‘Fame’ school principal forced out for being too focused on academics

A principal at one of the city’s top high schools has been forced out — for being too focused on academics, The Post has learned.

Lisa Mars, who ran La Guardia High School, an elite performing arts-based school that requires students audition to get in, has been forced out amid parent and student gripes about her focus on education to the detriment of song and dance, sources said.

She officially left famed La Guardia Monday — hours before graduation ceremonies — and will now work under the Department of Education’s Chief Academic Officer, sources said.

La Guardia, which inspired the hit 1980 movie and theme song “Fame” — and an offshoot TV series that ran for six seasons on NBC — counts Robert De Niro, Liza Minnelli and Jennifer Aniston as graduates.

Citing personal reasons, Mars told parents in an email that she would not be attending graduation. Several students told The Post that they had planned to protest Mars by turning their backs to her if she had shown up.

“I think everyone felt a lot more comfortable because there was a lot of drama leading up to graduation because people were saying, ‘I’m gonna turn my back, I’m gonna walk out,’ I’m gonna do this or that because she isn’t really someone that we felt wanted to be a part of the celebration,” one student said.

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While they knew Mars would not be attending graduation, parents and students were not yet aware that she had been permanently reassigned.

Opposition to her reign crested last month when hundreds of students staged a protest at the school and demanded her removal.

Among other complaints, they cited shrinking rehearsal times and admissions criteria that have slowly pivoted away from artistic merit and toward academic metrics.

“We are forced into Advanced Placement courses we don’t want to take so that the school can boast high [college] enrollment statistics,” the protesters griped in a letter to the administration.

Mars also angered students last year when she tried to block the use of Nazi props from the school’s December performance of “The Sound of Music” on grounds that it was inappropriate to use symbols of the Third Reich.

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