Akili Academy’s principal steps down from her job

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Akili Academy’s principal has stepped down from her position, and the CEO of the charter organization that runs the school has taken her place.

Crescent City Schools Chief Executive Officer Kate Mehok assumed the role of interim principal of Akili Academy on Monday, and former principal Julie MacFetters is now Akili’s third and fourth grade director of curriculum and instruction, Mehok said.

Julie MacFetters

Julie MacFetters

Mehok will continue to serve as the organization’s CEO, and will remain Akili’s interim principal until the group hires a permanent one. Crescent City likely will release a job description within the next week, and will look to have a new principal in place by the 2014-2015 school year.

The change was part of Akili’s fulfillment of its mission, Mehok said – ensuring that Akili’s students meet their academic goals. Adding MacFetters to the school’s instructional team will do that, since classroom instruction is one of MacFetters’s strengths, she said.

“I’m feeling really good about Julie [MacFetters] being able to spend more time in the classroom,” Mehok said.

The school’s announcement of the switch comes just two weeks after Crescent City’s Nov. 20 board meeting, in which the board went into executive session to discuss the character or competence of one of its employees. Mehok confirmed Tuesday that the employee discussed was MacFetters.

Kate Mehok

Kate Mehok

The move also comes less than two months after the release of the school’s performance score. Akili received a “C” grade this year under the state’s new grading system. But had it been judged under the old grading system, it would have gotten a “D” and an 85.5 score, more than 10 points lower than its 96.2 “C” score in 2012.

The state released what schools would have scored under the old system and the new system when October’s scores came out, to better show comparison.

This was MacFetters’ third year heading the school. Before becoming principal, she was the school’s director of student support and a founding first grade teacher. Before arriving at Akili she worked at KIPP McDonogh 15 and with Teach For America.

Since November, Crescent City is the fourth organization to announce school leadership changes. Sylvanie Williams College Prep Principal Heidi Campbell will move into another role with four-school charter group New Orleans College Prep at the end of this school year, former KIPP New Orleans Leadership Academy Principal Jared Lamb was replaced by Jonny Bartlett on Nov. 11, and Homer A Plessy Community School Principal Sara Leikin resigned under pressure from the school’s board Nov. 5.

Also, the International High School of New Orleans was searching for a replacement for Head of School Anthony Amato, who was not going to return to that job next year, at the time of his death on Monday. The school’s board renewed Amato’s contract for only one year when it expired in July.

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