A third school leader has left the soon-to-close Lagniappe Academies, a member of the governing board confirmed today.
Acting Principal Ali McCormick will not return from the leave she took this week after the staff delivered a petition calling for her resignation, said Dan Henderson, vice chairman of the school’s board of directors. She’s the third top administrator to leave since the state refused to renew the kindergarten-through-fourth-grade school’s charter amid serious concerns about whether the school was appropriately serving special-education students.
“We’re working now to…talk to her in detail and our understanding is that she’s going to resign quickly,” Henderson said.
Parents and teachers attended a tumultuous meeting Wednesday night called specifically to evaluate McCormick. She assumed leadership of the school when CEO Kendall Petri and Chief Operating Officer Ninh Tran resigned mid-March.
In March, the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted not to renew the school’s charter, effectively closing the school at the end of the school year.
On Monday, teachers hand-delivered a petition to McCormick calling for her resignation.
The petition, signed by 21 Lagniappe employees, says staff members have lost faith in McCormick’s ability to lead the school honorably. McCormick was named several times in a 167-page state-issued report, often alongside Petri, that detailed numerous claims of special-education violations and other wrongdoing.
Despite a short agenda, the meeting lasted more than three hours, parent-advocate Karran Harper Royal said.
“This is the perfect example of why the state department of education should have a plan where they step in with a school leadership team,” Harper Royal said.
Earlier this week, Henderson said he sent McCormick home for a “couple days” to maintain stability at the school.
Teacher Thomas Mickley-Doyle, who co-authored the document, said all but one full-time employee signed on to the request.
Henderson said the board has hired Joe Daschbach, a former Lagniappe employee and education consultant, to help the school develop a closure plan.
Harper Royal wondered whether any school had lost its top three leaders before.
“The state should have a better plan for dealing with failed charter organizations,” she said.
Harper Royal said people were crying during the meeting.
“We need a better plan in place to deal with charter school failure, period.”