Charter school board’s membership drops below state-required minimum

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Just as the embattled Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans community may have thought things were settling down, two board members unexpectedly resigned this weekend — dropping the board below the number of members required by state law.

Newly elected board chairman Tim Gray confirmed the resignation of members Elizabeth Rhodes and Tessa Jackson. He said they each resigned Saturday, the same day the school’s new chief executive officer Keith Bartlett signed his contract.

The resignations also came the same weekend three board members  already were slated to roll-off voluntarily. This was part of a massive overhaul of both Lycée’s board and administration recommended by the school’s management consultant, Jeremy Hunnewell.

Both Rhodes and Jackson were added this spring as the board bolstered its numbers in preparation for the June 30 roll-off of five members. Two of those five resigned prior to June 30.

Members Jean Montes, Paige Saleun and Jacqueline Simon remained on the board and were set to roll-off this weekend — and they did, according to Gray.

What parents probably did not expect were the two additional resignations. Without Rhodes and Jackson the board has only six members now, one shy of the state’s requirement.

A voting member for just two days, Tessa Jackson was approved by the board in May but couldn’t vote until member Catherine MacPhaille resigned her seat during Thursday’s board meeting, freeing a seat for Jackson.

Elizabeth Rhodes was brought on in April and recently served on the committee that selected Bartlett as the school’s CEO.

When asked what prompted the resignations, Gray deferred to the individuals. Neither Jackson nor Rhodes immediately returned phone calls Wednesday.

With an upcoming board meeting next week, Gray said the board plans to regroup and begin searching for new members.

“The plan is to bring the nominating committee in on Monday,” Gray said.

Gray said he would ask the head of the committee, Jeff Teague, to evaluate the status of committee members and provide an update to the board. MacPhaille was the only board member who previously served on the committee.

Even with Rhodes and Jackson, the board would have  been only one member above the state requirement he said. Gray said that fact alone would have led him to call on the nominating committee soon regardless of the resignations.

The board is scheduled to meet Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Patton Street campus.

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