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Lake Wales
Monday, July 22, 2024

Lake Wales Charter Schools Board To Hold Special Meeting Regarding Investigation Into Superintendent Rodolfich

Date:

The Lake Wales Charter Schools Board will hold a special meeting session Friday, June 7, 2024 3:00pm
at the Lake Wales High School. The public is encouraged to come as well as the media we are being told. The meeting is to go over superintendent investigation status report. The investigation stems from the LWCS HR Director receiving complaints or grievances by multiple employees in the office of the school system. On March 19th HR Director LaQuanda Burroughs received a grievance from an employee accusing Dr. Rodolfich of 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. An additional complaint was also made by reportedly a different employee stating on March 18, 2024 at 8 am Dr. Rodolfich yelled at an employee and pounded on the table. It was referred to as demoralizing and embarrassing. It was also reported that Dr. Rodolfich has allegedly 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.

The Tampa law firm of Barbas Cremer, which specializes in employment and business law was the one used to conduct the investigation. The investigation has concluded.

Questions abound regarding the outcome of the investigation. Will Dr. Rodolfich be terminated? Will he be vindicated ( Dr. Rodolfich has maintained his innocence since the investigation started) and what is next depending on the outcome. If Dr. Rodolfich is terminated it would put a short timeframe in place to get a replacement before the school year starts. What will the board do? Will they put another committee together to find a replacement? Will it temporarily replace him with one of the local candidates who applied for the position in the past? Those candidates would be

Emilean Clemons 

Emilean Clemons is a homegrown candidate, who was raised in Lake Wales, attended its schools, graduated from Lake Wales High School in 1974, then returned to teach at schools in her hometown.

Andy Oguntola 

Andy Oguntola is a local candidate, with strong ties to the Lake Wales community and Polk County. He is dean of workforce education and economic development and adjunct professor.

Anuj Saran 

Anuj Saran is the principal and head of the International Baccalaureate program of Lake Wales High School. Anuj Saran has been part of the Lake Wales Charter School System shortly after it’s inception.

Each of these candidates have positives and negatives. They also all lost out to Dr. Rodolfich in their pursuit of the position. It’s also questionable if any of them have the desire to take on the job.

This is also huge hurdle for the LWCS Board. It’s gone over a substantial makeover in the last year. The chair remains the same with Funeral Director Danny Gill and two commissioners, Attorney Tanya Stewart & Dr. Lori Hutto, are still there. The board has an open seat with Banker Paul Gerrard taking leave due to additional commitments. Three newer commissioners, Banker Brian Marbutt, Mortgage Broker Raphael Unzueta and Pastor/Executive Director Andy Blair, will have their first opportunity to be part of a superintendent search.

Some questions have arisen regarding commissioner Raphael Unzueta and if he should recuse himself in any decision regarding Dr. Rodolfich since his wife is Julie Unzueta who is the Payroll Manager at Lake Wales Charter Schools and works in the office where the allegations against Dr. Rodolfich occurred.

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