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RI EDUCATION

A former Providence public school principal was caught working in a Washington, D.C., school at the same time

Michael Redmond was hired in Rhode Island in July 2020, but kept his old job at a Washington, D.C., school, working virtually as the assistant principal there while working full-time, in-person, in Providence

The Providence School Department headquarters.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

PROVIDENCE — A former Providence school principal was caught working in two different schools at once, clocking in to his job in Providence in person before logging in virtually to a Washington, D.C., school.

Michael Redmond, who was hired as E-Cubed Academy’s new principal in July 2020, admitted he continued to work virtually as the assistant principal at the Stephen E. Kramer Middle School in Washington, D.C., for 17 weeks after he started working full time for Providence Public Schools.

According to a violation notice issued by the District of Columbia’s Board of Ethics and Government Accountability last month, Redmond admitted to working on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. until 3:15 p.m. at Providence Public Schools while also working weekdays from 8:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. for D.C. Public Schools.

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Redmond, who resigned from D.C. Public Schools on Nov. 30, 2020, earned approximately $41,000 in District government wages during those 17 weeks — an annual salary of $125,434 — on top of the $120,720 annual salary he was drawing as the principal of E-Cubed Academy.

“DCPS was alerted to this concern in the fall of 2020. Consistent with our protocols, we immediately began an investigation and reported the allegation to D.C.’s Board of Ethics and Government Accountability for investigation,” said Enrique Gutierrez, a spokesman for the D.C. public schools district.

According to the notice, Redmond violated four counts of the District of Columbia’s Code of Conduct, including “receiving compensation for [outside] teaching activities during regular working hours, without using annual leave, compensatory leave, exempt time off, or leave without pay.”

When Redmond was hired in Providence in July 2020, Providence Schools introduced him as E-Cubed Academy’s new principal, saying on Facebook that he “came to Providence from Washington D.C. where he served as a school leader and turnaround specialist.” He was lauded for having increasing in-person attendance, reducing suspensions and truancy, and helping Kramer Middle School outperform its district in sixth grade math.

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Redmond did not respond to questions from the Globe, but told The Washington Post on Tuesday that he had “highly effective ratings” at Kramer and was “receiving excellent marks” in Providence. He resigned from E-Cubed Academy on April 5, according to Victor Morente, a spokesman for the Rhode Island education department, but it’s unclear if his resignation was linked to this matter.

“We found out about the ethics complaint today,” Morente told the Globe Monday night. He later clarified and said the district was alerted about the situation of Redmond working at both schools in November 2020.

It’s unclear if Providence schools will file an ethics violation against Redmond. Morente said the hire was done “under the discretion of the Superintendent [Harrison Peters] last year.”

In July, E-Cubed Academy noted on Twitter that it would be hosting a meet-and-greet for the school’s new principal, Dr. Matthew Juda.

Redmond will have to appear at a hearing in Washington, D.C. (the date has not yet been determined), after which the board in D.C. will be expected to make a decision on any actions they plan to take.

This debacle is the latest in personnel issues that Providence schools have faced in the last few years.

In May, Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green asked former Providence Superintendent Harrison Peters to resign as he was facing severe criticism for hiring Olayinka Alege, a Providence school administrator who was charged with assault for allegedly forcibly massaging a teenage boy’s foot at a Warwick gym in April.

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In 2019, researchers from Johns Hopkins University released a scathing report that outlined a series of recurring, disturbing issues that plagued the Providence school district, including arranged fights between female students that were promoted on social media, rodent traps that were stuck to students’ shoes, and collapsing ceilings in classrooms.

The report also said that only 14 percent of students in grades three through eight were considered proficient in English language arts on the 2018 Rhode Island Comprehensive Assessment System, or RICAS, exam, and just 10 percent were doing math at grade-level.

The report led Infante-Green to recommend that the state take control of the school system, taking oversight away from the mayor, City Council, and school board.

Carlos Muñoz of the Globe staff contributed to this report.


Alexa Gagosz can be reached at alexa.gagosz@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @alexagagosz and on Instagram @AlexaGagosz.