For the first time since their leader stepped down, the Montessori Regional Charter School Board of Trustees met today, and it was standing room only.
It was an unexpected turn of events when former CEO, Anthony Pirrello handed in his resignation last week. His resignation left a vacancy in the school’s top position, just two weeks before the end of the school year. Pirrello led the 500 student charter school for the past 11 years. Pirrello’s decision follows a lengthy school board executive session last week. Pirrello declined comment on the sudden departure.
At the meeting today, Pirrello’s resignation was formally accepted by the Board unanimously. When asked why Pirrello resigned, Craig Palmer, Board of Trustees President replied, “We want to be as transparent as we can. Legal matters, personnel matters; there are some things we just can’t talk about.”
What they could talk about, however; was the fact that the Board unanimously voted to formally promote Mark Zielinski to interim Chief Academic Officer and teacher, Bethany Norris, to Academic and Behavior Administrator; effective July 1st. Zielinski and Norris will both report to the Board of Trustees.
In a letter to the public, which you can read here, the board said it was entering a period of change which may be viewed as unpopular, but will offer new opportunities for success. “Our primary goal is to act in the best interest of the school (the students) and the taxpayers. We are committed to governance that assures the best leadership for the MRCS now and in the future.” The Board reiterated this in the meeting today.
“The school is thriving, we have great numbers,” says Cammy Melaragno, a MRCS parent, “We just wonder if the next CEO will [have] the same goals of consolidating the schools and putting our standards as high as they are right now because we are doing wonderfully… The Board says one of the main goals is still to consolidate the two locations into one. However, whether it will be at the Ridgefield Elementary property is still up in the air.”
Palmer clarifies, “we want to focus on the students and have them consolidated so we’re certainly going to be taking a look at what our options are. We think we have some opportunities and we’re going to try to take advantage of those.” Palmer says the students are the first priority and that focus is not changing through this process.
The board will now begin search processes to hire a new CEO, and, according to Palmer, they will be looking at internal and external candidates and hope to have someone in the role as soon as possible.