It seems that when a failing school is in need of a turnaround, the district looks to one particular guy. And that guy is William Wade, the veteran educator who's been tapped to turn around the Martin Luther High School for next year.
In a statement announcing his post, spokeswoman Jamilah Fraser said Wade "brings a wealth of experience in reversing the downward spiral of academics at some of the country's most underperforming schools."
He was most recently the principal at Vaux Promise Academy where officials say predictive data has shown a remarkable decrease in violent incidents, academic acceleration in test scores, and an increase in attendance.
For MLK High, which has struggled for years with violence and low academic performance, officials say "his mission is clear - raise test scores, increase the attendance rate, accelerate academic education, decrease dropout rate and create an institution of academic excellence for more than 1000 students at Martin Luther King High School."
“In the weeks ahead, I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and preparing a comprehensive academic overhaul plan for this school," he said. "My children and I are products of a quality public education and I wouldn’t have anything less for the students of Martin Luther King High School."
Richard Gordon, who is currently an assistant principal at Washington High School, will replace Wade at Vaux.
Wade fielded questions from members of King’s School Advisory Council about his plans. SAC Chair Conchevia Washington said Wade has the experience to lead the school.
"He knows reform and I look forward to working with him to make this school one of the best in the city,” she said.
In April, Mosaica, the company that had been approved to run MLK as a charter withdrew its bid, citing a climate of "unrelenting hostility."
Foundations, a New Jersey nonprofit, was the second choice of SAC members and was handed the job, but also walked away amid allegations of conflicts of interest involving the School Reform Commission Chairman Bob Archie and Rep. Dwight Evans, who has close ties to the school.