Permanent principal sought for Westinghouse 6-12 school

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Pittsburgh Public Schools has posted an opening for a "visionary leader" to become the new principal for the troubled Pittsburgh Westinghouse 6-12 in Homewood this fall.

The current acting principal -- Shemeca Crenshaw, who was brought in to help steady the school in November after a rocky start to this school year -- said she is reapplying for the job.

Ms. Crenshaw said she initially thought her work at Westinghouse was going to be "temporary, short-term," but Tuesday she said she will reapply for the job because of the "relationships I've developed with the kids and the families."

School Superintendent Linda Lane said she had thought Ms. Crenshaw didn't want to stay at the school but said, "If there was some misunderstanding here, she's welcome to stay ... If Dr. Crenshaw is interested in staying, that's great."

On its website, the district Tuesday posted the opening for a candidate -- from inside or outside the district -- who "is a bold and dedicated educator who can help us to reshape our future."

Ms. Crenshaw was previously principal at Pittsburgh Weil PreK-5. She came to Westinghouse in November at Ms. Lane's request.

"I can't thank her enough for stepping in and doing the very best she could to help address some of the concerns we had. She's a trouper in my book," Ms. Lane said.

In an effort to improve academic performance at the chronically low-achieving high school, the district closed the high school and opened a new Westinghouse this school year with a 6-12 program, including single-gender classes.

But the school wasn't ready, and ultimately the single-gender program was scrapped.

By November, the two co-principals who opened the school, Shawn McNeil and Kellie Abbott, were placed on administrative leave and replaced by Ms. Crenshaw. Ms. Abbott became a curriculum coach at Pittsburgh Langley High School Feb. 1. Mr. McNeil is on a leave of absence.

The district has not yet adopted a plan as to how to improve Westinghouse this fall.

Ms. Crenshaw previously had headed Westinghouse but had asked to be transferred to an elementary school because high school duties took too much time away from her young family.

Eleanor Chute: or 412-263-1955. First Published March 28, 2012 4:00 AM


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