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Odd board meeting leaves charter school with new interim director

Updated November 6, 2023 - 4:37 pm

The troubled public charter school TEACH Las Vegas, faced with recent student withdrawals, teacher departures and the resignation of its top administrator, appointed an interim executive director on Monday at a board meeting in which the chairwoman appeared to be the only voting member.

Interim Executive Director Frank Williams said during the meeting that he has been in Las Vegas for about one month. Former Executive Director Andrea Moore resigned in early October.

Williams said being named the director was no real change because “I’m performing in that capacity now.”

He added that he has taken the time to get to know students and parents.

“I feel comfortable that we can do some positive things here,” Williams said.

It appeared that Trishawn Allison, chairwoman of the school’s governing board, was the only board member participating in Monday’s meeting, which lasted about 30 minutes via video conferencing. Allison made each motion, seconded it and cast a vote.

The school’s website lists five board members, but it was unclear Monday how many remain on the board.

The public charter school — which opened in 2021 on North Rancho Drive — has experienced turmoil in recent weeks, including employee and student departures. It’s part of a Los Angeles-based charter school network.

Williams said he has worked for TEACH for more than 11 years in a variety of positions, including with the charter management organization for the last four or five years.

PERS contributions

The state issued a formal tax delinquency complaint Oct. 23 after TEACH Public Schools failed to pay more than $320,000 in public employee retirement contributions.

During Monday’s school board meeting, Allison approved a Charter Asset Management Fund receivable sale.

Matthew Brown, chief operating and financial officer for TEACH Public Schools, said the sale allows for getting $400,000 in cash to pay off the outstanding liability.

Nevada State Public Charter School authorities said during a Friday board meeting that four schools, including TEACH, are currently delinquent in paying public employee retirement contributions.

New board members

Allison tabled an item to consider new school board members because one person who is interested, whom she did not name, was unable to attend the meeting.

Prospective board member Constance Turner Jackson, an educator and school administrator for more than 30 years, introduced herself.

School update

During an executive director report, Williams said he revamped the pickup and dropoff schedule at the school. “Believe it or not, that got us a lot of parent support.”

He also said he revamped class schedules, noting there were far too many students out of class not receiving the instructional time they should.

Classes were also combined, Williams said, such as two first-grade classes that each had eight or nine students. That has led to needing fewer substitute teachers.

At one point, the school had more than 400 students in elementary and middle school grades. There weren’t any enrollment updates shared Monday.

A parent, who was previously a volunteer, has been put on the school’s payroll to provide janitorial and maintenance services, he said.

Williams said he planned to hold two meetings with parents this week to provide updates, including what to expect in terms of instruction.

In terms of staffing, five teachers remain who were on board prior to the “big shakeup,” Williams said, and conversations are underway trying to retain them.

Extracurricular activities have been put on hold, Williams said, adding he doesn’t have a handle on which adults he can trust to represent the school.

During a public comment period, parent Mikiya Davis said she loves the direction the school is heading and she’s happy to have Williams on campus.

Davis said she’s volunteering at the school daily and she’s happy it’s heading to a better future.

At the end of the meeting, Allison expressed gratitude to parents, who she said have been generous with their time and efforts to ensure the school “still moves in an effective manner.”

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on X.

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