Poly principal reassigned

Leader of premier city high school moves to Reginald Lewis High

August 10, 2010|By Erica L. Green, The Baltimore Sun

Barney Wilson, the principal of Polytechnic Institute since 2004, has been reassigned to Reginald F. Lewis High School, Baltimore City schools CEO Andrés Alonso announced Tuesday.

Alonso announced the appointment at the city school board meeting, saying that despite rumors circulating about the shuffle of the school's leadership in recent weeks, the reassignment of Wilson was because the school system needs to "put its best principals in our most challenging schools."

Matthew Woolston, who has served as a teacher, department head and assistant principal at Poly over the past 16 years, was named interim principal.

City school officials confirmed to The Baltimore Sun on Tuesday afternoon that Wilson had accepted the reassignment, which was approved by the school board Tuesday night.

"We're extremely grateful to Barney for choosing to take on a challenging assignment," said Michael Sarbanes, a city schools spokesman. "We need experienced principals to take on our schools that have been toughest to turn around, and Barney has accepted that responsibility."

In an interview after his reassignment was confirmed Tuesday night, Wilson said he had mixed feelings about departing from his post at the premier science and technology school to take over Reginald Lewis, which focuses on business and humanities.

He said he was "Poly through and through," having had two daughters graduate from the school and being a graduate himself. Wilson was also the school's first black principal.

He vowed that Reginald Lewis would come to produce business leaders and lawyers, the same way that Poly had produced the next generation of engineers and scientists.

"My heart is in leadership and service," Wilson said.

Outside city schools headquarters, Wilson switched from his trademark navy blue tie with the school's name in orange lettering to a silver-and-black tie, which is Reginald Lewis' school colors.

"I'm leaving while Poly's on top, which is good," Wilson said, noting that among other accomplishments, he is departing with a waiting list of about 800 students vying to attend the school. "It's still the hottest ticket in town."

Woolston said he anticipated a smooth transition into his new post until a principal is named. "It's high-profile, but we're going to run the school as the proud institution it's always been," Woolston said.

Jimmy Gittings, president of the administrators union, said that it supported Wilson's decision.

"He is a troubleshooter," he added. "He's gone in and kept Poly at the standards that they were for the past 100 years."


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