Former Councilwoman Refusing To Leave Job Leading Charter School

Play episode
Daily Detroit News

Former Detroit City Councilwoman Sharon McPhail has been fired from her post leading a struggling charter school on the city’s west side, but she’s refusing to leave.

In response, school authorizer Bay Mills Community College says it’ll seek a court order for her removal and is appointing a conservator to oversee the school. It’s also temporarily suspended the school board.

McPhail was — and apparently still is, unofficially — serving as chief administrator of Detroit Community Schools, a K-though-12 charter school that serves about 650 students in Brightmoor on the city’s far west side. Trouble is, the Michigan Department of Education says she lacks the proper certification to serve as a school administrator. The agency has fined the school more than $200,000.

The school is struggling academically as well. On the standardized MSTEP exam, just 7 percent of elementary and middle-school students were considered proficient in all subjects and 22 percent of high-school-aged students. That’s compared to a statewide average of 40 percent for both groups.

McPhail told WDIV that Bay Mills lacks the authority to fire her and is planning to seek a legal remedy.

It’s the latest twist in the colorful career of McPhail, a one-time federal prosecutor and mayoral candidate. She also served as general counsel for disgraced former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick despite previously accusing him of tampering with the electric back-massager on her chair… in an alleged attempt to electrocute her.

More from this show