SciTech Academy’s two leaders quit amid questions over testing process

The top two school leaders at ReNEW SciTech Academy charter school abruptly resigned last week amid questions about internal testing procedures at the Irish Channel elementary school, a network leader confirmed Monday.

Head of School Tim Hearin and Principal Alex Perez resigned May 27 and 28, respectively, just days after the end of the school year, said ReNEW charter network Chief of Staff Colleen Mackay.

“These tests were unrelated to grant funding or the state’s accountability system,” she wrote in an email responding to questions from The Lens.

Attempts to reach Hearin and Perez were unsuccessful.

Mackay said the five-school network will hire a new school leader for SciTech internally for the upcoming school year. Disha Jain, who has worked as a school administrator at ReNEW previously, is currently listed as the school’s leader.

Hearin and Perez ran the 750-student elementary school located on Jackson Avenue.

Both were budgeted to earn $77,000 this school year according to data from the Louisiana Department of Education. SciTech received a C letter grade from the state for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years.

The network’s website deleted this announcement regarding Hearin’s selection as a Louisiana Principal of the Year semi-finalist. The state Department of Education has removed his name from their list of nominees.

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About Marta Jewson

Marta Jewson covers education in New Orleans for The Lens. She began her reporting career covering charter schools for The Lens and helped found the hyperlocal news site Mid-City Messenger. Jewson returned to New Orleans in the fall of 2014 after covering education for the St. Cloud Times in Minnesota. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with majors in journalism and social welfare and a concentration in educational policy studies.

  • nickelndime

    Excellent work, Marta Jewson. I guess those two won’t be eating the delicious food at The Smokehouse on Jackson Avenue anymore. RSD Charter schools use these tests for the PR propaganda and national recognition to dupe the public AND qualify for cash prizes for uncertified teachers, like the chick who was recently recognized with some prestigious national award and received $25,000. Check it out – can’t remember the charter network off the top of my head. BTW, is Gary Robichaux, ReNEW CEO, still messing around with Teachers Retirement. He has given the network a couple of black eyes, but he is still there and those two are gone. One more thing, and this was beautiful on your part. You, Marta Jewson, posted the link for the “deleted” announcement! 06/01/2015 6:49 PM

  • nickelndime

    These two boys (Hearin and Perez) are a real “piece of work.” ReNEW CEO Gary Robichaux should answer for this. Recently, one early afternoon while dining at “The Smokehouse” on Jackson Avenue, WE watched one of yo’ boys carry on a conversation with a postal worker that ran at least fifteen minutes. It appeared that neither of them had anywhere else to be. Most of us know that the US postal service system is in “trouble.” What needs to be made known (before the next ten years) is that this city is in a state of peril at the hands of the “State” (that includes the New Orleans delegation and the senators). Jindal is a lame duck – his goose is cooked – done deal. The other ones are still around. 06/01/2015 11:45 PM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    What exactly are the professional qualifications of the school leaders at ReNEW – all five campuses? Fast-tracked and urban? Oh $hit $on! My dawg could be a RSD school leader. SUBLIMINAL MESSAGE: “YOU DO NOT NEED CREDENTIALS TO DO BIZNESS IN LOUISIANA.” Helena Moreno – you (expletive deleted), please send another postcard asking your constituents for input. Nolan A. Marshall, II/Jr. – you are another elected “official” travesty in the area.
    I will see you, Helena, at St. Jude – Saint of Impossible Causes. Rene Gill Pratt is gone…but you’re still here. Is there no Justice in this World?!
    Well, maybe not in this world.. 06/02/2015 1:56 AM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    Je sus H. Holy Count of Monte Cristo – Halffullclass is still alive! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! As “one” of the wise words that Denzel left with the graduating 2015 Dillard Class, “Say thank you for that which is already yours,”

  • nickelndime

    Go ahead wit yo’ bad self, “Halffullclass.” You know U be just like Don Quixote – be willing to “…march into hell for a heavenly cause.” XXXOOO 06/02/2015 2:23 AM DST USA

  • HalfFullClass

    Figured I would copy n paste my t/p post here before it gets edited, again.
    (by the t/p, NOT the Lens)

    Be sure to follow the link @ the Lens that brings up reNEW’s announcement of Principal Hearin’s nomination for principal of the year in Louisiana
    Seems reNEW removed the glowing news upon his resignation, go figure.
    Does the removal of the link imply that the details in the announcement were not true?
    When a link/announcement/comment is deleted, does the exchange of information stop?
    Perhaps the deletion is a way to keep the intended message free from distractions.
    I will bet fifteen cents rolls on that floor in five or three seconds.

  • nickelndime

    Oh, “HalfFullClass” – you are 100% correct – you have me rolling on the floor! Thanks for cutting and pasting your most recent comment (read approximately one hour ago) because I know that you know that deleted your first comment. Help! I am laffing so hard, I can’t breathe. Welcome to an elite club. You know you “scored” big time. 06/02/2015 6:14 PM DST USA

  • nolaspeaks123

    The qualifications must not be very high! Not a single one of the school leaders on renew’s website are certified in ed leadership neither do the majority hold valid teaching certificates. That’s just ridiculous!!!

  • nickelndime

    That is correct, “nolaspeaks123,” there are too many un-certified school principals and assistant principals (administrators) who are severely lacking in professional educational credentials, not only in this charter network (ReNEW), but in the others as well. And this is one of the reasons why colleges of education are going down the tubes in public institutions of higher learning. Who needs it/them!? State BESE is hell-bent on paying for Teach For America (TFA) individuals who have earned their degrees in other fields. The premise is that anybody can teach public at-risk (poverty level) students and anybody – and I do mean anybody – can be a school principal/administrator. A lot, not Gary Robichaux, but other charter school CEOs are coming in with law degrees (Lagniappe – which just folded – is only one example). This entire system is in turmoil. If it were not for a phenomenal PR Department at the state department level, more of the general public would be aware that this is a very unstable house-of-cards situation that could be thrown out of whack with a hard breeze – not to mention what a hurricane could do. 06/04/2015 1:10 AM DST USA