2 new principals already removed from schools

Posted: November 27, 2013

THE SCHOOL DISTRICT swiftly removed two principals from their positions as the heads of High School for the Creative and Performing Arts and Bartram High School - just weeks into the school year - in what some observers say is an extremely rare move by officials, the Daily News has learned.

John Dunphy Jr., a teacher who was promoted in September to become CAPA's principal, was removed Oct. 26 by the district, spokesman Fernando Gallard confirmed yesterday.

Ogo Okoye-Johnson, a children's-book author and an assistant principal from Los Angeles, was hired Sept. 1 by the district to be principal at Bartram in Southwest Philadelphia, Gallard said. Okoye-Johnson was removed by district officials Sept. 19, nine days after classes started.

Bob McGrogan, president of the Commonwealth Association of School Administrators, the union that represents principals, said this year there was a high number of principals either new to the job (Dunphy) or to the district (Okoye-Johnson).

"The district exerted a tremendous amount of energy in assessing and identifying the experience and qualification of those administrators they selected," McGrogan said. However, "the support is not there. It does not exist" once they are hired, he added.

Dunphy, with a yearly salary of $124,253, was placed on special assignment at Furness High School in South Philadelphia, where he assists the principal with administrative work, Gallard said. His assignment is "pending the outcome of a due-process hearing," Gallard added.

Gallard refused to give details about why or when the hearing is being held. "We don't comment on personnel matters."

Okoye-Johnson, too, is on special assignment, but she doesn't face a due-process hearing. She was placed at Bache-Martin School in Fairmount, where she is assisting the principal. Okoye-Johnson's salary is $130,914 per year.

Dunphy has been with the district since 1994 and at CAPA in South Philadelphia since 1997.

One former district educator was shocked when informed of the news. "It's extremely unusual to take a principal out, because principals are not removed," said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

McGrogan concurred, saying the move was "uncommon. It has occurred on occasion [but] it's highly uncommon."

On Twitter: @ReginaMedina

Online: ph.ly/DNEducation

comments powered by Disqus