SEATTLE (AP) — Former Ingraham High School Principal Gloria Izard-Baldwin was paid $172,500 to resign because Seattle schools Superintendent Joseph Olchefske believed the school needed better leadership.
Olchefske said he had heard "criticisms from the Ingraham community" regarding Baldwin's energy level and the need to set a clear direction, "particularly as the school was in a period of change."
Baldwin, 63, earned $99,902 a year before she resigned in June. She joined the school district in 1976 as a language-arts teacher at Catherine Blaine Junior High. She became Ingraham's principal in 1991.
Baldwin's confidential agreement to resign was released to The Seattle Times Wednesday in response to a request under the state Open Records Act. Baldwin and the district had agreed not to disclose terms of her departure other than to say she had retired.
Joe Drake, president of the Principals Association of Seattle Schools, said he thinks race was a factor.
"There are some schools that, if white parents dislike the administrator of color and they say to the superintendent that person needs to go or something of that nature, you don't have to prove that the principal is inept, just complain loud enough," he said.
Drake and Baldwin are both African American.
Baldwin could not be reached for comment.
The agreement is not the highest paid to a departing principal in the Seattle district. Marta Cano-Hinz, a former principal of Rainier Beach High, was paid $173,507 in cash and health and retirement benefits when she agreed to leave in January 2000.
Geri Lim quit her job as chief financial officer in August under a $51,000 settlement while the district was investigating what turned out to be a $34 million financial shortfall over two fiscal years.
Olchefske said a negotiated settlement often is the fastest and most cost-effective way of removing an administrator and avoiding litigation.
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