Headmaster at Madison Park school on leave

Madison Park Technical Vocational High School in Roxbury.
Madison Park Technical Vocational High School in Roxbury. Keith Bedford/Globe Staff

Shawn Shackelford, the headmaster of Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, went on leave Thursday, according to the school department.

The school department did not offer a reason for his paid leave from the Roxbury school.

“Kevin McCaskill, executive director of Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, informed his staff and students’ families this afternoon that headmaster Shawn Shackelford is on leave as of today and that he will be assuming Mr. Shackelford’s responsibilities, in addition to his own duties, during the interim,” according to a brief statement from the school department.

The leave comes almost a week after a video of a fight in the hallways of Madison Park went viral on social media sites, causing the students who were involved to receive disciplinary action, counseling, and “behavioral interventions.”


This is Shackelford’s second year as headmaster of the long troubled school, and he has been working on a waiver from state licensure rules because he lacks enough experience to run a vocational school.

This summer, Shackelford, who makes about $147,000, had to reimburse the school system $3,000 after a Globe review found he had misused eight sick days, which he took to extend holiday breaks or weekends. Shackelford and the school system said the days were miscoded.

However, the incident represented the second time during the last school year that the school system had to revise Shackelford’s payroll records.

The first revisions occurred after the school system received an anonymous letter accusing Shackelford of marking himself present on days he took off. Some of those days were later converted into sick days that popped up in the Globe review.

Shackelford joins a growing list of potentially problematic headmasters at Madison Park. In September 2014, Diane Ross Gary resigned as headmaster after the school department learned she had not gained certification. The revelation followed a scheduling snafu that left many students and teachers without class assignments when the school year began.


And in February 2013, the school system placed Queon Jackson, who was serving as acting headmaster, on leave amid a federal investigation of his alleged role in a credit fraud scam. That leave dragged on for more than three years and the school system finally brought him back last May, giving him a job in the central office.

James Vaznis can be reached at james.vaznis@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globevaznis.