Thursday, July 02, 2009

Even Before Stepping onto the Campus, Newly-Named San Pedro High School Principal Linda Kay Changes Her Mind and Submits Retirement Papers Instead;

The Beleaguered Harbor-Area School Has Lost Two Principals in Three Years and Remains Once Again Without a Leader
By Diana L. Chapman 
With excitement brewing about a new principal coming aboard San Pedro High 
School, Linda Kay “had a change of heart,” and not only removed herself from the 
post she accepted – but retired from the district mid-week.
Kay, 57, who helped clean Narbonne High in a two year period before leaving
in 2008 and whose career spanned more than three decades with the Los Angeles
Unified School District
, appeared to be set for to take the reins of
San Pedro’s campus.
She surprised school officials with her decision, who have had difficulties
keeping the continuity of leadership running at the school. San Pedro High
also faces a myriad of troubles, from hanging by a thread to keep its
accreditation, overcrowding issues and test scores that are comparable
or below that of inner city schools.

Kay was supposed to replace retiring principal Bob DiPietro, who stayed
only two years before personal issues forced him to retire.

DiPietro replaced Diana Gelb, who served only for one year
before retiring.
“She had a change of heart and submitted retirement papers yesterday
(Wednesday),” said Linda Del Cueto, who heads the region in which San Pedro
Narbonne both reside. “I don't have a replacement yet as HR
(human resources) placed a hold on all secondary principalships.
“I know the decision was hard for Linda to make as she a is a dedicated educator 
who cares about improving education for all students. Her mother is ill and 
retiring by June 30, 2009 gave her the opportunity to take advantage of the 
retirement incentive being offered by the district.” 
Reached later via email, Kay who came with a wealth of experience and held
jobs such as counselor, teacher, principal, and director of a group of
intermediate schools, wrote the decision was extremely difficult.
“I am sorry it turned out this way,” Kay explained, saying the reduction of the work
force (the district’s conducting layoffs) and continuous problems with the
trouble-plagued district's new pay roll system were both part of the reasons
she cited about her departure.

Please know my decision to retire was difficult and I wavered until the very end.
I am sorry that I could not keep my commitment to San Pedro,” Kay wrote.
Although she’s officially retired, she will return to the district to work with her
supervisor, Del Cueto,on an as needed basis as an interim administrator where
her pool of talent can be used in “a broad and comprehensive way.”
“I value the education of students. This should be our nation’s number one priority,”
Kay added.
Del Cueto said at this time, she does not have a replacement, but will continue to
search for a new leader to head the school.


Russell Jeans said...

Kay's timing on her decision was not good. Her personal situation may be paramount to her, but her professional position requires greater consideration for others affected by that position than say for a teacher or even an AP.

At this point, I believe Del Cuesto's best strategy might be to seek an immediate temporary replacement that allows her more time to search for best candidate for the situation unique to SPHS. If she feels constrained by rules and agreements in that search, she might push the envelope and just set her priority as finding the best possible person for the job.

If that isn't possible, the District needs to acknowledge the limits of the situation and make corrections in the next labor agreement renewal that applies to principal selection.

Parenthetically, the font size here is terrible. Even with my reading glasses, it is extremely difficult reading the post. But, thanks Diana for keeping everyone informed on this.

M Richards said...

It is sad to see the high school run through principals as fast as it has recently.

Perhaps elevating one of the APs to acting Principal for the one who has been there the longest, may allow Linda Del Cueto the time to find a permanent replacement who wants the job rather than an excuse to retire.

Maybe it may take a younger administrator to take the reigns at the school which should not have the scores it recently garnered.

Maybe it will take a Principal who will work with the feeding Middle Schools to help get the scores up and the graduation rates higher.

I hope San Pedro High School doesn't become the school Principals go to so they can 'retire' on duty just before they actually retire from the District.