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Fulton County Schools to Retire Woodland Principal

Last Friday, Baskerville was removed from her position as principal of Woodland Elementary Charter School.

Dr. Ruth L. Baskerville and Fulton County Schools have agreed on her official retirement, effective June 30.

Last Friday, Baskerville was removed from her position as principal of Woodland Elementary Charter School, and an investigation is nearly complete regarding her conduct, according to Susan Hale, communications manager for Fulton County Schools.

“It’s been a pattern of documented inappropriate behavior that’s led to her being removed as principal,” said Hale.“There’s been concerns about inappropriate outbursts at students and staff.”

Details will be released within 10 days of the completed investigation.

Baskerville maintains that there had been nothing disparaging on her record during her four years at Woodland. And her 42 years in education has been stellar, she said.

“Honestly, if there were something there, I would address it,” Baskerville said.

Actions to remove Baskerville are said to have come about after Elisa Falco, Director of Education and Training at the Georgia Charter Schools Association, visited Woodland, in March, and observed the principal speaking harshly to a parent and separately to a student.

In one instance, Baskerville said she was called from her office to assist a teacher who was being screamed at by a parent.

“Yes, I yelled at her,” said Baskerville, referring to the parent. “I would hope that any good principal who is called out of her office to witness a parent screaming at a teacher would defend the teacher. Any good principal would."

Some parents sent an email or posted comments to the Sandy Springs Patch site saying they are pleased with Baskerville’s removal. They have not responded to requests to shed light on the issues cited.

A Woodland parent wrote: ”…Dr. Baskerville has yet to take any responsibility for the loss of Charter, or give a truthful response as for the reason for the loss of Charter. She also has a history of showing poor judgment. Recently, she failed to notify Woodland parents that the school was in lockdown--either during or after. Yet she sees fit to inform the parents about the school's fundraising activities. Good riddance! Maybe now the school can get back on track and regain its Charter!”

Baskerville said, about a month ago, police notified the school that they were seeking a perpetrator in the area. She locked the doors and said that less than five minutes later police called back with the all clear.

“I really should have called my parents. However I put it in the next newsletter and said, ‘My apologies' and [explained]. They lifted it so fast it just left my mind,” Baskerville said.

Mike Powers wrote: “Everyone I know is thrilled at her leaving Woodland regardless of the reason. I have yet to hear one parent that is anything but excited at her exit. Not only were the parents waiting for her to leave one way or another, the staff was terrorized by her and her tactics and many have resigned. Good riddance.”

Maliik Baraka, who has a son in fourth grade at Woodland, told Patch that he believes Baskerville got a raw deal. Conflicts with parents, teachers and students will arise in leadership he said, and he doesn’t see where it warrants Baskerville’s dismissal.

“I’m upset for her, and for my son,” he said. “She is one of the most involved principals that I have encountered."

Corey Sherman, an active parent at Woodland assisted with needs assessment surveys for the school. Baskerville was aware that she had some differences with parents and is the kind of person who wanted to fix the problem, Sherman said.

“She was unhappy about it,” said Sherman, earlier this week. “I think there were people who wanted to see more of an internal leader. And I know she was taking steps to create more of an internal unity. She was a very passionate dedicated professional that wanted to help the school achieve its vision.”

C. W. Blackhawk April 21, 2011 at 04:44 PM
Adrianne Murchison with the Sandy Springs Patch has done well in writing this story. I am of the belief that the principal is the chief executive officer of the school and while it may be difficult to keep emotions between teachers, staff, parents and children in check during stressful times, having those skills is essential to navigate the rough waters of effectively managing an elementary school. Well-managed conflict helps improve interpersonal relationships, promote healthy interaction, and develop creative, synergistic solutions to undesirable situations.
D2 resident April 21, 2011 at 04:57 PM
Our family left private school two years ago and came to Woodland specifically because it was a charter school with an excellent reputation in the community. While no school is perfect, there were many things about Woodland that we enjoyed and that our children benefited from. The teachers were excellent and we enjoyed the differentiated learning programs, and the talented and gifted program in particular. My children have enjoyed participating in the special needs program as well, something they never would have experienced in private school. However, the news last September of the sudden loss of the school's charter set the tone for what has been a very unstable year. This charter was lost due to complete lack of education, preparation and leadership of the school's administration who clearly undervalued what the charter meant to her population. Our lack of confidence in the school's leadership led us back through the private school application process and we will return to private school next year. However, had we known a change in leadership was going to take place at Woodland we might have made a different decision and stayed. It truly is a wonderful school with wonderful parents, an amazing special needs program, and is full of talented and dedicated teachers. I wish the Woodland family all the best and hope Fulton County will find a strong, dynamic leader who will listen to the famlies and teachers and help take Woodland to its next level of greatness. - S. Langlais
CTL April 27, 2011 at 08:51 PM
It is so sad that people do not fully realize how the charter system works. Woodland did not loose their charter. They simply did not pursue the renewal process and I fully understand that. The renewal process for a school is tedious and like being in a hamster wheel! People want everything for nothing! The State of Georgia Department of Education wanted us to jump through a million hoops in an impossible time frame , but was not willing to provide ANY funding to support any of the "unique" and "distinct" programs that they wanted us to generate to make our charter renewal worthy. There is so much that the misinformed public does not know about the inner workings of a school. We are so quick to point fingers and not have all the information. So, before you make a decision, get all the facts.

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