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Updated: CH-UH Hires Interim Boulevard Elementary School Principal

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District has not said what will happen to former principal Katrinka Dean, who just started the job in August.

Updated 3:08 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights School Board approved hiring an interim principal at Boulevard Elementary School to replace Katrinka Dean, who just started the job in August.

New principal Dr. Karen Muffley's appointment was effective Monday, Nov. 26, the same day the board officially approved the decision at a special meeting.

Superintendent Douglas Heuer sent a letter to parents before the Thanksgiving holiday notifying them of the change. 

"As I mentioned in a previous letter which came home with your child, the District has been performing a professional review and evaluation of school leadership at Boulevard Elementary School. Results of the Ohio State Report Card for Boulevard Elementary School in the 2011-12 school year did not meet our expectations," Heuer wrote. "When a new principal was selected to lead the school this year, clear standards were established for the conduct of the educational program and the implementation of a school improvement plan. While a single incident has sparked much speculation, it is a quarterly review of the building’s progress to date that led to the conclusion a change in leadership was necessary to avert a second straight year of declining student achievement."

Boulevard received a "Continuous Improvement" rating for both the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 school years, before Dean took over. In 2011, the school met one more state indicator than the previous year (two instead of one out of eight.) The performance index, which is based on how well all students do on state tests, dropped from about 86 to 83.4 points out of 120. 

Adequate Yearly Progress, which measures achievement for students by subgroup, was not met. The value-added measure, which tracks whether students make a year’s worth of growth in grades 3 to 8 for reading and math, was "below."

The board did not approve a change in Dean's status, and Heuer said he could not say whether she was resigning, would be terminated or something else. The district is in pre-litigation with Dean, Heuer said.

Dean took over for former principal Lawrence Swoope Aug. 6. Swoope resigned July 1 to take a job as principal of a private school at his church, where his wife is senior pastor.

“We are very excited to have Ms. Dean lead our Boulevard team,” Heuer had said in June. “Her wealth of experience in STEM education and project-based learning, her willingness to collaborate with staff and parents, and her steadfast commitment to preparing all students to achieve in a global economy will prove very valuable for the Boulevard community.”

Dean earned $104,712 annually, and Muffley will earn $67,319 for the 140-day assignment, which would equal $105,788 a year, according to board documents.

Before Muffley began her new role, Gloria Black served as the substitute principal for two weeks.

Muffley, who the district hired with the help of the Cuyahoga County Educational Services Center and Dr. Paul Pendleton of the Finding Leaders Group was an adjunct profession in the School of Education at the University of Akron. Prior to her job with the University of Akron, Muffley was an elementary principal for 16 years with the Nordonia Hills School District. Muffley has agreed to fill the position until the end of the 2012-2013 school year.

Heuer said the PTA and district would coordinate events so parents can meet Muffley and ask questions.

The CH-UH School District said more information would be available soon. Keep checking Cleveland Heights Patch for updates.

Glinda Smith December 01, 2012 at 01:11 AM
And I'm sure that you know more than someone whose children actually attended the schools for 16 years.
michaelschwartz December 01, 2012 at 02:46 AM
You're right Glinda I do. Be that as it may go on drinking your CHUH kool aid, the Board and Administration depends on folks like you to keep the status quo going. If you think being ranked in the bottom 5% is a great education, I think that speaks for itself.
Michael's Shorts December 01, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Those rankings are almost meaningless because they do not adjust for the inputs, they only measure outputs. Comparing schools full of students from wealthy, stable backgrounds with involved parents to those schools full of impoverished students from broken homes is nonsensical. Until educational statistics experts find ways to control for the student inputs, these measurement systems are worthless as a way to compare one school to the next. Case in point: Numerous Heights students have gone on to Ivy Plus institutions in recent years. That number would be even greater if more exceptional students enrolled in the district.
Glinda Smith December 02, 2012 at 04:19 PM
I love it when people whose children don't attend the CHUH schools tell me how terrible they are - as if you know anything. You don't. And as for those report cards all they do is rank the wealthiest school systems. BTW, did you know that the greatest predictor of high SAT scores is the parent's wealth. That's right. Their wealth. Not their education. It's all about money. And many, many kids in the CHUH public schools don't have it. That doesn't mean no one achieves. They do. I ask you to find another public high school in Ohio, that is majority minority, with a higher minority graduation rate. Please tell me if you do because I will be very surprised - and impressed.
michaelschwartz December 02, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Unlike other school districts throughout the state, if as you say the achievement tests don't adequately reflect the "learning" going on, then maybe the Heights schools should capitalize on this "fact" and use it in their marketing efforts to woo deep thinking families to move to our fair city. Whadda you think Glinda? Perhaps this is a way to overcome the perception (and fact I might add) throughout the area that the Heights schools are a pathetic joke at worst or just the laughing stock of the whole area at best. I think you are on to something Glinda!

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