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Superintendent Vitti hires bully to be area chief, district takes step backwards

There is one thing you can say about Iranetta Wright the principal at Jackson high school, she apparently knows where the bodies are buried and that is th eonly reasonable explanation for why a second superintendent has seen fit to promote her. Sadly saying things like leadership and results would be a stretch. Despite this Vitti recently promoted her to area chief. Lets examine this bully masquerading as an administrator’s recent career.

In 2008 she arrived at Jackson high school and promptly took it to the bottom. At one point the school was ranked 404 out of 404. Somehow she survived F after F that would have sent other principals into retirement or to Assistant Principal land at a middle school. Yes the school did eventually improve but only after half the student body left and the district partnered with numerous other organizations and started to address the outside school needs of those few students who remained.  

Why then did Vitti promote her? Maybe it was her autocratic leadership style. A former teacher said; she would talk to the staff in a fashion that if we would talk to the kids that way we would get fired. Her motivation techniques consisted of threats and intimidation. Much of the veteran staff she inherited has moved onto other positions in the district or has left the teaching field all together replaced by “easily moldable” rookies who often don’t know that they shouldn’t be talked down to and forced to work sixty hours a week.

Let’s compare her to another principal that the district forced out.

A quick review of Jackson's data would indicate serious problems with her leadership.
The students obviously get that something is wrong with Jackson's leadership. In 2009-2010, there were nearly 1200 students. Enrollment as of 6/11/12 was a little over 700 students.

1200-700=500 students GONE

With regards to academic performance, the school has not made a lot of progress since she first became principal of the school.

In 2007, Reading proficiency was 18%. In 2012, it has only increased by 1 percentage point to 19%.
In 2007, Writing proficiency was 80%. In 2012, it has only increased by 2 percentage points.

Some are going to argue that she has been able to increase the number of students making gains. And gains are great. However, we need to create a culture of moving our students to proficiency. Iranetta cannot get these kids proficient and the sad truth is when you get rid of some of your worse performers scores are going to go up.

Another argument some might make is the improbability of real improvement happening at the high school level.

Well, let's look at Ribault High School which has had more F grades than any other school in Northeast Florida before Dr. Young arrived in 2009.

Reading proficiency was 18% when he arrived. In 2012, the Reading proficiency has increased by 13 percentage points to 31% (highest in school's history).

Writing proficiency was 75%. In 2012, the Writing proficiency increased by 5 percentage points to 80%.

What Iranetta had not been able to do in her almost 6 years before the district started to make super human efforts at Jackson and almost half the student body left, Young was able to do 3 years. Oh and Young was loved and respected by his staff while Wright is feared.

Another difference is Wright just got a promotion and Young is no longer in the district. 

Here is the thing even if you love wright shouldn't she prove she can turn a school around without superhuman initiatives before she is put in charge of a whole bunch of schools? What exactly has she done to merit this promotion? As far as I can tell, nothing.

Is Wright the best candidate that Vitti could come up with, a bully masquerading as an administrator with a dubious track record of success?  If so then Duval is worse off than I thought it was.

For shame Superintendent Vitti, you can do better and you are going to have to if you want the district to.

3 comments:

  1. I am holding all judgment on the man until the new principal assignments are announced. He really will win my favor or my contempt if he rewards the same sadistic, morale-killing administrators like previous superintendents have in the past.

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  2. I am not holding judgement. The man is using the same people just in different jobs. How is that different from Pratt-Dannals. And if this man thinks the Wright woman is fitted to lead an entire area/region, he is the Wrong man.

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  3. June 10th is going to make or break my opinion of Vitti, too. Enough talk...time to put his money where his mouth is.

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