the checks. Since the Rhee and Parker have bonded together to get rid of the teachers in DC for over 3 years straight, teachers have no job security or respect. Teaching is one of the oldest respected professsions and we have had enough! We need to stand together and fight for Respect and Job Security without George Parker and Michelle Rhee. We can join together and form our own independent union. For $29.61 every two weeks under a Independent Union, then George Parker won't matter any more. Teacher's Take A Stand and Fight For Respect and Job Security!

The Wash. Teacher moderates said...

Moderated Response by The Washington Teacher

First I have to moderate this comment below from anonymous. I don't dislike anyone including George Parker for starters. What I dislike are Parker's unethical, exclusionary and dictatorial practices of running our union amongst other things. He seeks to squash union members involvement and silence their voice all the while taking 3.5 million dollars in dues money. As an active Board of Trustee member who has sat across from George for the past 3 years- I feel qualified to make this assessment.

As it relates to your comments about George, It appears that you are definitely in the minority in tipping your hat off to George Parker for his performance at the recent city council hearing . Most people have been sharing that Parker poorly represented himself and our union including many of whom include non union members. Have at it as they say as everyone is entitled to their opinion.
Anonymous states:
Candi, I know you don't like George Parker, but after watching the reply of his questioning, my hat is off to him.

He took nearly two hours of badgering from Mr. Thomas, and held his own throughout. Mr. Thomas, who was obviously grandstanding, interrupted constantly.

George Parker is a bigger person than I am. After watching the video, I support him even more.

Sara said...

To Anon at 4:02am:

You have got to be kidding me!!!! Parker's performance at the city council hearing was one that only a mother could love....I mean his mother that is...................

He did everything except pick his nose on camera. Even my grocery clerk in the neighborhood saw me and told me how pathetic his presentation was on television. She asked me how come he never has a written statement to give out when he is testifying. Now, this comment from a woman who works at the Safeway.

Go figure......

To Anon at 4:02am,
I know it is hard to digest but your fascination with Parker and his testimony is a figment of your own imagination.....

Keep Dreamin'

Anonymous said...

It sometimes seems that so many educators need a course of anger management treatment. Let me suggest that boiling anger doesn't have the impact it used to. The Council doesn't like it, especially Vincent Gray, and neither do parents. The media cannot comprehend where it is directed, also. So, even with the wise moderation on this blog, it is a good idea to speak in terms other than anger. All that does is turn people off and make the image problem for teachers worse with each outburst.

Anonymous said...

A little off-topic, but this pseudo-op-ed piece from the New York Times, in two parts, is basically echoing what most DC teachers think of the increased focus on testing that is being forced on school populations in DC, as a whole.


I'm a RIFed teacher, starting pharmacy school in the fall, who is still following this unfortunately too-real farce that is being played out.

EFavorite said...

"All [anger] does is turn people off and make the image problem for teachers worse with each outburst."

really - how about when Rhee and other reformers put down teachers constantly, blaming them for all the ills of education? What does that do for the image of teachers and how does it help for teachers to react docilely to that?

No thanks for your anger-management tip. It's more like you're saying, "please teachers, pipe down - people might start to take you seriously."

Anonymous said...

Regarding the "anger-management tip", I don't think the commenter was advocating a passive and non-confrontational response. It seemed that he/she was trying to say that we should use logic and reasoned, hopefully convincing arguments to expose silly and inaccurate statements for what they are. This approach would probably garner more support and respect from the public, at large, than would angry, inflammatory, and seemingly exaggerated diatribes.

I might be wrong on all counts, though.

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Anonymous said...

Has anyone received their preliminary IMPACT scores as yet? Principals made presentation and stated scores would be sent this week and final scores after the DC-CAS results were back..

Anonymous said...

Preliminary scores are back. You can very easily move from being highly effective to minimally effective based on test scores. Wow!!

The beauty of teaching is gone.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I just got my preliminary impact report last night. It came through a link in a letter from Kamras in my DCPS email. I'm not a group 1 (in a testing grade) teacher, so only 5% of my impact score is based on DCCAS scores. I'd advise all teachers to regularly check their DCPS email accounts even over the summer.

Anonymous said...

Who is Kamras? What is his role regarding IMPACT? What are his credentials?

I would like to ask him, "How can one teacher move from 'Highly Effective" to "Minimally Effective" based on one test, DC-CAS? How does this affect teacher's pay next year if you are "Minimally Effective" compared to "Highly Effective"?

As a concerned citizen, I have some questions:
1) What is the validity on gathering this data? How does one know that teacher's are not "teaching to the test?"
2) What is the research behind teacher's pay based on merit/performance?
3) Does it really "help the children" or does it create a system where teachers "teach by the text," only to achieve higher pay and students who have good test taking skills?

Anonymous said...

Kamras works in the Office of Channcelor. Write him at Jason.kamras @dc.gov for the answer to your questions.

Harry Travis said...

If you run a sub-headline asking if 30 or even 50 principals have been fired, why not do the research to support your speculation? Not your job?

You'd have so much more credibility if you took on yourself, or found some quiet and reliable types to do it with you.

Anonymous said...

Good luck to the teachers at GARFIELD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. Unfortunately GARFIELD is to be reconstituted. ANGELA TILMAN the principal of GARFIELD has been successful in the mission for which she was sent to accomplish. Most of the teachers under her leadership received very low IMPACT scores from her. This is so sad. GOOD LUCK!!!! I know that you are outstanding teachers. Please take this message with you......THINK ABOUT THE TYPES OF SEEDS YOU HAVE BEEN SOWING. ARE YOU SOWING ENCOURAGEMENT,HOPE BLESSINGS AND LOVE? THEN THAT's WHAT YOU'LL REAP IN THE FUTURE,BUT IF YOU'VE BEEN SOWING CRITICISM, JUDGEMENT AND ANGER, YOU'RE PROBABLY ALREADY REAPING A BAD HARVEST. IT'S TIME TO START CHANGING YOUR SEEDS.

Anonymous said...

I teach in California. I've read most of your comments. You folks are great! Keep up the fight!

Michelle Rhee is a graduate of the Broad Superintendents Academy. We had a Broad trained superintendent. We kicked his a** all the way to Georgia. Good riddens!

Don't forget to mention Bill Gates in your blogs. He's public school enemy #1.

Kirt Undercoffer said...

Why is David Pinder still principal at McKinley Tech Aug 2010? He has demonstrably targeted both students and teachers during his tenure. He hasn't created a positive environment for achievement and excellence. The pedagogy coaches he brought in didn't support or assist teachers deemed to be underperforming in the classroom. From Fall 2007-Spring 2009 he did nothing at all to address classroom behavior issues that plagued McKinley. Why is this man still spouting his positive feel good silliness without a clear path to implementation?

Anonymous said...

Bring the paddle back on these bad kids, they need discipline