Detroit Public Schools Community District experiencing high leadership turnover

More than 30 leadership jobs posted online

DETROIT – There are questions about high turnover in leadership positions at Detroit Public Schools Community District. It involves approximately 30 newly opened positions for principals and other administrators.

It’s a shift in leadership at several schools within Detroit Public Schools.

The district posted more than 30 leadership positions on the public schools’ website. At least 16 job openings are principal jobs.

“It seems to be rather high. I don’t know, in recent years, that we have this many principals separate service, transfer or retire or resign," said Terrence Martin, with Detroit Federation of Teachers.

Martin said the shakeup at the schools is causing concerns with the teachers he represents.

“Well, it’s a level of uncertainty, and as I stated, a lot of our teachers are looking to either stay at the buildings that they’re at or go transfer to other schools, so they want to make sure who the principal is going to be before they make that decision," Martin said.

Local 4 learned some of the principals leaving are from schools like Detroit International Academy for Young Women and Emerson Elementary-Middle, just to name a few.

“I understand that the district is going through a transitional period now, but we certainly want to make sure that for the future we are stabilizing our workforce,” Martin said.

The school district describes the changes as a reform process, and over the past two years, there have been nearly 30 new principals placed in DPSCD Schools.

A spokesperson with the district released this statement:

"This is the time of the year when personnel changes are made for the following year. This comes through terminations, resignations, retirements, and reorganizations at the school and district level. Over the last two years, the district has promptly filled vacant principal positions. The numbers that are expected for the upcoming year are similar to the previous two years. In fact, over the past two years, there have been nearly 30 new principals placed in DPSCD schools. The upcoming principal changes are not associated with terminations, nor were terminations associated with the district positions posted.

"The School Board will not be taking action on separations. Depending on the school, individual principals have decided to retire or resign. The same is true for district level positions. The district posted principal positions to transparently provided additional internal and external to apply for positions. The district has been proactively recruiting principal candidates from outside of the district, most our native Detroiters, who are working in charter schools or districts outside of the state and are eager to join the district’s reform process. The district has also been developing a number of assistant principals who will be promoted to the principal position. The district will have all new principals named by June 1 or July 1 at the latest. Faculty and staff of schools with upcoming principal changes will be engaged over the next couple of days about the changes. Families and students will also be engaged as well. We are thankful to the veteran principals who have served the district well and have decided to move on to their next challenge. This is an exciting time for the district as we develop and recruit the next generation of school leaders.  

"There will not be upcoming non-renewals for principals. The district asked principals to notify the district if they intend to retire or resign at the end of the year so advanced planning could be conducted for replacements. We should not have additional separations. All separations were voluntary. Some principals resigned and others retired.  

‎"Upon resigning or retiring, the district provided principals with a portion of their previously earned sick and vacation days. This was cost neutral to the district because the days were previously earned and accounted for within the current budget. This also reduces the practice of taking extensive and extended leave prior to separation where school level management is absent. This can be disruptive to the learning community."

About the Author: