DC Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee officially announced her resignation on Wednesday, October 13th from the post she has held for the past three years. She called the decision 'heartbreaking' in a prepared statement but offered her support for presumptive Mayor Vincent Gray and the woman he named to replace Rhee, Kaya Henderson. Her resignation has been expected since Gray defeated Adrian Fenty in the September Democratic primary for DC Mayor.
Lame duck Mayor Adrian Fenty praised the hard work of Michelle Rhee during her time in office. Rhee leaves the post in the wake of a wide array of school reforms that saw student test scores rise, enrollment increase, and growht of power for the Chancellor post in the form of being able to force out low-performing teachers. Nonetheless her abrasive tactics were not beloved by everyone and some look forward to a breath of fresh air at DCPS.
Gray announced that Kaya Henderson will be Rhee's successor, a candidate that drew praise from both the teacher's union and Mayor Fenty. "I have had the opportunity to work with her, and I have as much confidence in Kaya's ability to run the school system as anyone who has ever known her," Fenty said at the press conference today. Henderson has served under Rhee for several years. They share the same vision that student success is closely tied to teacher performance and worked to found a not-for-profit, The New Teacher Project, before Rhee became Chancellor. Henderson was Rhee's first appointment when Fenty named Rhee Chancellor and has served under her the entire time.
Vincent Gray vowed to keep the reforms began under Rhee moving forward. After the press conference, he held a 90 minute meeting with Henderson to discuss school policy under the presumptive new city administration. Gray has promised he has "no intention of micromanaging DCPS" but he did encourage Henderson to keep all the senior education officials on staff until at least the end of the current year.