Jamel Adkins-Sharif

Jamel Adkins-Sharif said he is resigning as head of school at the Vassal Lane Upper School.

The first head of school at Vassal Lane Upper School is resigning, according to a letter sent to families Tuesday.

Jamel Adkins-Sharif was appointed to lead the school in March 2012, upon the creation of it and three other upper schools out of what had been a K-8 district. He had previously been assistant principal at the city’s Tobin and Tobin Montessori School.

“I will be resigning at the end of this school year to pursue other professional opportunities,” Adkins-Sharif said in his letter. “Administration will begin the search for a new leader of the VLUS campus this week, and I will assist in this effort in whatever ways might be helpful in [ensuring] a smooth transition.”

The search will include chances for school staff and parent engagement, he assured, “and you will be hearing more about this over the next few days.”

Superintendent Jeffrey Young appointed Adkins-Sharif and the other upper school principals with two-year contracts, and last year they won renewals. But Adkins-Sharif’s time at Vassal Lane included parent unrest, including complaints that three school years have begun without formal class schedules – which he called “completely untrue.” The first year relied on schedules issued by the district, and the next two years had schedules that needed to be adjusted several times because of the complications from his school’s three academic programs, he said, referring to general education, Sheltered English Immersion and self-contained special education.

Adkins-Sharif said in his letter:

“It has been my pleasure to lead the Vassal Lane Upper School from its inception in 2012 through our current status as an established and thriving school community. I am proud of our VLUS students, and all that our staff and parent community have worked together to accomplish … During the forthcoming weeks I anticipate and look forward to the opportunity to speak and engage with many of you as the school year draws to a close with celebrations, graduation, and other end of year activities, always with an eye towards academic excellence in building the VLUS educational community.”

He is a graduate of Endicott College, the Rutgers University School of Law in Newark, N.J., City University of New York at Hunter College and the University of Massachusetts at Boston, where he earned a doctorate in Leadership in Urban Schools in 2009, according to his LinkedIn account. He later clarified that he does not yet have a doctorate, but is in the school’s Ed.D
program.

“I teach because it is in my blood; to educate and in the process become educated myself, and through this process empower and inspire others,” he told the Black.Man.Teach blog. “I know the potential and what’s possible when you light a fire in the soul of a young person.”

Jean Cummings contributed to this report. It was updated June 4, 2015, with notes from Jamel Adkins-Sharif.