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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Did LWCS Board Chairman Overstep His Bounds & Intimidate The New Superintendent

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By Carl Fish

Lake Wales, Florida – Parents and educators at a recent Lake Wales High School School Advisory Council (SAC) meeting felt a recently sent email by Lake Wales Charter School Board Chairman, Danny Gill, to new superintendent to be, Dr. Wayne Rodolfich, bordered on “bullying”.

It’s been well documented in previous articles that LWHS Principal Donna Dunson decided to rescind her resignation to continue to be the principal of Lake Wales High School (link to article here: LWHS Principal Asked To Stay On). It’s also been well documented that this request was denied (link to article here: Charter Charter School Responds To Rescinding Of Principal Dunson’s Resignation).

What has parents, educators and community members upset are multiple factors. The first two are regarding why Interim Superintendent Alricky Smith didn’t just accept her rescinding her resignation and if that wasn’t possible, why can’t Dunson be added to the pool of candidates (link to article here: LWHS School Advisory Council Seeks To Retain Principal Dunson).

The most troubling factor for parents is a written communication between LWCS Board Chairman Danny Gill and Dr. Rodolfich. That email was forwarded by chairman Gill to the Daily Ridge that “I have no further comment on this matter. This is my official response.” In that email to Dr. Rodolfich the chairman advises the following: “As to your request for Ms. Dunson, she submitted her resignation August 6, 2021 to Alricky Smith, Acting Superintendent and Dr. Ogontola, Board Chair and it was accepted. The Board authorized the Acting Superintendent to post the position and seek applicants. At the COB on June 30.2022. Ms. Dunson will not be an employee of LWCS. According to the bylaws, the Board has to approve the hiring of the principal position. I would encourage you and the current superintendent to move forward with looking over the pool of applicants and give him your suggestion for the position. He can bring it to the board for approval next month. If you wish to hire Ms. Dunson for the next school year, you can bring it to the board once you are in the superintendent position. I believe the board is ready to move in a new direction and a clean start will help you to be the successful superintendent we need. I would suggest that you keep Mr. Anuj Saran as the AP for the needed stability and institutional knowledge at the high school.”(the entire email is: Here).

It would appear from that statement and Dr.Rodolfich’s own statement posted on the front page of the charter school website that Dr. Rodolfich can’t recommend anything about Donna Dunson being principal until the 2023/2024 school year. As he is not the acting superintendent until after principal Dunson leaves he has no say so until next year. Yet the charter school system has furnished Dr. Rodolfich a Lake Wales Charter School email and asked him to make recommendations on the candidates that applied for principal prior to his official start date.

The question is if chairman Gill overstepped his bounds and intimidated Dr. Rodolfich. One SAC member referenced Mr. Gills email to “bullying”. Another asked how and if the could ask for a vote of “no confidence” in chairman Gill. Multiple areas of the above statement are in question and the walking back of a statement by Dr. Rodolfich seem to show Dr. Rodolfich was put in his place. (Link to article: Incoming Superintendent Walks Back Statement Made To Faculty Of Lake Wales High School).

Was it appropriate for chairman Gill to write the following “I believe the board is ready to move in a new direction and a clean start will help you to be the successful superintendent we need.”? Does this really express the entire board’s feelings on Dunson’s return. Does imply that Dr. Rodolfich will not have a successful start if he continues to want to bring principal Dunson back? Additionally chairman Gill makes reference to current assistant principal Anuj Saran “I would suggest that you keep Mr. Anuj Saran as the AP for the needed stability and institutional knowledge at the high school.” The difficulty with that statement is that if they don’t choose to bring principal Dunson back, Anuj Saran has put in his resume to be principal. Yet the email would appear to imply don’t make him your principal choice keep him as assistant principal.

These are questions parents and educators will bring up with the committee at the next charter school meeting April 26, 4pm at LWHS.

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