Young D.C. principal quits and tells why
Hearst parents and teachers said they were disappointed. PTA President Jen Wilcox said Kerlina’s open-door policy, his efforts to upgrade classroom technology and his easy, energetic manner with kids made him “a breath of fresh air.”
“He cared about children, and he was a hard-working principal,” veteran teacher Bill Rope said. “He didn’t leave because he wanted to make cupcakes.”
Kerlina taught grade school in Montgomery, rising to assistant principal at Takoma Park Elementary. By 2009, he felt ready to move up, but principal turnover was low in the county. Kerlina was also intrigued by then-Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee’s vow to close the black-white achievement gap. He joined a contingent of Montgomery educators who signed on with Rhee, including Dawn Ellis, who left as Murch Elementary principal this month.
Kerlina said his interview with Rhee was brief. She quizzed him about reading scores at Takoma Park and asked what he would do for scores at Hearst, where reading proficiency on the citywide test in 2009 was 80 percent and math proficiency was 92 percent. He promised to at least hold them