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Madison Park High School Headmaster Resigns; School Dept. Says Student Schedules Now Set

After seven days of chaos during which students walked out to protest not having class assignments, the headmaster of Madison Park Technical Vocation High School — Boston's only vocational education school — is out of a job.

Headmaster Not Certified

Boston Public Schools Interim Superintendent John McDonough accepted the resignation of Madison Park headmaster Diane Ross Gary at a meeting Friday afternoon.

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McDonough recently learned that Gary had not completed the application process for certification to be a headmaster. She had applied for certification in August of 2013 but apparently never submitted the required paperwork or followed the necessary next steps to complete the process. BPS said it should have followed up to confirm her certification, just as it does with teachers.

Gary's yearlong tenure has been marked by turmoil. She was hired at the school in the summer of 2013. She had never been a headmaster before, but she came with extensive vocational experience. She had been a program manager for cooperative work education and college-career pathways at the Connecticut Department of Education.

A Week Without Classes, Schedules May Now Be Set

There have been seven days of no classes for many of the nearly 1,000 students assigned to Madison Park. Students and teachers found themselves without class schedules from the first day of classes on Sept. 4. Four days into the new school year, hundreds of students walked out in protest. They had been spending their days sitting idly in classrooms, often without teachers.

A School Department spokesman says officials believe they now have resolved all the remaining schedule problems at Madison Park.

BPS said there were issues with scheduling spurred from switching from a seven-class-per-day schedule to eight classes, and said there were other changes aimed at improving access to some classes for special education students, as well as students learning English as a second language.

Teachers were also still being hired at Madison Park, as hiring at the school had been put on hold until late summer.

"You can assign responsibility to specific individuals for specific problems that may exist, " says McDonough, but adds that systemic issues that need attention may still exist at the school.

In a letter to the Madison Park staff, Gary said that she and the superintendent had agreed it was time for her to move on.

McDonough says a new acting headmaster will be appointed very soon.

Al Holland, a former headmaster of the Jeremiah Burke High School, will take over leadership of Madison Park until then. Holland had been assisting Gary at the school since it began hiring teachers and staff in August.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh says the Boston School Committee and a Superintendent Search Committee are expected to resume meetings next week as they continue the search for a permanent BPS superintendent. McDonough, who has been the acting superintendent since June 2013, says he does not want the job on a permanent basis.

Earlier Coverage:

This segment aired on September 14, 2014. The audio for this segment is not available.

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