In an apparent backtrack, the Algiers Charter School Association has called a special meeting Friday to appoint an interim CEO — a week after they publicly named one.
On Jan. 12, board president John Edwards announced Rene Lewis-Carter, a principal in one of the group’s six schools, was succeeding CEO Adrian Morgan. Edwards declined to discuss Morgan’s employment status or how Lewis-Carter was selected, other than to say she was picked by a “consensus” of the board to lead the $49 million network.
But the board did not meet publicly to discuss or select an interim CEO, so it was unclear how the board had reached a consensus on Lewis-Carter. Edwards and other officials with the charter-school network would not respond to several inquiries asking whether the board had taken a vote.
Lewis-Carter has been the principal of Behrman Elementary since 2005. The school dropped 17 points on the state’s 150-point scale, a B to a C, when the latest state report cards were released in December.
Generally, public charter boards hire their top employee in a public meeting. While state law allows boards to discuss a candidate behind closed doors, it does not require it. Any vote to award a contract to a CEO must happen in open session. Boards are not allowed to meet by telephone, or have one person take a poll of the board.
The network eventually released a statement saying the split with Morgan was mutual and his last day was Jan. 11.
Now, the board has called a special meeting Friday to discuss Morgan’s employment — though it is unclear if he is currently an employee — and to vote on the appointment of an interim CEO. The agenda does not include any names in regard to the interim CEO. Lewis-Carter was still listed as the network’s interim CEO on its website Thursday afternoon.
In order for the board to discuss Morgan behind closed doors they must notify him in writing 24 hours in advance of the meeting. He also has the option to have the discussion in open session. Morgan did not immediately return a phone call.
The Algiers Charter School Association oversees six campuses, with about 4,500 students, making it one of the largest charter networks in the city.
School report cards released last month show four network schools saw drops in scores, including a 28-point decline at the network’s flagship high school and an elementary school that slid to an F. Algiers Technology Academy and Eisenhower Elementary improved by three and four points, respectively, on the 150-point scale.