West Seattle schools: Principal change for Madison Middle School

4:10 PM: Madison Middle School will have a new principal next year, according to this letter from current principal Henterson Carlisle to Madison families, just shared with us by a parent:

Writing this letter is bittersweet. I want to let you know I will not be returning to Madison Middle School next year as your principal. My work here at Madison has been both a privilege and an honor. The progress we have made as a school, academically and as an inclusive community, is work that I am fortunate to have led.

As your principal, it has been my job — along with our staff — to create a safe, academically challenging and socially fulfilling learning environment for each of your children. With your support Madison has become just that — a safe, challenging learning environment. I am at a time in my life and educational career that I am ready for the next challenge. Madison has afforded me the opportunity to grow as a leader and a person. I feel this is the right time, and I believe that Madison is poised to take the next step on its continued journey to be one of the best middle schools in Seattle.

My position as principal will continue in full force until June 30. I will continue my dedication and focus as your school leader for the remainder of the year.

Carmela Dellino, Executive Director of Schools for the West Seattle region, and Superintendent José Banda will soon announce details about your next principal. I look forward to ensuring a smooth transition for the 2013-14 school year.

This is just to let you know of my plans in a timely manner. However, I am sure we will be talking about this in all of our upcoming meetings and as I see each of you at school. Fortunately, having such a strong, committed staff, your children will continue to be in good hands.

Thanks to each one of you for giving me the opportunity to be your school leader. Watching your children grow, learn and blossom each and every day has been a gift. I will miss the work tremendously.

This is the fourth school year that Carlisle has led Madison; he became interim principal for 2009-2010, then got the permanent appointment toward the end of that school year.

ADDED 4:10 PM: Minutes later, a separate message to parents announced an interim principal:

I am pleased that we are able to appoint longtime educator Dr. Robert Gary, Jr. as the new Interim Principal for Madison Middle School, starting on July 1. Dr. Gary comes to Madison from the District’s Interagency Academy and Skills Center, where he has served as co-principal during the 2012-13 school year.

Dr. Gary will be a great fit for the Madison Middle School community. He is committed to working collaboratively with parents, staff and the school community to ensure that each student receives a quality education and is ready for high school after his or her eighth-grade year.

As is our practice with an interim appointment, in the middle of the school year the Madison community will have an opportunity to provide feedback. Then we will decide if a search needs to be conducted for a permanent principal.

Previously, Dr. Gary served as principal at Rainier Beach High School from 2005-2011 and was assistant principal at the school from 1997-2004. During his time at Rainier Beach, the school saw academic gains on state standardized tests.

He is pleased to be returning to Madison Middle, where he previously served as a teacher, house administrator and interim assistant principal.

Dr. Gary earned a Masters in Education in School Administration from Western Washington University and received a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Washington.

We will set up opportunities for building staff, students and families to meet your new Interim Principal.

(Photo credits: WSB file photo of Henterson Carlisle; Seattle Public Schools photo of Dr. Robert Gary, Jr.)

21 Replies to "West Seattle schools: Principal change for Madison Middle School"

  • Curtis June 3, 2013 (4:12 pm)

    Best of Luck to you Mr. Carlisle

  • LS June 3, 2013 (7:49 pm)

    So bummed to hear this! This is our first year at Madison and Mr. Carlisle is a wonderful leader for both kids and parents alike. Wishing you the best Mr Carlisle!

  • Alki Resident June 3, 2013 (8:14 pm)

    Mr. Carlisle has to be the best principal Ive ever seen. The kids love him and he’s always smiling. I hope you can make surprise visits during assembles or something next year because everyone will miss you. Good luck and best wishes.

  • Raincity June 3, 2013 (8:29 pm)

    Wow – what a bummer. My daughter is starting at Madison next year and from what we heard Mr. Carlisle was great. I tried looking up information on Dr. Gary and his time at RBHS – I did not find much yet. I would think being a HS principal is different than a MS principal?

  • madashell June 3, 2013 (10:26 pm)

    I remember meeting Mr Carlisle when my child was still a fourth-grader. He said to me in no uncertain terms that Madison valued and cared about their special-needs students and full inclusion. His actions after that never made me question his commitment to my child and all Madison students.

    That is the measure of an education administrator. Henterson understood the rights of all his students to a quality education with their peers. I saw him be the tough, but caring disciplinarian, and the all-around nice guy.

    Best wishes to you, Mr Carlisle. From a fan.

  • madashell June 3, 2013 (10:27 pm)

    What I’ve heard about Mr Gary is not encouraging. Here is a news story from 2008, while he was at RBHS.


  • Cclarue June 3, 2013 (10:35 pm)

    This is so sad. I was looking forward to my daughter being at Madison with him. He is a fantastic principal. We are in the Denny zone but opted for Madison because of him. This makes the Eastside look better and better.

  • CJ June 4, 2013 (12:52 am)

    As a single mother of 2 kids at MMS you won’t see a tear shed for H.Carlisle moving on!

  • justme June 4, 2013 (8:53 am)

    What a great guy! We’ll miss his friendly messages on our voice mailbox. ;)

  • momto5 June 4, 2013 (1:30 pm)

    I have to agree with CJ’s Post- We wont shed a tear hear either. Glad to see a change at this school it is very much needed. Unfortunatly I have seen a very different side of this principal- I don’t like the unfair treatment / special treatment given to kids. Here’s to a new year and hoping this school has some fair rules for all- not pick and choose!

  • NVJV June 4, 2013 (7:43 pm)

    As a former student of Dr. Gary and the parent of a future Madison student, I couldn’t be more happy to hear that he is returning to Madison. He was one of the very few middle school teachers who understood and knew how to connect with children of that age. His accomplishments as an administrator are impressive to say the least. Welcome back to the West Dr. Gary. We’re glad to have you!

  • Ironman June 4, 2013 (8:31 pm)

    Bring back Mr. Lord and his sidekick Mr. Haug!

  • Andrea June 4, 2013 (8:56 pm)

    Madison and Mr. Carlisle have been amazing for my son! From the first day he entered MMS he was pushed and encouraged to do his best, all under the amazing leadership of Mr. Carlisle! Wherever he lands they will be lucky to have him!

  • Debra Jones June 5, 2013 (7:23 pm)

    CJ – I don’t think that’s a very nice thing to say. He worked very hard to make sure your child or children were safe and getting a good education. The fact that all of the kids love him says alot. I believe he deserves our respect. Being a principal is a very hard job. I’d like to see you try and do it. We were lucky to have him for as long as we did.

  • phil dirt June 6, 2013 (8:05 am)

    Hopefully, the new principal can bring some student discipline to Madison. I substitute taught there a few times. The only school that was, in my experience, worse was South Shore Middle School.

  • DaN June 6, 2013 (9:50 pm)

    Debra – that was just a mean spirited, nasty thing to say.

  • WSB June 6, 2013 (9:52 pm)

    Sorry, didn’t catch the comment to which DaN refers – that was a rulebreaker and it’s now gone. No name-calling allowed here. – TR

  • DaN June 7, 2013 (10:41 pm)

    Thanks Tracy……

  • Ms Good June 8, 2013 (3:01 pm)

    Layfette has been thru 4 principals, Madison & now Sealth. What is the one thing thing that they have in common? Parents. Helicopter parenting is ruining our children and driving away good educators.

  • Zelma June 9, 2013 (9:08 am)

    Best wishes and best of luck in your new adventures, Principal C! After working with you on the PTSA this year, I know your focus was always with helping all the students at Madison. We’ll miss you in front of the school in the mornings, in the hallways at lunch, and after school helping with the buses. You leave big shoes to fill!

  • Carla Rogers June 9, 2013 (10:53 pm)

    It has been my pleasure working with you on the PTSA board. I have also found you to be a reasonable, caring, sensitive principal. I was super bummed to hear that you will not be at Madison for my youngest coming up next fall. We have been very happy at Madison and you were a very big part of that great experience. You will be missed Mr. Carlisle! Best wishes to you in your next position.

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