SEATTLE Interim Seattle Schools Superintendent Dr. Susan Enfield admits mistakes in the handling of Ingraham High Principal Martin Floe.

I haven t done a good job of communicating to families and others what the process looks like, because I think that s where a lot of the confusion was, said Enfield, who explained her side of the story on Wednesday.

Enfield said she decided to reverse her decision because she realized the situation has become a distraction.

Floe was fired on May 10, and headquarters staff suggested Ingraham s student achievement scores were a large reason why. Enfield changed her mind a week later, after meeting with parents and teachers, and a near unanimous show of support for Floe.

The grades were not the reason, said Enfield. It s a personnel matter and I m not going to comment on the specifics, it s not appropriate or professional. She also denied it had anything to do with a recent grade fixing scandal at the school.

Floe was given a contract extension through the 2011-12 calendar year, in addition to a performance improvement plan.

She might, in retrospect, think she should have come forward with all the reasons, before she did it, said Paul Hill, Director of the UW Center on Reinventing Public Education. The worst thing to do would have been to reinstate the principal and leave the field, and not insist on raising the performance.

Hill believes Enfield was likely concerned with declining student achievement scores at Ingraham, particularly among minority students.

There is a gigantic gap between African American and white students and it s been getting worse. That s a big issue which needs to be addressed, he said.

He also believes Enfield may have set a precedent for parents upset about a ruling.

If a large group of parents, not necessarily everybody in the school, decides to resist a district decision, they know how to do it, and that s just a reality now, he said.

I think there is a big difference between listening and caving, said Enfield. I am looking forward to the opportunity to move on.

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