Northeast High principal shifting to headquarters

March 04, 1994|By Carol L. Bowers and Andrea F. Siegel | Carol L. Bowers and Andrea F. Siegel,Sun Staff Writers

Joseph Carducci Jr., who was principal of Northeast High School when a teacher-student sex scandal broke there, is being transferred to an unspecified job at Board of Education headquarters at the end of the school year.

The new principal, as of July 1, will be Roy Skiles, a popular assistant principal at Chesapeake Senior High School, and a 1968 graduate of Northeast.

Dr. Carducci has been a source of controversy since his first months as principal in 1991 when he fired the school's longtime athletic director over parent protests.

The next parent outcry came when he began advising female students to go to him if they were pregnant and considering an abortion.

Then came the arrest in April 1993 of Ronald W. Price, a social studies teacher at the school who admitted to having sex with students.

Washington lawyer Alan I. Baron, who directed a subsequent investigation into how such cases were handled, said Dr. Carducci had handled the situation so badly that he should be reassigned.

News of Dr. Carducci's transfer angered the leader of the principals' union.

"It's just an absolute shame. He's very upset by it," said Richard Kovelant, executive director of the Association of Educational Leaders. "What nobody understands is that most of what he did in handling the Price stuff was orchestrated by the central office."

Dr. Carducci was informed of Superintendent Carol S. Parham's decision Monday afternoon, two days before it was announced at a school board meeting. Mr. Skiles said he expects to make few instructional changes when he gets to Northeast. "Joe's a good man. I know he's a sound person in instruction. I know he's laid a good background," said Mr. Skiles, who once worked with Dr. Carducci at Andover High School. "He walked into a bombshell. It could have happened to anyone. It could have happened to me.

"Events took on a force of their own."

While four teachers were placed on leave during one year amid allegations they had sex with students, Dr. Carducci became the source of tremendous controversy, with parents, students and former students taking sides. The school's Parent Teacher Student Association leaders wanted Dr. Carducci to remain, while the president of the County Council of PTAs supported the recommendation that Dr. Carducci be removed.

"I certainly would have liked to see him stay," said Linda Tetrault, president of the Northeast PTSA. "I have mixed emotions. My thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Carducci."

Carolyn Roeding, the PTA council president, said she hopes the decision "will alleviate some of the divisiveness at Northeast."

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