Wednesday, January 30, 2013
A Failure of Leadership at Mayport Middle School
If you don’t remember, a few weeks back the principal at Mayport Middle released teacher’s evaluations to the general public, she says it was an accident. That the evaluations were an attachment on another document and she just didn’t notice.
The superintendent should revisit this matter and if it turns out she runs her school like a kingdom where she is free from consequences and teachers bear the brunt of her injurious actions then she should be removed and a leader who cares about the entire school community should be put in her place.
When this happened I was asked what I thought and I said, if she has been a good principal and has supported her faculty and staff then we should let bygones be bygones, but if she has been a bully masquerading as an administrator then there should be consequences, though I used the words, fry her.
Well as more information has been released and more teachers have come forward, though anonymously because they fear retaliation, it is looking more and more like the district should do the latter.
Katrina McCray has been at Mayport Middle School since 2007. She was placed in her position by then-superintendent Joseph Wise. She claims that she released the CAST evaluation data by mistake because she was emailing the EOC student scores and the CAST evaluation attachment was embedded in the message.
The problem with this excuse is Education Matters has been told that she had already sent the EOC scores out in a previous message. If this is true it shoots down her already flimsy excuse.
People might be asking what the big deal is, aren’t the evaluations going to be public notice anyway? Well yes they are after a year but the real problem is twofold. First the evaluation process itself is so flawed that it is not to be believed. Senate President Don Geatz said just the other day we have a looming accountability disaster. Evaluations are pretty much divided into two sections, how kids did on standardized tests using a very complicated and wildly unpredictable formula called value added and the principals personal feelings about a teacher. If the principal doesn’t care for you even if your students score incredibly high you can get a bad evaluation, likewise if the principal likes you but your kids score at the bottom of the heap you can get a good evaluation.
The second problem is poor leaders throughout the district. Many are vindictive and petty and have a desire to squeeze out veteran teachers and to replace them with easily malible rookies who will either do anything to keep their jobs or who don’t stick around long enough to know any better. There is a huge leadership problem in the district because whom you know rather than your ability determined promotions for the last half dozen years and bad leaders give bad evaluations.
It seems Mrs. McCray may fall into the second group as this is how she was characterized to me, sadly you could hear the same about dozens of other principals in the district. :
The principal has repeatedly said that she does not care if she hurts teachers' 'feelings' because she is working on behalf of the students. This is a false argument because it implies that she is the only person who cares about the students. While she has begged for mercy from the superintendent, she rarely affords the same second chance to her subordinates. The school's FAME morale surveys are rather telling about her abuse of the faculty. Furthermore, faculty and staff have left in droves because she fails to support them in light of student misbehavior and she forces them to work themselves almost to death without anything close to a thank you. The school has also had more than its share of faculty hospitalized due to stress and mental issues and yet she continues to move full speed ahead.
She doesn’t care if she hurts teacher’s feelings. Bullies and sociopaths are two other groups that don’t care if they hurt people feelings.