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Stoddert Must Begin Search for New Principal

The Stoddert Elementary PTA will hold a special meeting Thursday at 6:30 to plan the principal search.

The Stoddert Elementary PTA will hold a special meeting Thursday at 6:30 p.m. to begin the principal selection process to replace Dr. Marjorie Cuthbert. that she would resign from her role as principal effective Aug. 3.

The meeting is open to all parents; those in attendance will elect three parents and one alternate to serve on the principal selection committee.

At the special meeting, attendees will also select one non-parent community representative to serve on the committee.

"Under DCPS guidelines, a panel of teachers, staff, certain PTA executives, parents and community members will interview and make recommendations on filling the vacant principal position" according to a post on the PTA website.

If you are a Stoddert parent unable to attend in person you can still be eligible for being elected to the committee. The PTA asks that you send your name and interest to Ebony Akinsanya (ebonydavis74@hotmail.com).

According to the PTA website, "other panel members (about 12 in all) are elected by teachers or appointed by DCPS automatically."

Committee members will have time commitments to include:

-at least one interview preparation meeting

-at least one full day of interviews at DCPS headquarters at a time to be determined.

The PTA email sent Monday evening indicated a sense of urgency to form a selection committee and begin interviewing.

"We believe the sooner we are ready to interview candidates the better as there are other DC elementary schools also needing principal replacements" the email read.

Patch asked PTA president Katy Youel Page for her thoughts when Cuthbert announced her resignation last week.

"We will really miss Dr. Cuthbert's steady hand in the administration of our school and enthusiasm for the Stoddert Wolves. She has set a very high standard for running our school in a professional, positive manner," wrote Page in an email.

Page told Patch that the school is in a "time of growth" and that any candidate the school would consider would need a "vision for keeping our school going in a positive direction while maintaining high educational expectations for all levels of students."

Steve Dingledine, a Stoddert teacher and Patch blogger, offered his own thoughts on what would make a good principal from a teacher's perspective.

Dingledine told Patch that schools need "calm and humble leadership" from a principal. He said a leader who can put teachers in a "comfort zone" allows educators to "thrive and reach their potential."

"When teachers thrive, students thrive. Along these lines, we need someone who is going to continue to expand the definition of autonomy for Stoddert teachers" wrote Dingledine.

If you are planning to attend the meeting Thursday, the PTA asks that you RSVP to Nitchet Quarles (nnewton@msn.com).

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