Iris Witherspoon, far left.
Does not report incidents, goes after teachers, ignores issues even when repeatedly bright to her attention, incoherent in meetings, constantly changing instructional focus, students run the school bc principal has no established ladder of discipline
She bullies teachers and administrators consistently. She treats people like slaves. She is a pathological liar and cannot be trusted. She creates a hostile and and toxic work environment. Shevis vindictive and manipulative. She will make up a story that is not true to prove her point regardless of the outcome to the staff members. She doesn’t pay people consistently for their work even when she says they will get paid. She targets women of color and new teachers. She is incompetent, unequipped to lead a school. Six people have left this year due her mismanagement of the school and staff. In total about 35 people have left since her arrival in 2015.
Inconsistent in who she disciplines and why she disciplines. Does not correctly implement or follow mandated protocols. Unfairly targets teachers. Unfair and biased observation practices. Incoherent and borderline belligerent during meetings. Rejoices when successful in “getting rid of teachers.” Makes for an extremely toxic work environment.
Just take a look at the rapidly dwindling enrollment numbers and the high staff turnover and it quickly becomes evident that the community is casting its vote that Iris Witherspoon is not a competent leader.
The number of teachers and staff leaving this year continues to grow. It is not at least nine, 25% of total staff.
Fails to discipline students even for the most egregious behavior and actions. As a result the students have overrun the school and teachers.
Liar, borderline racist, and SOOOOOOO performative. You could give genuine recommendations to help the school and she’ll praise you for the idea and never do anything about it. Somehow you can’t ever find this lady in the school cuz she’s always “busy” in meetings but after seeing how she converses, it’s always just her talking out her ass for 40+ mins and not progressing with anything. You got a problem and need to call or email her? Too fucking bad cuz she never replies!! She’s slowly turning this ART school into an AP school and ruining the student morale for the place. No matter how many times a student could be a problem she’ll never genuinely do anything about it. I have friends (students!!!!) who have literally ran the school for years better than she has. I’ve seen and experienced her manipulation and gaslighting and even guilt tripping for something I couldn’t control as a student. I’ve witnessed her target good teachers and pressure them into leaving and leaves some ancient artifact as an earth science / living environment teacher even when multiple students complained about that teacher’s lack of skills. If you’re a talented student she’ll exhaust you if your resources and force you to do stuff “for the school” when in reality she just can’t run shit at all. I’ve personally been manipulated by this lady and have witnessed her gaslight a friend into a mental breakdown. I’ve spoken to many teachers in the school and they all complain about the same things I’ve said and then some. This includes terrible time management, low pay, LATE pay, never reliable, and she genuinely radiates toxic positivity. She’ll lure you into liking her when you first meet her but if you pay attention to her true intentions she’s pure evil. This is all just from the top of my head, I could go on forever about her and this isn’t just MY experience, but the experience of many students and staff that I’ve spoken to. Oh and she also let 3 teachers (that I know of) continue to be staff for WAYYY too long even though they’re pedophiles. One is still working there now!
If you want to feel ostracized and uncomfortable with your boss while all your co-workers feel the exact way you should work for iris witherspoon because that’s her specialty. If you want to get paid for talking to a wall, Iris has the same effect!
Iris Witherspoon is the coldest, detached, most uncaring Principal I have ever worked for. She was insulting and demeaning. She wants you to pour your blood, sweat and tears and have zero work life balance. She doesn’t respect teacher’s boundaries and shows no compassion about a teacher losing a parent or having a sick family member. While she witnessed the impact I had on the children and relationships I was able to foster with my students, she humiliated me in my end of year meeting and told me that my classroom was “not an inviting space.” Meanwhile this is the same classroom where students of all grade levels happily visited, spent time in clubs (where I spent my own money and time), a safe space for mediation and where I tutored students for FREE. She also stated that I would be teaching all 4 grade levels and had her Assistant Principal have me email my lesson plans to her by Sunday night so that they could be scrutinized. I forgive the Assistant Principal because I feel like she was new and was trying show Iris that she could live up to her expectations. I left teaching in the city because under her leadership I felt targeted, humiliated and undervalued. I now teach in a school where my Principal and Assistant Principal are compassionate, considerate and professional. Shockingly my observations are now Effective & Highly Effective. If it wasn’t for being gaslighted and targeted (as untenured teacher), I would have stayed at BHSVA but leaving was the best decision I ever made! Iris’ response to my resignation was “please send a professional email stating your last day and intention of not returning for the school year.” Yet still I heard she stated that I abandoned the students. I would never, but I am glad I left a toxic environment. No regrets! Glad to see my experiences weren’t isolated.