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At a South Bronx school, a teacher blogs and a principal resigns

Nine months after an anonymous teacher-blogger began waging an online campaign against the leadership at his school, PS 154 in the Bronx, the principal that he skewered has decided to resign.

As of today, Linda Amill-Irizarry is no longer the principal at PS 154, DOE spokeswoman Ann Forte confirmed for me. Amill-Irizarry, who before becoming PS 154’s principal was briefly the superintendent of District 8 in the Bronx, is taking a position in the Leadership Learning Support Organization, one of the outside support networks that schools can partner with. PS 154 has been part of a different network, the Empowerment Schools Organization.

Marsha Elliott has been appointed as interim acting principal, Forte told me. Elliott was formerly an assistant principal at PS 50 in the Bronx, and she also led PS 158 while it was being phased out due to poor performance. According to The Chief-Leader, a newspaper produced by the city’s labor organizations, Elliott was fined last year by the city’s Conflict of Interests Board for encouraging staff members at PS 158 to visit the church in Queens where she and her husband were co-pastors.

Forte said there is an open investigation of Amill-Irizarry in the Office of Special Investigations, the DOE’s in-house unit that examines allegations of wrongdoing in the city schools. Forte she said she could not characterize the allegations against the former principal but said the investigation would continue.

For the last nine months, the teacher-blogger has documented what he (or she — the blogger’s gender isn’t noted on the blog) says is illicit behavior at PS 154, charging that Amill-Irizarry and an assistant principal, whom he nicknamed “Numb Nuts,” failed to report incidents according to required procedures. The teacher reported yesterday on his site, SouthBronxSchool.blogspot.com, that it appeared that his principal, whom he briefly named back in January, would be leaving the school. He wrote that he would be removing old content from the site and changing the focus of his postings. The blog “has served its purpose in its current incarnation,” the teacher wrote. “It’s a time for healing.”

Amill-Irizarry’s resignation marks the second time in recent weeks that a principal under siege has chosen to leave his or her school. At MS 8 in Queens, teachers and parents protested outside the school every day for weeks against their principal, John Murphy, whom they called “disrespectful” and abusive. The DOE stood behind Murphy, but Schools Chancellor Joel Klein accepted Murphy’s resignation last week, saying that Murphy had decided he would rather step aside than continue to be a distraction at the school. Murphy had been previously resigned from the principalship of a school in Connecticut after parents and teachers there campaigned against him.

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