Enfield's email came on the heels of the district releasing academic data on Ingraham last Thursday, explaining that while "this was not the only factor in a long, difficult decision to not renew the principal’s contract for the 2011-12 school year, this data does point to a school in need of improvement."
The data pointed to static academic performance at Ingraham for the past several years and led a number of people—including me—to believe that it was being used to justify Floe's dismissal. But Enfield's email the next day contradicts that, explaining that "while we did share Ingraham's test scores since we were getting questions about the school's performance, I never said that these scores were the reason for my decision. They were not."
Enfiled also objected to a May 12 Seattle Times article, which reported that she had said Floe "was ousted because the school's test scores were 'stagnant,' and the school was the second-lowest-performing high school in the Seattle district,"
In her email, Enfield says,
Additionally, I never spoke with [Times reporter] Katherine Long so I am puzzled why she would attribute any quotes on this matter to me. I have not, and will not, reveal the information that was part of the evaluation process and eventual decision. I am legally bound not to do so.
The same attribution was reprinted in another Times article today, angering some Ingraham parents, who sent an email to the Times staff and The Stranger complaining about it.
I asked SPS if they could give me some idea as to why their press release indicated that the school's stagnant academic data, while not the only reason, was one of the reasons for Floe's dismissal? If it didn't come from the superintendent, did it come from someone else? I also asked if I could have a few minutes with Enfield to clear up the confusion.
"I’m not sure why this story ended up being all about test scores," district spokesperson Teresa Wippel says. "The reasons for not renewing Mr. Floe’s contract are a personnel matter and can’t be disclosed. We did release data about Ingraham to show that we were concerned about test scores there, but the decision regarding Mr. Floe was based on a year-long review of his performance. It’s as simple as that."
But some Ingraham parents disagree. "It looks like they are scrambling for reasons to fire Floe," says Deborah Niedermeyer, legislative co-chair of the Ingraham PTSA. "Unless there is some information that Martin Floe will put our children in danger that I don't know about."
Enfield's decision to fire Floe last Monday with little or no information shocked the Ingraham community, spurring parents, teachers, and students into action. When parents met with Floe, he seemed as confused about the decision as them. "He told us, that if you go to bat for me, you will not find anything that will embarrass you," Niedermeyer says. "He then pulled out his evaluation and read out the summary, which said that he had failed to engage with staff to create an adequate learning environment."
Floe has decided to appeal Enfield's decision through his lawyers.
"We don't know why Enfield is doing this, how this turmoil would benefit our school, we know nothing other than our principal, who we think is wonderful, has been fired for reasons she doesn't want us to know," Niedermeyer says.
So far the Ingraham community has set up a Friends of Martin Floe Facebook group which has over 1,100 members, met with Enfield to express their concerns, held a rally outside district headquarters, talked to school board members and are circulating a petition demanding that the school board reinstate Floe.
School Board President Steve Sundquist says that the board has yet to receive legal counsel on whether it has the power to rehire Floe. Enfield is having a closed door meeting with Ingraham staff today and has agreed to meet with the community at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow at the school. Floe's supporters also plan to protest at Wednesday's school board meeting.
"They completely underestimated our school," says Niedermeyer. "We have a very unique and diverse community, and somehow Enfield thinks it will benefit the community by ejecting the principal. What kind of an insane decision is this?"