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IG asked to investigate DC principal's effort to hire his wife

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Local,DC,Education,Rachel Baye

A community leader in the District's West End and Foggy Bottom neighborhoods has asked the city to investigate whether the principal at School Without Walls High School broke the law by trying to hire his wife as an assistant principal.

Principal Richard Trogisch told D.C. Public Schools that he would agree to also oversee Francis-Stevens Education Campus if he were allowed to hire his wife, a sixth-grade teacher at Hardy Middle School. He says DCPS Chief of Schools John Davis agreed.

DCPS spokeswoman Melissa Salmanowitz declined to comment last week on the specifics of a conversation between Davis and Trogisch after Davis referred comment to her. But despite whatever Davis might have agreed to, DCPS is not approving the hire, she said.

"Under no circumstances will Mrs. Trogisch be employed by her husband," Salmanowitz said Monday.

D.C. law prohibits a school employee from hiring, promoting or advocating for the hiring or promotion of a family member to any position in the school system. Though the law allows Chancellor Kaya Henderson to grant an exception to the rule, this exception is permitted for at most 30 days and only in the case of an emergency.

On Monday, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Jackson Carnes wrote to D.C. Inspector General Charles Willoughby asking for "a full review in the next 72 hours."

"The thought that a school administrator would hire his wife for such as high leadership role or that his superior would condone this hire," Carnes wrote. "It is viewed as a breach of judgment and should incite further examination."

No one has been hired for the position so far, and Trogisch said he does not plan to fill the position until May.

DCPS plans to undergo the normal hiring process for the job, Salmanowitz said. For an assistant principal, this entails an online application with three essay questions, a phone interview and two in-person interviews.

rbaye@washingtonexaminer.com

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