Directors of the International School of Louisiana heard encomiums to departing chief executive officer and head of school Sean Wilson and also harsh criticism from a school accountant who was fired.
Wilson, who is leaving to head International High School, said he hopes to create “a conveyor belt of opportunity” for ISL’s graduating eighth-graders.
Board president Matt Amoss spoke at length about Wilson’s contributions to the school since he was hired as director of business operations in 2002. He was named head of school in May 2007.
ISL was then much different from today’s A-rated school, with more than 200 employees across three campuses, Amoss said.
“This is a school that Sean built,” Amoss said. “He and his team put this together.”
In a public comment, former senior accountant Anne Marie Hesson offered starkly different sentiments about the school’s administration.
Summarizing the grievance she submitted to Amoss on Tuesday, Hesson described a confrontational work environment and inconsistent financial management.
“I understand that ISL is an academically excellent school; however, my experiences as an employee on the administrative staff was anything but excellent,” she said.
She and others were excluded from “a privileged inner circle,” and she was instructed not to interact with board members, Hesson said.
“Both directors and I found discrepancies in the budgets, financials and other issues such as payroll errors and unsupported expenditures, but were unable to get constructive information and assistance from other directors or the CEO,” Hesson said. “We reported our findings to auditors, but they were not included in the audit reports.”
Hesson was fired March 17. Former finance department employees Williams Toujouse and Bruce Frommeyer have also left in the past few months. The school continues to employ a financial consultant while it searches for a new director of finance.
Following the meeting, Wilson said there is no truth to the criticisms and that any irregularities were a matter of “not following protocol.”
Hesson will be able to address the board’s grievance committee when it is next convened, Amoss said.
Wilson’s departure obviates further negotiations on renewing his contract, which expires June 30.
The board has voted to form a search committee to hire a new full-time head of school, though it may hire an interim leader in the meantime. The meetings will be open to the public and begin next Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at 1400 Camp St.
The next board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 28, at 1400 Camp St.