CHS Principal Moving to Central Office

Charlottesville High School principal Kenneth Leatherwood is leaving for a job with the school’s central office, the Daily Progress reports today. He’s been CHS principal since 2003, and served as vice principal for the decade before that. Now he’ll be in charge of the HR department. Folks who think that the school system is a little too top-heavy will surely see this as further evidence that Superintendent Rosa Atkins’ priorities are off. On the other hand, maybe the guy was just ready to move on, but Atkins convinced him to stay within the school system in a different capacity. Thanks to Jennifer for the tip.

45 thoughts on “CHS Principal Moving to Central Office”

  1. Given that Faye Giglio, the former principal of Greenbrier E.S., is the Director of HR, I would love to know what it that Kenneth Leatherwood is going to be doing as “coordinator of the division’s human resources” and how it differs from Dr. Giglio’s job. This seems to me to be yet another example of a top-heavy central office.

  2. Know Ken Leatherwood personally. He’s a man of high principals and tremendous work ethic. Mr. Leatherwood was also an excellent boys basketball coach at Charlottesville High before assuming an administrators post.

    We discuss Charlottesville High and all of Central Virginia’s fantastic high schools and their athletic programs on

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  3. Unknown to many, to the left of PAC entrance to CHS, is a well-worn path (not maintained by RTF, by the way, and not easy to find at its CHS terminus) that extends alongside the bypass all the way to Dairy Rd. Leatherwood, Thompson, Lewis, Hutchinson–they’ve all made the long walk from CHS to Central Administration. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  4. The Spivey situation is long over and done with on the school’s end. His move has nothing to with that.

  5. Some hellhole? National recognition for Academics and Music. Kids acheiving Perfect SAT scores. Great kids from diverse backgrounds. What more do you want?

  6. CHS is 2 schools within one. I understand it is 51% free or reduced lunch. If you are in the band or orchestra and AP/honors classes, it is one school. If you are in general level classes and struggle in life, …… is out of control. I think the powers that be are trying to clean it up though.

  7. I just heard today from a teacher at Walker that the faculty were told this week that three teaching positions (2 Quest, 1 technology) might be cut. By my math, that should just about pay for Mr. Leatherwood’s salary in Central Office… I’m so glad Mrs. Atkins is able to keep the budget balanced.

  8. What has made Walker such a great school, for my kids, is the abundance of quest teachers. I think Walker has five, and when the kids get to Buford, there are just two. I’m sorry to hear about the cuts at Walker. I agree that we don’t need a top heavy administration at the expense of teachers.

  9. CVaSports: No, not that I’ve heard. Apparently the Walker teachers were told at a faculty meeting this week that it’s being considered. That’s all I know at this point, but it’s enough to give me pause about sending my older child there in 1.5 years, as I believe this would directly impact her education.

  10. 74 persons in Central Office by my count (before this latest move–I can’t determine if this is a new position or not. I see a Coordinator for Personnel in last year’s budget, but don’t see anyone currently in that job). Those Central Office people that I know all seem to be very nice people, but can we really afford so many in a division this small? 74 people in Central Office in a division of 4000 students. Albemarle, by my count, has 109 folks in central administration in a division of ~12,000 students (and growing–Charlottesville is shrinking: -10% in the last 7 years). And Albemarle is talking about cutting central staff.

    Harrisonburg, 4400 students and growing, has 45 people in central administration, by my count.

    If we now have a staffing formula for teachers K-12, why not a staffing formula for Central Office based on the number of teachers or students in the division?

  11. Anonymous, so you see the move of an experienced person from a very important job to a job that someone else already has as what, a coincidence. I just think it is a bit fishy, one of his teachers gets busted molesting several boys on his watch, in his school and the first chance they get he is moved. Yeah, you are right, no connection.

  12. Isn’t Dr. Giglio retiring? That Quest program has been a pack of nothing since its inception in the seventies. I laugh everytime I read about some of its activities, the same stuff our regular teachers had us do when we were in elementary school. The accuracy of the numbers reported for “gifted” students at each school is highgly suspect. It has always been used as a way to separated certain kids from others. The kids in Talent Development are just as intelligent as the kids in Quest; their parents are just not in the same social class.
    Nationwide, there has never been more than 10% of student population identified as “gifted.” Why are so many classified as such in Charlottesville Public Schools? Politics.

  13. Kathy,

    I agree that it’s not just a random move, and would be interested to know why it was made. I’m sure Mrs. Atkins has her reasons and that they are part of her plans for the division. I think it was also wise to announce the decision now, when there’s plenty of time to find a good replacement. There are lots of reasons to move people around to new capacities.

    However, no one around the division has the Spivey case on their minds at all these days – with the obvious exception of those kids directly affected, who will live with it forever. If Leatherwood had made some sort of egregious error in dealing with that crisis, then I’d see your point. (In fact, many of the crimes took place before he was the principal.) But he didn’t. And if he had, he would have been gone last year.

  14. Agreed that some of the Quest activities at the elementary level are just silly–the things my third grader does in Quest aren’t nearly as enriching as our everyday activities when I was homeschooling him. However, from my experience with my kids, the Walker Quest program was excellent–a math program challenging enough that graduating sixth graders were ready for high school algebra (which is taught at Buford), sixth graders reading at a college level.

  15. Yes, and a significant number of them take Algebra I in the seventh, eighth and then again in the ninth. When parents complained, it was suggested that the Algebra I text book used at Buford be different from the one at CHS so that the children would not feel bad. Three of my family’s Questers took Algebra I at least twice. Many of their classmates had to have paid tutors.
    It’s unfortunate that we have so many kids who think that they are “gifted,” which they translate into “genius” or “near genius,” only to learn when they attend college that half of their classmates out perform them. It is a program that has never undergone an evaluation for effectiveness. The only tweaking that has been done is in elligibility criteria for the program to my knowledge. Of course, the parents don’t complain publicly because they don’t want to tell the entire town that their kids did not excell in college. So the ruse goes on and on. The State keeps statistics on the number of students in a division who takes Algebra I in the eighth grade. I wonder if they keep statistics on how many repeat it.
    Think about it, how many of our kids take Algebra I in the seventh, then Algebra II, Geometry, Pre-Calculus and then Calculus in the 11th grade. How many of our successful Questers take Calculus in the eleventh grade? How many take a higher math at PVCC in their twelfth year? The system will tell you how many are enrolled but not how many are successful.

  16. Demopublican, personally, I would rather have the cake shown than the one the poetic person had tried to order. Isn’t it wonderful that the person is employed and not collecting our dollars through welfare?

  17. Demopublican:

    The cake is funny, but the continual blaming of public schools for all of society’s ills is not.

  18. I’ll say it again: It’s easy to make comments about CHS looking through glass windows from afar, but until you get into the school, you don’t really have a feel for the pulse of the hallways.

  19. Sadly enough, you’re probably wrong again, CVilleEye. The employee could well be on public assistance and working for Walmart at the same time. Just GOOGLE the term ‘Walmart employees on public assistance” and see what you come up with. What a drain on society while the Walmart family gets richer every day.

    Here’s just a very small example of what you’ll find:

    “Instead of providing affordable health care, Wal-Mart encourages its workers to sign up for public health assistance. On a Dec. 19, 2003 broadcast of “NOW” with Bill Moyers, former 10-year Wal-Mart manager Gretchen Adams said managers kept a list of the state agencies so that we could have some place to send these associates…for Medicaid, for well-baby care, for whatever it is that they need. In 2003, Las Vegas Wal-Mart managers even gave workers special forms that helped them certify their poverty status when applying for public assistance. A 2004 study by the University of California at Berkeley Labor Center found that WalMart employees’ reliance on public assistance pro-grams, including health care, costs California $86 million annually, with health-related costs accounting for $32 million.”

  20. What a pile of crap; we have had part-time City employees on the dole, too. Take a look at the City’s job list and see how many positions are out there that pays less than $14/hour which is the amount local advocates would like to raise the City’s living wage to. Maybe Bank of America has zero people on welfare BECAUSE THEY WON’T HIRE THEM! During the nineties, with welfare-to-work programs trying to find potential employers to hire, how mamy locally-owned companies stepped up to the plate? Also, there are people living in public housing locally who are employed at UVA full time. I know you weren’t trying to imply that if a person works for Wal-Mart, then most likely he’s on welfare, but don’t approach this with tunnel vision. And, as far as health related costs go, Charlottesville spent over $2M recently on health costs for just two employees (wonderful people actually). So what?

  21. I’m sure it’s true that many children admitted into the Quest program are bright, intelligent kids, but not truly gifted. My biggest complaint about quest is that this sort of enrichment should be available to ALL children in the classroom, every day. It’s ridiculous to keep the sorts of activities the quest kids do–as lame as they are–from children who aren’t “identified” because any child could benefit from them. What possible reason can there be for withholding brainbuilding (for lack of a better word) activities from children who get very little intellectual stimulation at home?
    On the other hand, one of my children is profoundly gifted and I want more options for the gifted at the middle and high school level. CHS honors classes do not challenge my son, who is bored in most of his classes–and he’s a 10th grader taking pre-calc. The teachers are great, but any time I try to address his specific needs with the guidance office, I end up frustrated.

  22. Patience, avoid guidance like the plague until it’s time to fill out college applications. That was true when I was at Lane.
    I agree, the activities I have heard about should be for most children. The difference I think is not in content but in methods. Some kids just get chalk and talk all day (general) and others get an occassional discussion (honors) and paper to write.
    The State mandates a program for the truly gifted and Charlottesville has never designed one.

  23. No CVille Eye, I’m afraid I’m not not much on the many cop shows on TV. And the FOX network didn’t do the law enforcement community any favors when they created the COPS TV show. Way too many kids grew up watching that stupid show. And now they think anything they saw on the show is good to go out on the street. To be quite honest, I am surprised many police chiefs and sheriffs nationwide allowed some of the clips to be shown on TV. The illegal searches, the manner in which rambos interact with the public, and the police brutality in many of the clips. Although, I must admit, some of the clips were quite entertaining. One I will never forget is the male cop who approaches a man on the front porch of the man’s home. The man immediately starts fighting with the male cop for whatever reason. The female cop (his partner) starts jumping up and down and screaming for help. She reminded me of a banny rooster on crack. It was hilarious. Who the hell did she think was going to help the male cop? That’s what she was suppose to be there for! I am surprised the chief or sheriff allowed it to be broadcast. It sure did make female cops look silly.

  24. Charlottesville spent over $2M recently on health costs for just two employees? What are you talking about? Don’t need any names, but what were the illnesses? How could any organization spend that much money on just 2 employees?

  25. Cancer.
    My employer says he vaguely remembers the scene you were talking about. I am amazed also that those videos would be on TV. Rarely does anybody come away looking good. I guess the idea is to let the public know what low-lifes the police have to deal with. Watching those officers the few times I have makes me not want to ever not do whatever an officer says immediately. What I find most amusing is the jargon that the police use in order to sound professional in their use of psequdo-technical terms (vehicle, perpetrator, assailant, etc.) Many of them should be used in police training as examples of what not to do.

  26. Karl Ackerman, I know that a recurring theme of yours is the excessive amount of money going towards local administration. What do you think of the new 65% Solution initiative that was talked about on Coy Barefoot’s show at ?
    Do you think the problem is better solved in Richmond or that the initiative will just mean more creative bookkeeping at the local level, such as redefining what is classroom spending and what is central administration spending?

  27. Re: the cake: we’ve always had uneducated people (and/or people who like to make fun of uneducated people) in our country; I guess I don’t understand the impulse to do this or to blame the schools entirely.

    Re: the 65% solution. I’m all for directing more of the resources to the classroom, based on the feeling that this is where the work is done. But I am pretty leery of formulas that have the sound of a self help book/Sherlock Holmes story. I wouldn’t bet on this being THE ANSWER. Moreover, we fuss to get this passed and all we have is law that we hope will magically fix things. (Sounds like No Child Left Behind.)

    I’d rather see more oversight from the School Board and City Council. The city kicked in $38.3 million of the $66.1 million dollars budget. That’s almost 60% right there. Why don’t they weigh in on where the money should go? Why don’t we demand this?

  28. Karl Ackerman, so I take it you’re not looking for help from the State. Maybe the people on Council and the School Board who have probably never managed $10M in their lives do not know how to manage more. Thanks for your answer.

  29. I’ll take $$ from the state, sure; but help, no thanks. (I look to family, friends, and neighbors for that.) As to your mean swipe at the personal assets of our public officials, about which I know nothing, it sounds as though you are advocating for the olde days in Virginia, when the guys with the most land ran the show. Thanks, but I’ll stick with Dave Norris.

  30. Actually, Norris has more experience coming on Council than the rest of them in managing a budget. He managed a $5.5M buget while on the Housing Authorikty. I don’t know why you characterize stating a simple truth about our Councilor’s expertise as being mean, but don’t bother to answer.

  31. If public education is doing such a great job why have the fast food restaurants gone to menu’e with numbers 1 through 5 and bright colors with very little if any reading required to get your food?
    Why are the schools patroled by policemen/women? Why are a large number of kids attending Charlottesville public schools afraid to go to school daily?
    Do the math people a $66.7M school budget for city school population of less than 4,000. Way out of line. You could afford to send everyone of the students to private school for that amount of money. 73% of the school budget for this year is being spent on administrative cost. Doesn’t that say something about our public school system.
    There needs to accountability in our public schools, not only for what is being taught, how it is being taught, and where and how the money is being spent.
    Why is it only around budget time that we hear about how great the schools are and how great the kids are doing and about all the awards being received? Then after the teachers get their 6% annual raises for such a great job and the inflated budget is passed we don’t hear any more about the greatness of our schools.
    We do see the result of an ever expanding school budget on June 5 and December 5 when we have to pay our real estate and personal property taxes. I’m about tapped out. It’s time to hold the line on school spending.
    Just my .02. Now flame away…..

  32. jogger, the Schilling Show on WINA had an interesting show dealing this your topic just today at 1 PM. Maybe they’ll air it again if you missed it.

  33. LOL. Good move Leatherwood for getting out of the war zone of CHS, but welcome to the politics of your position now.

  34. This is an age old problem of what to do with ‘top’ management when its time they moved on, yet they are probably too old to make a lateral move to another job. For the sake of argument, let us assume that it was time for new blood at the top of CHS- most principals need to move on after a certain number of years at the helm even if they had generally been doing a reasonable job OR they have run out of oomph and direction. Mr. Leatherwood has worked for more than 30 years in the cville school system. He is probably too old and or unwilling to move laterally, so, either he is going to be ‘kicked upstairs’ or fired… and firing is not a simple thing to do with someone who has put in 30 years- you need a smoking gun. This sort of scenario has repeated itself over and over in this town and across the county. So even if the folks ‘moved’ to central office can bring energy and knowledge to the job, central offices become the repository of many more folks than the student numbers/school system requires. And at their pay scale, it would look bizarre to have these folks working in the classrooms, so new central office titles are created and the numbers climb (~74 by Ackerman’s count and growing).

    Alternatives include…. buying out, which would perhaps save money in the long run, but could be a PR nightmare in paying folks to do nothing; finding the guts to terminate (see Peter Principle); creating hiring contracts for principals that run a maximum number of years no questions asked, period; hiring younger and excellent principals who will want and more likely be able to move onto to either bigger schools or the superintendent track and not aspire to semi-retirement in our central office; not responding to any retirements in our central office with new hires; being bold and taking the knife to central office in a massive reorganization that puts more money/folks into the classroom and letting the chips fall where they will (takes a real strong leader for this); ???other

  35. Kenneth Leatherwood has only been principal of CHS since 2003, when he replaced Bobby Thompson who was principal of CHS for at least ten years. My impression of Mr. Leatherwood is of a man who is still relatively youthful and dynamic.
    Incidentally, in writing this post, I searched the city schools’ staff list, curious about what happened to Bobby Thompson. I thought he’d been given a job with Central Office too. His name isn’t listed, but I’m wondering why we need an “associate superintendent” (Gertrude Ivory) and an “assistant superintendent” (Jim Henderson, another former principal).

  36. Perhaps Charlottesville Public Schools should start thinking of its professional employees as something other than expendable temporary employees. Highly qualified potential applicants who are looking for long-term careers know not to apply here. It’s obvious from our personnel turn-over rate. We’re lucky we have the people that we’ve gotten. Thank God the surrounding counties do not have the idiotic ideas about older employees that seem to abound here. CPS should get rid of early retirement incentives altogether.

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