The best piece of news about our local schools recently is that their SUP to build a new Baldwin school was approved on first reading last night. Second reading is tonight. The money for this school was approved on a very narrow vote but the SUP was approved unanimously last night. This is a good step forward for our future!
The Bad news is that one of our Principals, a Mr. Toogood over at Dean, is alleged to have been working for the Schools under false pretenses. It's alleged he actually has altered his qualifications. He's worked for the schools for a number of years and nobody knew about it. I (and many others) were understandably upset about this: to all appearances the sins of the past administration(s) seem to be like fish cooked too long on the stove – it's a stink you'll never get out. However I've got faith that the School Board has the fortitude to see this through. I encourage them to keep making the tough decisions, the time to quit is not now. Go find the problems and get it over with.
I have received the following communique from D-Mag, our illustrious Superintendent in an attempt to explain the situation:
On June 25, 2014, Manassas City Public Schools (MCPS) was contacted by Dr. Steven Staples, State Superintendent for the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), regarding information he had received alleging that Mr. Robin Toogood, then principal of Jennie Dean Elementary School, may have altered his academic credentials. An investigation was immediately commenced by MCPS staff,
confirming that several of his credentials were indeed fictitious.
On Friday, June 27, 2014, Mr. Toogood was presented with the results of the investigation. He resigned from his position as principal and surrendered his Virginia license. The results of the division's investigation, Mr. Toogood's resignation, and his license were sent to the VDOE. Mr. Toogood's license was cancelled July 21, 2014.
As a result of this incident, the MCPS Human Resource Department will no longer rely solely on the Virginia Department of Education to validate transcripts for licensing purposes. As of July 1, 2014, MCPS began using a clearinghouse to verify the authenticity of the transcripts of all new employees regardless if they are licensed. This action will validate information that has been provided by employees to the Department of Education for licensing. Additionally, MCPS has also gone a step further and has begun the process of verifying the transcripts of all current licensed employees who have provided transcripts as part of their employment process. Ms. Billie Kay Wingfield, Director of Human Resources, who began working with MCPS on August 1, is leading the changes that have been put in place.
Mr. Toogood was hired under a previous administration, but records indicate that an application, resume, references and transcripts were collected and that references were also contacted by phone. He began his employment with MCPS July 1, 2009 after working with the District of Columbia Public Schools, public charter schools in the District of Columbia, and a school in Maryland from 2002 to 2009 as a teacher and administrator. Mr. Toogood received his Virginia license when he submitted his transcripts and his District of Columbia license to the Virginia Department of Education.
Currently, Dr. Zella Jones, who served as assistant principal at the school during the 2013-2014 school and is now serving as acting principal, has been leading the school and has worked to ensure that students have been assigned to classes and that everything will be in place for teachers and students when they return.
It's a pretty thorough explanation of the situation. Sure, it's frustrating and I hope there's some re-examination of our policies and the records for our other deputies to ensure we have no other lingering issues but it doesn't change my thoughts on the schools. I like D-Mag and think her a capable leader. Keep to the course and make it happen Sista!