Patrick Pope: Person of the Year

Photo by The Georgetown Dish
D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans speaks with FOX5's Karen Gray Houston about Patrick Pope
D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans speaks with FOX5's Karen Gray Houston about Patrick Pope

Former Hardy Middle School principal Patrick Pope last week was named "Person of the Year" by Washington Examiner columnist Jonetta Rose Barras.

"He was booted [by former chancellor Michelle Rhee] out of Hardy Middle School, which he had built into a high-performing institution. Then, he was forced to sit for months in a central-office cubicle before being shipped to what some described as Siberia: a struggling school east of the Anacostia River that had ripped through several administrative leaders," Barras wrote.

Patrick Pope was expected to quit. Instead, he has turned the tiny elementary from a troubled under-achiever to an award-winning success that was recently given a $500,000 federal grant to develop an arts program like the one Pope built at Hardy.

D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans tried to fix the DCPS blunder that amounts to a huge loss for Hardy and Georgetown. He bravely introduced legislation to reinstate Pope, but current schools chancellor Kaya Henderson adamantly refused. Barras' poignant column is the latest evidence that Evans did the right thing. As more Georgetown children graduate from respected Hyde-Addison and look for middle school options, perhaps Georgetown parents will follow the lead of longtime community leaders like ANCs Bill Starrels and Ed Solomon and push harder for Pope's return...

Read more at the Washington Examiner.

0 Comments For This Article


After Georgetown parents from Hyde-Addison and Key literally chased Patrick Pope out of Hardy, and the cries for his return were ignored by even our newly elected Mayor who "promised" to return Pope to Hardy - and yes, even the efforts of Jack Evans, I'm not sure that Pope would return to Hardy if offered the opportunity and who could blame him?

Pope was subjected to one media report after the other that sought to discredit him, destroy his integrity, and paint a picture of someone who would not and could not work with parents. Yet through all this, Pope remained true to his character and wherever Rhee or Henderson placed him, he carried out his responsibilities even when DCPS thought we would "buy" the idea of Pope heading up a new Arts Magnet school. How's that going by the way? Oh yes, no budget for it, no space for it.. (which even Mayor Gray new when it was initially proposed...)

Now, he is brought much relief and encouragement to a school that was all but forgotten. I am not surprised by his success - Patrick Pope is a leader and he has the kind of skill set that our system needs. Too late for our kids at Hardy but seemingly right on time for kids East of the River..... Pope has brought Savoy real hope and you can bet - and rightfully so, there will be an outcry on the part of Savoy parents if DCPS tries to move him again.

a reader

Right on!


For Mr. Pope this called "making lemonade out of lemons." This is wonderful for Mr. Pope and the children at Savoy.

Current Hardy Parent

Shame on you for the tone of this article, and the implication that Jack Evans did the right thing by prolonging the uncertainty and confusion at Hardy.

It may or may not have been the right thing to do to fire Pope - I won't comment on the initial decision. But the school needs to move on, and it has with the new Principal, Dr. Stefanus. She took over this summer, and has been doing a great job, taking charge and stabilizing the situation at Hardy, and providing excellent leadership. The 2011-2012 school year is shaping up to be an excellent one at Hardy, because Kaya Henderson recognized the need to move forward.

I can't comment on Mr. Pope or his time at Hardy. But I can say that Hardy is lucky to have Dr. Stefanus as our principal now.

As more Georgetown children graduate from respected Hyde-Addison and look for middle school options, they can and should look to Dr. Stefanus and her team Hardy.


Unfortunately, Councilmember Evans'legislation was too little too late. The appropriate time to do something about Rhee's decision to remove Pope would have been immediately after Rhee made the announcement. By the time Evans decided to get involved, the damage had already been done.

It's time to move on and give Dr. Stefanus a chance. Let's hope that Evans is prepared to act sooner if there is another situation with our local schools that requires immediate action.


Kudos to Mr. Pope. Hardy however is still devastated. The way this was handled just made a mockery of our school system. Rhee had absolutely no standing in the District of Columbia she had no long term desire to remain here. I say move on too, but Hardy sure could use that 500,000. Where are the parents that ousted Pope, are they providing funding, are they providing grants and what are they doing to put Hardy on track, what are they doing to help Dr. Stefanus financcially? Hopefully the school will get back on par within 1 or 2 years, not 5 or 10. Fortunately the last of the Popettes will be graduating this year, after going through a very damaging restructuring period.