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Principal replaced at KIPP New Orleans Leadership Academy

KIPP New Orleans Leadership Academy Principal Jared Lamb no longer serves in that job, according to the charter organization’s executive director, Rhonda Kalifey-Aluise.

On Nov. 11, Kalifey-Aluise sent a letter to parents of the fifth-through-eighth grade middle school alerting them to a change in leadership.

“Over the past several weeks we have worked to restructure the leadership team in order to make continuous improvements in the programs we offer to our students,” Kalifey-Aluise wrote. “To that end, beginning today, Mr. Lamb will no longer serve as the principal of the school and has decided that he will no longer work at KIPP New Orleans Leadership Academy.”

On Monday, the organization’s director of advocacy, Jonathan Bertsch, added that the reason for Lamb’s replacement generally related to “philosophical differences over the direction of the school.”

“Our executive director felt that the school needed a change in leadership,” Bertsch wrote The Lens in an email.  “We offered Mr. Lamb the opportunity to serve as an instructional coach, but he declined our offer and resigned from the school.”

Bertsch added that he “didn’t recall” the discussion coming up at any board meetings. Rather, the decision was under the purview of the organization’s executive director, he said.

“We are incredibly grateful for the time and energy that Mr. Lamb has dedicated to the school,” the executive director’s letter added.

Lamb was replaced with Vice Principal Jonny Bartlett, who is now serving as the school’s interim principal, according to Kalifey-Aluise’s letter. Bartlett has been a teacher and administrator with KIPP for the past eight years.

The school held an open house on Wednesday so  parents could have a chance to speak to the new principal.

The change in leadership comes on the heels of the resignation of Chief Information Officer Brenna Benson, who left Nov. 1 to pursue a job with a consulting firm.

Neither Lamb nor Benson could  be reached for comment.

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About Della Hasselle

Della Hasselle, a freelance journalist and producer, reports environmental and criminal justice stories for The Lens. A graduate of Benjamin Franklin High School and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, Hasselle lived in New York for 10 years. While up north, she produced and anchored news segments, wrote feature stories and reported breaking news for, a hyperlocal news site. Before that, she worked at the New York Daily News. She obtained her master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She can be reached at (917) 304-6121.

  • nickelndime

    Who needs a nonprofit charter board at KIPP when the charter organization’s executive director, Rhonda Kalifey-Aluise, can do anything she damn well pleases unilaterally and fire at-will people “at will.” AT WILL is a big one in the charter school movement. All the boards have been duly educated by their high-priced legal teams what it means and how people can be dropped at the drop of a hat. But one day, after Rhonda has made a lot of money, she will be dropped kicked too. It’s almost funny – not really though. “Our executive director felt that the school needed a change in leadership,” Bertsch wrote…” BTW, Rhonda’s salary is what !?? OMG.

  • SPEDteacher

    i agree with nickelndime. Look at ARISE schools- how much is Andrew Shahan, CEO making? And what about Cari Killian, “chief academic officer?” There is a culture of fear working in the charter schools, because we feel that if we speak out at all in a way that displeases leadership, we will be cut loose due to the “at will” employment contract. This forces us into unethical service delivery models. The charter schools are horrendous labour abusers- not only are they taking advantage of the children and families who don’t know enough to keep their kids out of these schools– the staff are in constant fear for their job and are forced to work very long hours. The charters and the people who run them are corrupt and this “reform” movement needs to change. This is all about profit, plain and simple.

  • Gus

    Is there an email address where I can contact you directly? I’d like to discuss the issue of teachers being afraid to speak out in charter schools for fear of being fired. I agree with you 100% in that regard, and would like to discuss ways that that issue can be addressed.

  • Bill Macbeth

    KIPP New Orleans is in a huge mess and, yet, the hand-picked KIPP board continues to put no pressure on Rhonda Kalifey-Aluise. How many people can they go through before people ask questions? Lamb and Benson. Mike Dunn, their CFO, last year. Fired the principal at their high school and brought in two people from Chicago. Neither of them are back this year, though I read an article talking about all the improvements last year (what’s up with that?). Who has been in charge of that place this year? Director of HR also resigned this year. They brought in someone to try to help save Mc15 middle- how’s that working? So, just spend $120,000 on trips to Vegas – that will make it all better. Isn’t it time to bring in a grown up to run a major charter operator?