Covering Washington politics. From our vantage point. One day a time.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Out With The Old. In With The New.

DC Public Schools Chancellor, Michelle Rhee, Announces Resignation

The “mutual decision” to have DC Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee resign today was one that incoming mayor Vincent Gray called “the right one for our school community.”
Incoming DC Mayor Vincent Gray  with interim DC Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson. Photos/CD Brown.
During this morning's press conference at the Mayflower Hotel, Chancellor Rhee, outgoing Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, and incoming mayor Vincent Gray, welcomed and announced Kaya Henderson as the interim school chancellor to replace Rhee.

Henderson served as the Vice President for the New Teacher Project, a recruitment project designed to hire the best and brightest teachers to teach in urban settings.

Reading excerpts from a posted statement on the DCPS web site announcing her resignation, Rhee said "with Henderson at the helm, and the DCPS management team in place, everything the city needs to be able to continue the reforms, will be in place."

Rhee, who gave Henderson a 'welcome aboard' hug during the media availablity,  said she has “known Henderson for the better part of her professional career”, calling Henderson “an unbelievable candidate”.

Rhee said she has the utmost confidence in Henderson to move the “effort forward” to obtain a “world class educational system” for the District.

The Gray administration plans to have Henderson join him at upcoming town hall meetings. Gray is encouraging those with questions and suggestions on the new administration to voice their opinion at

Rhee, who said she “put her blood, sweat and tears” into the DC school system during her three and a half year tenure, said she has "completely enjoyed every minute of it". She called the thought of not being in the role as Chancellor, “heartbreaking”.

Outgoing mayor Adrian Fenty with interim Chancellor Kaya Henderson, mayor-elect Vincent Gray, and Michelle Rhee.
“But I do know it is the right thing for the school system”, said Rhee.

Rhee came under criticism when she fired hundreds of teachers, flipped flopped on the reason to do so -citing budget concerns, and teacher misconduct.

Despite her rocky relationship with teachers and parents, Rhee went on to thank the parents, teachers, and students of DCPS.

Of the parents Rhee said, “You've emailed me, you've called me, you've come to the coffees and the office hours, you've never been shy about telling me when you disagreed with me, and because of you, we are bringing change into every corner of this city.”

She went on to call the students of DC “the greatest.”

Rhee, who will officially resign at the end of October, said she will “obviously spend time in Sacramento, California”, alluding to the new life she will have with new husband, the former NBA player turned Sacramento mayor, Kevin Johnson.

Outgoing DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, deferring most questions about the Rhee decision to the office of incoming Mayor Vincent gray, said he would pursue opportunities in the private sector.

We asked Fenty, (who said his expectations of the outgoing Chancellor "couldn't have been higher"), what he believed to be his major accomplishment as Mayor of the District of Columbia.

“Education”, said Fenty.

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Mixed Reactions on Rhee's Resignation

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