Principal of George W. Carver Elementary ousted after SOL issue

RICHMOND, Va. –A leadership change is underway at George W. Carver Elementary School in Richmond.

The PTA President said that Principal Dr. Kiwana Yates is being removed as principal. On Thursday morning, Richmond Public Schools (RPS) spokeswoman Kenita Bowers confirmed with CBS 6 that there has been a change in leadership but declined to say more, citing personnel matters.

Students at Carver Elementary School recently had to retake Standard of Learning exams because of what was called "testing irregularities.”

In a letter to parents, Richmond School Superintendent Jason Kamras it was determined testing procedures were apparently not followed.

At the time, Charles Pyle, a spokesperson for the Virginia State Department of Education (VDOE),  said they were investigating reported irregularities in the administration, but did not go in to details about the concerns.

Dr. Yates became principal in 2012, but began working for RPS in 2008. Under her leadership in 2016, the school was named a National Blue Ribbon School, a distinction conferred upon only seven schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia – and the only one in the Richmond region.

The Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors K-12 schools that are either academically superior or demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement.

For example, the schools SOL test scores shot up from a 76 in reading and 70 in math during the 2012/2013 school year to scores in the high 90s, two years later.

A post on the school’s PTA Facebook page extended a thank you to Dr. Yates, for “her leadership, hard work, tenacity and understanding for their children.” The PTA also expressed that parents want to know why the decision was made.

Carver parent Michael Branch said Dr. Yates is beloved and expressed shock when we told him she is no longer in charge.

"She was good, I thought she was good,"  Branch said.

CBS 6 reached out to Dr. Yates directly and her lawyer Paul Falabella responded.

He said Yates has no comment at this time.