Martin Floe
  • SPS
  • Martin Floe
Yesterday, the local education blogs were full of news about Seattle Public Schools decision to fire Ingraham High School Principal Martin Floe. Angry community members criticized the district's decision, demanding an explanation from Interim Superintendent Susan Enfield for removing someone they called a "respected and popular" principal.

Floe's supporters have started a Facebook page for him under Friends of Martin Floe, and will be meeting with Enfield tomorrow to "ask her some hard questions about why she thought this was a good decision for our school." The group is asking the Ingraham community to show up outside the district headquarters at the John Stanford Center for Excellence at 5:15 p.m. wearing Ingraham blue. They also plan to protest at the May 18 school board meeting.

When I asked SPS for the official reason for Floe's termination, district spokesperson Teresa Wippel said that "Dr. Enfield made a decision that Ingraham High School would benefit from new leadership in the next school year. As a result, Principal Floe’s contract wasn’t renewed for next year. He will remain at Ingraham for the rest of the school year."

Wippel said that Floe was notified of this decision Monday and declined to answer specific questions citing personnel reasons. Ingraham staff and families were notified Tuesday.

When reached by phone around 8 a.m. Wednesday, Floe confirmed the news, but declined comment "That's accurate," he said. "This is so new to me that I prefer not to respond at this time." Floe, who graduated from Ingraham in 1984, has been with SPS since 1990, when he was hired as a music teacher at Ingraham. He was promoted to assistant principal in 1994 and has been principal since 2004.

When asked whether he was going to appeal the decision as reported in the local blogs, Floe said that he couldn't comment right now.

A replacement has not been named yet. Wippel said that "we will start the process of interviewing principal candidates, and hope to name a permanent principal by the end of the school year. We will work with IHS staff and families on what qualifications and attributes they want to see in their next principal."

In her email to the Ingraham community May 10, Enfield talked about her decision to bring in new leadership at the school and thanked Floe for "his years of service to the students and staff at IHS." "I know leadership changes can be difficult, and I thank you for your continued work focusing on our students, and making sure each one of them receives a quality education," she said.

The Ingraham staff yesterday unanimously passed a vote of confidence in Floe's leadership, citing what they said were his many positive attributes and people skills. SPS parent and Huffington Post education blogger Sue Peters sent a letter to the Seattle School Board asking why the decision to fire Floe had been made after the district's open enrollment period.

"Those who registered for Ingraham this year thought Floe would be the principal in the fall," she wrote. "This is not being open and honest with parents. This latest development seems like a case of SPS bait and switch."

Peters also called Floe's termination bad news for the Accelerated Progress Program (APP)—which serves academically-gifted students—"whose community had been lured to Ingraham with the promises of an APP/International Baccalaureate program headed by Principal Floe."