City hires new principal for Northern High School A 'powerful, dedicated leader,' says schools chief

August 06, 1998|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Helena Nobles-Jones, an assistant superintendent in Washington, has agreed to become principal of Northern High School, one of Baltimore's most troubled schools.

Baltimore schools chief executive Robert Booker said yesterday that the system was extremely lucky to have attracted Nobles-Jones. "She came across as a powerful, dedicated leader" and impressed parents and teachers at Northern, he said.

Nobles-Jones takes over from a controversial principal, Alice Morgan Brown, who retired last month after a year of turmoil during which she became the subject of news reports and talk shows across the country for her suspension of 1,200 students one afternoon in November.

The suspensions were praised by some who saw Brown as a get-tough disciplinarian, but criticized by others who believed the action represented her failure to control the school.

Nobles-Jones will enter a school where students roam the halls refusing to go to class and violence often breaks out between students despite the presence of school police officers, metal detectors and metal grates over the windows.

Two Northern students died last year. One was shot in the back after a dispute at school continued into the streets.

Since the suspensions, WJZ-TV and Morgan State University have worked together to try to help improve the school.

Pub Date: 8/06/98

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