Wrongfully terminated principal returns to Poughkeepsie High School

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Dr. Phee Simpson on her first day in the office since 2019.

POUGHKEEPSIE – Dr. Phee Simpson returned to the principal’s office at Poughkeepsie High School on Friday, July 1, after being reinstated by the board of education earlier in the morning.  Simpson had been terminated by the district in 2019 after being accused of changing the grades of students to inflate the school’s graduation rate.  She challenged the termination and the court agreed with her.

The original hearing determined that the board had not presented sufficient evidence to sustain the charges but Simpson was still fired.  The court’s June 2022 decision ordered the district to reinstate her.

“It feels wonderful to be vindicated and to be back,” Simpson told Mid-Hudson News after the board’s vote on Friday morning.  Settling into her office, the principal immediately went to work.  “My first order of business is to make sure that the master schedules are completed and all students have a full schedule.”

On her relationship with the board of education and Poughkeepsie City School District Superintendent Dr. Eric Rosser, Simpson is willing to work with them.  “I foresee a working relationship – a very good one.  They (the board of education) welcomed me back this morning and I am happy to be back.  I just want to move past the past and move forward to make sure we are working for the success of all of our children.”

Dr. Simpson is optimistic about the security upgrades the district is making in the high school.  “After the master schedules, I am going to take a hard look at how people are situated in the building for security measures to make sure that our students are being protected at all times and they are safe in this building.”