Monday, June 4, 2018

A New Principal Pushes for Change. Then the Investigations Start.

Asked to revive troubled New York City schools, administrators have faced a flood of investigations that derail their efforts and, often, their careers.

By Kate Taylor

When Nadav Zeimer became principal in 2010 of Harlem Renaissance High School, the school, which serves students who have fallen behind or dropped out of other schools, was failing. It had received a D on its most recent report card. At one point, New York City said it planned to close Harlem Renaissance and reopen it under a new name.

But within three years, the school’s grade went to a B, then an A. Its graduation rate improved; suspensions plummeted.

As Mr. Zeimer’s supervisor would say, last year, “Principal Zeimer has turned a failing school into a successful school.”

Which made it strange that, at that very moment, the city was trying to fire him.

As Mr. Zeimer worked to remake the school, he said, a small group of teachers revolted. He became the subject of multiple investigations and unflattering news stories, and lost his position — only to subsequently be cleared of most of the charges.

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