By Carl Fish
Lake Wales, Florida – The Lake Wales High School School Advisory Council (SAC) voted unanimously to recommend Donna Dunson remain Principal of the high school for another year during new superintendent transition. The vote came late Thursday afternoon after interim Lake Wales Charter School superintendent, Alricky Smith, spent hours discussing Dunson’s desire to rescind her resignation.
A firestorm was set off recently when new superintendent to be, Dr. Wayne Rodolfich, advised Lake Wales High School staff he wanted Dunson to remain as principal. Dunson had previously put in her resignation from being LWHS principal after the 2021/2022 school year. The announcement was reportedly received with joy and jubilation by assistant principal Kaleigh McCoy. This however was short lived as superintendent, Smith, did not accept her rescinding her resignation. In an April 7th, email Smith advised Dunson: “ I would love to accept your formal rescinded resignation, but unfortunately due to your resignation being submitted and accepted on August 6, 2021, I asked the HR Director to move forward with the posting of the LWHS Principal position as a vacancy for the 2022-23 school year. Pursuant to LWCS board policy (LWCS BPH2021-002) ” The Superintendent shall direct staff to carry out ongoing recruitment activities within the Human Resources Department which should focus on widely disseminating information about vacancies so as to reach a group of potential applicants broadly reflecting geographic, gender, racial, and ethnic diversity”. With that being said, the posting of the position brought forth 44 applicants for consideration to be vetted for interview by the Superintendent. Upon receiving a the formal request from Mr. Roldolfich, I would be happy to repost the position to ensure that he can consider you in that pool which would allow him to make your re-nomination available to the Board for the 2022-23 school year.
I would also like to reference Board policy I “LWCS BD#2021-0024 section “Contracts with Administrative Staff and Program Administrators” as the annual appointments for all staff positions are being considered. This should shed some light on the opportunities and limitation that are in the purview of the Superintendent.” (copy of email here)
Smith advised he is following the same procedure he has done for other positions. He did advise there was a path forward to Dunson possibly returning as principal. He needs a formal request by Dr. Rodolfich to open up the posting and have Dunson go through the full process of applying. If they agree to move her forward then the Lake Wales Charter School Board would have to vote on her appointment.
Many parents questioned whether Dr Rodolfich would do that now after they felt LWCS Board Chairman Danny Gill may have “bullied” Dr. Rodolfich in a separate April 7th email ( link to article: Did LWCS Board Chairman Overstep His Bounds & Intimidate The New Superintendent). Interim superintendent Smith advised that he could not attest to what Gill wrote. He did acknowledge that it is public knowledge that Dr. Rodolfich only won the superintendent position by a 4-3 margin.
June Ullman, School Advisory Council (SAC), chairperson pointed out issues she see’s in the coming months. The incoming principal will not be brought in until August 1st. The first day of school is August 10th. This wouldn’t leave the new principal anytime to get organized and help with the transition. Interim superintendent felt they had a good plan in place moving forward and appeared not to see it as a concern.
Several parents advised they will be attending the next Lake Wales Charter School Board meeting, Tuesday April 26, at 4pm at the LWHS, to express there opinion to the board.
*** The School Advisory Council (SAC) works with the principal and staff to develop the annual School Improvement Plan (SIP). After analyzing data, (such as school grade, AYP and FCAT scores), goals are determined which will best lead the school to be as successful as possible.
Since the SIP is usually approved in the fall, in the other meetings topics are presented to demonstrate tangible ways that LWHS staff is working towards goals, along with updates on programs, facilities and personnel. The SAC also votes on the expenditure of SAC Allocation Funds, and School Recognition Funds.
The LWHS SAC meets the second Thursday of each month (with the exception of December) at 7:30 am. All are welcome to attend the meetings. The membership is composed of the principal, and an appropriately balanced team of parents, faculty/staff, community members and one student from each grade level.