The superintendent is out, and so is the principal who spent less than a day on the job.
Responding to parent, teacher and student concerns, EdKey Inc. has changed course in overhauling the administration at Sequoia Pathway Academy in Maricopa.
A brief meeting Thursday night packed the gym of the charter school.
Tamara Becker, an assistant superintendent for Sequoia Schools, announced the change that will make her interim principal. Though not naming names, she said CEO Doug Pike would no longer have superintendent authority over Sequoia Pathway.
“As a result of the recent events, EdKey will be appointing a different superintendent to directly oversee all academic and personnel decisions for all of our EdKey schools from this point forward,” Becker said.
EdKey has corporate oversight of 12 charter schools in Arizona, including Sequoia Pathway.
Pike came to campus Tuesday and met with interim Principal Nate Lamma and interim Assistant Principal Diane Silvia. By meeting’s end Lamma and Silvia had resigned, and Pike announced Keith Greer would be the new principal.
Within an hour, word had spread around campus that the two popular administrators had either been forced to resign or had been fired. Teachers and students were crying. Students called their parents asking to be picked up. Students staged a protest Wednesday. Some students did not come back Wednesday or Thursday.
At least one teacher submitted a letter of resignation in response. Other teachers called in sick.
Many parents, students and staff demanded the firing of Pike. Greer appeared only part of a day and was quickly confronted by angry adults.
Becker’s announcement Thursday night drew applause but did not quiet concerns of the crowd. Those demanding to know the details of the departure of Lamma and Silvia left disappointed. What the operation of the school will look like going forward remained unclear.
Athletic Director Nate Wong, the highest-ranking administrator left at the school, led the meeting and said it went even better than he thought it would.
“Things got a lot better as the day progressed, and at the end of the day I always knew that our parents were on board and that we’d have a positive discussion,” he said. “I always knew that would happen despite all of this.
“If it wasn’t how I think it could really go, I wouldn’t have been up there talking.”
Wong said despite reports of most media outlets (including InMaricopa) and statements from Pike, teachers did not walk out Tuesday. Parents questioned why students were out of class that day and whether they would return to class routine. Wong said all classes would be back to normal.
Wong expressed his confidence in Becker. While all sport events were canceled Thursday, Wong said he was eager for Friday’s football game – the undefeated Pumas host Mesa’s undefeated Heritage Academy in Canyon Athletic Association play – and a semblance of normalcy.
But even Wong, a popular coach and math teacher, faced push back from parents wanting answers neither he nor other staff had.
Some parents had already reached out to members of the EdKey Governing Board to complain about the chain of events.
According to the school budget, administration expenses were cut 14 percent for the current fiscal year. Estimated revenue is increased by almost $800,000.