JCPS

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – At least two of the lowest-performing schools in Jefferson County Public Schools will have new principals when students return to start the 2019-20 school year, Superintendent Marty Pollio told reporters Friday.

Four principals at JCPS – Angela Allen at Olmsted Academy South, Kim Goff at Shelby Traditional Academy, Malinda Dutkowski at Johnsontown Road Elementary, and Jeffrey Gossett, the interim principal at Valley High School – were found unfit to lead their schools’ turnaround efforts after diagnostic reviews by the Kentucky Department of Education, the results of which were released in April.

They were four of seven principals across Kentucky identified for possible removal by the state following the evaluations, which were conducted at schools identified for comprehensive support and improvement.

Pollio said Friday that after meeting with the four principals, Dutkowski decided to retire, Goff would take another position within the district and Allen would be retained as principal of Olmsted South.

A decision on the principal job at Valley High has not been announced.

Pollio wasn’t sure where Goff would work next school year.

“It could be an assistant principal position, but we haven’t made that determination yet,” he said. “But we will be posting that position for a new principal.”

Pollio said he had “long conversations about the report” with Allen and remained optimistic about “many of the things going on in Olmsted South.”

He said adjustments would be made based on the state’s evaluation of Olmsted South “and given this year to really implement those with a lot of additional supports.”

Although a new state law getting ready to take effect later this month gives him authority to hire principals regardless of a school-based decision-making council’s selection, Pollio already had broader authority in handling the leaders of the lowest performing schools in JCPS.

Under state law and regulation, SBDMs at CSI schools have their powers suspended and transferred to the district’s superintendent, who can then remove or reassign principals at such schools and hire their replacements after consulting with schools’ turnaround teams, parents and staff.

WDRB News obtained emails to and from principals at the 21 CSI schools in JCPS that were reviewed by the state and found that parents and staff had mixed reactions to the reports' findings. Those who sent their kids to or worked at the four schools where the state recommended new principals, many expressed shock and frustration.

At times, the principals themselves shared their dismay with KDE's determinations.

"I simply do not understand the basis for their decision," Allen wrote in an April 26 email. "Our girls are growing and flourishing in their heads and hearts, as well as developing academically! I just console myself with the fact that there are no secrets with God. He has the last word and in my life He has always used trials to strengthen me and move me to the next blessing in my life."

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