DETROIT – Detroit Public Schools principals who have demonstrated success could be rewarded with multi-year contracts and more authority over the schools they lead, according to a Detroit News report about a task force examining district leadership.

Barbara Byrd-Bennett, newly appointed chief academic and accountability auditor, will lead the task force in reviewing the work of every assistant principal and principal to determine who should serve in which schools, The News reported.

The team will consider giving principals more autonomy over matters that impact students, including budget decisions, according to The News. Robert Bobb, the district’s emergency financial manager, named Byrd-Bennett to the position Thursday at a $160,000 salary.

By the end of the process, Bobb said the district will know systemwide who are the "first-round draft choices,” The News reported.

On a broader scale, Byrd-Bennett will review central office operations, analyze academic programs and help develop and recommend a long-range academic master plan for the district, The News reported. Byrd-Bennett has worked in struggling districts in New York and Cleveland, and last year co-chaired the American Federation of Teachers Innovation Fund, according to The News.

Byrd-Bennett told the News she was attracted to the Detroit job, in part, because it resembled the work she's done elsewhere.

SOURCE:
The Detroit News, “New DPS auditor to review principals' contracts, salaries,” April 25, 2009

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Report, “How one district overhauled its academic plan,” May 20, 2008

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