The District’s most coveted middle school is losing its principal

Photo Credit: Melina Mara/The Washington Post

Photo Credit: Melina Mara/The Washington Post

According to Alejandra Matos of the Washington Post, James Albright, principal of Deal Middle School, the largest middle school in the District, is stepping down from his position after 9 years. 53-year-old Albright cited his desire to focus on his health after being diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

Parents and community members say they were devastated to hear of Albright’s resignation. They credit him with taking a well-regarded school to new heights.

“He is a great leader for the school, and I am really sad that he is leaving,” said Lori Jackson, Deal’s PTA president. “But he is leaving Deal in a really, really good place.”

Albright is the longest-serving middle school principal in the city, with the exception of the principal of Columbia Heights Educational Campus, which serves grades 6 through 12. Like other urban school systems, D.C. Public Schools often struggles to retain school leaders, especially in middle and high schools. Leadership continuity is considered essential to creating a strong environment where teachers want to teach and parents want to send their children.

“He is a very talented principal, without questions, but stability matters,” said Ruth Wattenberg, a member of the D.C. State Board of Education whose children attended Deal. “That’s a lot of years to know a school, and every year you are able to get better and better at what you do.” Read more here.