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Top-level departures and changes in District’s central office

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Photo: WHYY/Flickr

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Turnover continues to strike the ranks of Superintendent William Hite’s senior staff at a time when the District could use some consistency.

Two senior-level staffers in the academic office recently left their posts at 440 N. Broad St. The cadre of assistant superintendents has also been hit by departures; five of the eight positions supervising principals and directing the District’s regional school networks are in transition.

On Tuesday, the District released data showing all its 18,561 employees and their salaries, reflecting its recent personnel moves.

The District’s chief of academic supports, David Hardy, is gone after a short stint as the District’s top administrator in charge of academic instruction. Hardy came last fall from Camden, where he headed school turnarounds.

In the Office of Curriculum and Assessment, Hardy’s immediate subordinate, Donna Runner, left the District last month and has not yet been replaced. She now works in a similar position at Charter School Management Inc. (CSMI), the for-profit charter management firm founded by wealthy lawyer and influential political donor Vahan Gureghian.

In addition, Sophie Bryan, who was Hite’s special assistant and former interim head of the Charter Schools Office, has become chief of staff to the School Reform Commission. She was previously chief of staff for SRC Chairman Bill Green, when he was a City Council member.

Assistant superintendents

Of the five assistant superintendents who are no longer in that role, three have moved into new positions and two have left the District.

Donyall Dickey has been promoted and replaces Hardy as head of academic supports. Dennis Creedon is now the chief of instructional enrichment and support. Benjamin Wright now heads the alternative education office. Lissa Johnson retired, and Kenneth Cherry left the District to become superintendent of schools in Dover, Pa. Dion Betts, Cheryl Logan, and Karen Kolsky remain in their roles.

Three new incoming assistant superintendents are Debora Borges Carrera, formerly principal of Kensington CAPA; Sean Conley, former head of principal support for Baltimore city schools; and John Tupponce, an official from Lancaster County, Va., schools.

That leaves two assistant superintendent vacancies.

Other central office changes and vacancies

Diane Castelbuono, a former vice president at United Way of Greater Philadelphia, has been appointed chief of early childhood education. Naomi Housman, a former District administrator who left to work at the education technology company Taskstream, has returned to be the District’s deputy chief for prevention and intervention in the Office of Student Services. Marvin Lee is the new director of procurement.

The assistant superintendent position is listed on the District’s job listings page, which also shows openings for a chief schools officer, who would supervise all assistant superintendents, and the head of the District’s short-staffed Charter School Office, a position that has seen many come and go in a relatively short period of time.

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