Seven of the 10 Weilenmann School of Discovery Board of Trustee members announced their resignation Friday effective immediately in an attempt to keep Principal Mary Kimball and Executive Director Cindy Phillips on staff.
Kimball and Phillips initially submitted their letters of resignation to the board in November with plans to step down at the end of the school year due to a disagreement in the direction the board wanted to take the school. With the agreement to re-constitute the board, the two plan to continue working at the school through the end of the 2014-15 school year.
"It can often be very difficult in the first years of a school for all parties involved those in the initial startup, to have same philosophy and vision, the same goals and objectives for school," Phillips said. "I would characterize what has happened as growing pains.
"We were divergent on our views of where the school should go. Those on board had views different from (ours). As time went on, it became clear that we needed to step aside if board was determined on a certain course."
Following an outpouring of parent support to keep the two administrators, the board released a statement that the members had agreed to step down.
"We have listened closely to the feedback of our valued community of faculty and parents," the board letter to parents read. "What we heard as a core issue, and have never questioned, was the importance in keeping our administration and faculty's academic vision intact so as to not disrupt the superlative educational experience for WSD's students."
Dallis Rohde, who served as the board president, along with Noah Levine, Cindy Levine, Peter Smaha, Meredith Lavitt, Doug Burke and Flavia Hendler stepped down Friday. Rohde was unavailable for comment.
"Out of difficulty, great things can occur," Kimball said. "The parent body rallied behind us. They supported us remaining at the school."
"It was just a beautiful thing to watch," she added. "The entire community rallied behind what we had created at this school as administrators, and there was this sense of renewal. It created a new kind of energy."
Michelle Mazzie, Kirstie Rosenfield and Josh Grotstein, the three remaining board members, will be working with administration to "re-constitute the board" with new members as soon as possible, the letter continued.
"The board was responding to the community's wants and desires," Ronsenfield said, "to keep the two administrators. They felt stepping down was the best solution to make that happen."
The elected board positions are served on a volunteer basis, and members agree to a three-year-long commitment. Only two members were up for election this year. Several members of the Board of Trustees had served the school before construction was underway, helping establish the school as it has become today. Phillips and Kimball both recognized the service of the board in the creation of the school.
The Weilenmann School of Discovery is currently in its third school year as Summit County's first charter school. The board was created in the first year to serve as "visionaries," Rosenfield said, to get the school off the ground. Since then, the board focus has shifted from getting started to maintain the school, she added, and the new board makeup will reflect that change.
"Our school is stable. We have fiscal integrity. We have had numerous calls about enrollment. The word is out that we are providing a quality education," Phillips said. "This was more a disagreement on the general direction of how the school should achieve its mission. Boards and administrators don't always agree, and that's what happened."