The New Beginnings Schools Foundation Board of Directors accepted the resignation of CEO Sametta Brown Thursday evening, with little explanation. She and the board agreed that she will continue running the four-school charter network through the current school year.

Sametta Brown
Sametta Brown

Brown, who earns a base salary of $145,000, is in the second year of a three-year contract, due to end in the fall of 2017. She could earn up to a 25 percent bonus for school performance, with an emphasis on keeping them in the acceptable category in the state’s accountability system.

When the state’s school report cards came out last month, three New Beginnings schools fell significantly, with one dropping from a D to an F.

In board discussions after the vote, Brown said she and her academic team have been meeting to “devise our plan to support the work toward increased student achievement.”

After meeting behind closed doors for about 30 minutes, the seven members of the 11-member board of directors in attendance voted unanimously to accept Brown’s resignation. One member offered Brown her congratulations, and each thanked Brown for her service.

The Lens asked for a copy of Brown’s resignation letter, but Board President Leslie Bouie said she needed to check with the board’s attorney first.

Brown took over as the chief of the network in October 2012, after serving as executive director of human resources for the Recovery School District.

The board met last week with plans to meet privately in executive session, but after The Lens objected to the reason for the stated reason for closed-door meeting — to discuss the CEO’s contract — the board adjourned their specially called meeting.

This time, the board met privately “to engage in privileged communications with Board Counsel regarding strategy for potential litigation.” The Lens again raised a concern about whether that’s a proper exemption to the state Open Meetings Law, but the board moved ahead.

Despite the legal concerns the board clearly had, Brown said after the meeting that she had no particular reason for her resignation, just that she decided it was time to leave.

Three of the network’s four schools posted lower scores than last year:

  • Medard H. Nelson Charter School fell from 67.3, a D, to 41.2, an F.
  • Pierre A. Capdau Charter School fell from 89.9, a B, to 71.4, a C.
  • Gentilly Terrace Charter School fell from  67.3, a D, to 52, a D.
  • Lake Area New Tech Early College High rose from 64.5, a D, to 79.4, a C.

The first three schools serve students in kindergarten through eighth grades; the high school is ninth through 12th grade.

The four schools have about 2,000 students, making New Beginnings one of the larger charter groups in the city.

Steve Beatty

Steve Beatty is the publisher and chief executive officer of The Lens. He worked as an editor for The Times-Picayune for 15 years, leaving New Orleans just before Katrina to take a position as an editor...