Boyse F. Mosley, the outspoken principal of Northwestern High School, today announced that he will retire at the end of this school year, citing frustration with the pace of school improvement and a loss of enthusiasm in the job.
"You get to the point where you work very hard to try to improve the performance of youngsters and you make very little progress," said Mosley, long an internal critic of the school system. "I'm just giving it up."
Mosley made the surprise announcement to staff and students today, a day after a meeting with Superintendent Walter G. Amprey at which, Mosley said, the superintendent raised questions about his commitment to the job.
Gary L. Thrift, director of high schools, said the retirement was "strictly voluntary" and Mosley had discussed the possibility for some months.
Mosley, in his eighth year as principal of Northwestern, said he was not pressured to resign, but said, "I get the distinct impression that they would like to see me leave."
He said Mosely cited suggestions "that I no longer have the desire, the fire to get the job done. . . . I told him I don't have much enthusiasm. . . . My fire was going out and I would leave the end of the year."
But Mosley also said his school's performance on the annual state school "report card" prompted helped prompt the decision.
Northwestern failed to make the grade on any of 13 categories on the state's report, and listed 59.2 percent of its student body chronically absent last year, despite Mosley's efforts to boost attendance.
"I took a look at the report card -- we're not doing much. As leader of the school, I'm held accountable," said Mosley.
The flamboyant, articulate Mosley has been with the school system as a teacher, regional superintendent and principal for 28 years. He has long been a thorn in the side of city administrations, with controversial proposals for school reform.
He has suggested eliminating interscholastic sports at his school and putting the money into reading programs; recommended cutting state aid to parents of chronically truant students, and pushed a controversial dress code for teachers.
His announcement over the school's public address system today was greeted with "great joy, great elation" by the staff, according to one faculty member who refused to be identified. "People clapping, shouting in their classrooms."