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Lake Wales
Monday, July 22, 2024

Lake Wales Charter School Superintendent Welcomes Investigation


By Kip Kirchberg
The Lake Wales Charter School Board was scheduled for a Special work session / financial meeting, however, Board Chair Danny Gill was forced to change the meeting to a special session due to an HR complaint/grievance that was brought to his attention regarding Superintendent Dr. Rodolfich.

Danny Gill Lake Wales Charter School Chair

To kick off the special meeting Danny Gill made a statement to the Board. “Todays meeting is to not to pass judgement or make decision on the validity of the subject matter. We do not have the direct insight knowledge or information to make that call. We are here to get the report from our HR Director and vote on the recommendation action provided which is an investigation of the allegations.”

Danny Gill stated that he received a notice from the HR Director regarding complaints or grievances received. Noting that is the responsibility and the duty of the HR Director to report a grievance complaint to their Supervisor, which is the Chairman of the Board Danny Gill. Once the grievance complaint was passed on to the Chairman from the HR Director, Danny Gill stated he has a “duty and obligation to report that onto the board. And the only way I can do that is through a public meeting to be under sunshine. So LaQuanda will you present the information to the board?”

LWCS Special Meeting

HR Director LaQuanda Burroughs read the HR complaint to the board. On March 19th HR Director LaQuanda Burroughs received a grievance from an employee stating that Dr. Rodolfich had created a toxic and hostile work environment. The complaint stems from over a year of interactions with the Superintendent, according to the complaint all staff members have been listed as witnesses. As part of the complaint HR Director LaQuanda Burroughs stated that On March 18, 2024 at 8am Dr. Rodolfich yelled at an employee and pounded on the table. It was referred to as demoralizing and embarrassing. Upon receipt the Board Chair, Danny Gill, was informed of the grievance.

Based on the grievance, Dr. Rodolfich allegedly created a culture of fear, mistrust and toxicity. It was also reported that Dr. Rodolfich has discriminated against and singled out an employee due to race. HR Director LaQuanda Burroughs recommended that an external employment law firm be retained to investigate and substantiate the claims.

Danny Gill reminded the board that they are in no position to make any confirmations or validities of the information and wants to make sure they keep themselves unbiased and impartial to make sure they make no judgment until information is provided. Danny Gill wants to ensure Dr Rodolfich is treated fairly and that the allegations are handled in a professional manner.

Dr Rodolfich Lake Wales Charter School Superintendent

“I welcome the investigation” said Dr. Rodolfich who also made a brief statement to the board. “This is the first time that I have been made aware that anyone in my office has an issue with my communication. And that occurred whenever we returned from spring break. And I just want to make sure that everybody understands that I was not aware that anyone was offended by anything that I had said at any meeting prior to or during. Because anyone that ever has been has come to my office and told me how they felt. I think that is a much more proactive way of communicating if you have an issue with something I have done as Superintendent.”

Dr. Rodolfich also asked that “Its only fair to my family that I am given a fair opportunity when there has been no complaints levied against me at any point while I’ve been the Superintendent here. There is no record of anything like that. I do have a deep concern about the origin of these allegations and the hostility towards me within my office as it relates to the people making these accusations toward me.”
According to the HR Director three separate employees filed complaints against Dr. Rodolfich. LaQuanda Burroughs made the recommendation in the best interest of the board, organization, and employees to have someone impartial that specializes in employment law to review this case.

Tanya Stewart Lake Wales Charter School Trustee

Danny Gill asked the investigation to be conducted by a firm outside of Lake Wales to maintain neutrality. Tonya Stewart recommended that they look for a firm outside the county.

Dr. Rodolfich stated hee feels he “earned the right to continue to do the work I am doing”. “ I have a pristine 3 decade record of working for children.”. “If I am over passionate, I am over passionate about the fact that our children deserve better”. “You can beat us up, you can say things about us, but we are still gonna keep working for the kids here. We don’t know it any other way in the Rodolfich household, so I would like to keep working for my kids”.

Dr. Rodolfich made a recommendation that he should work remotely during the investigation and he would retrieve items from the office after hours or work with HR Director to retrieve items during the day. The board ultimately decided to accept his recommendation.

This is an ongoing investigation and we will report additional details once they become available.

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