by Brian Orr
WALSENBURG- After a grueling hour and a half executive session, the Re-1 school board read aloud Principal Trudy Vader’s terse resignation letter on Tuesday night. On now-familiar lines, Board members Diego Bobian, Art Ortiz, Robert Duran and Jesse Jackon voted to accept her resignation, with Bill Downey, Lynette Kleinschmidt and Erin Jerant voting against accepting. After the vote, Kleinschmidt stormed out of the meeting.
Vader has been the principal at John Mall for two years. She has received “satisfactory” scores on her reviews. This means the students at John Mall will have their third new principal in three years. Re-1 itself will have two new principals to train before the fall semester begins.
The reasoning for Vader’s abrupt departure are murky, but seem to originate with one family’s complaint to Board Member Robert Duran, who then complained to Board President Jesse Jackson.
Vader opted to resign rather than be fired, which would leave a large black mark on her career.
The Board voted to retain Peakview Principal Pat Martinez, and voted to hire Pat McDonald as Assistant Principal for Peakview. Gardner Principal Julia Marchant is retiring this year, and her replacement has already been hired.
In other business, the Board noted it needs to begin negotiating salaries with district employees. In a sign of the tension on the Board, Jerant loudly pointed out it would be a conflict of interest for Jackson and Duran to serve on the negotiating committee, as both their wives work for the district. Jerant got the last word in with “I don’t think I can serve on any committee with you.”
In John Mall news, Vader reported the school had 100 percent participation on their CSAP tests. “We worked very hard to get that,” she said.
Julia Marchant of Gardner School reported they had had 100 percent particpation on their recent parent/teacher conferences. Gardner will be hiring back Rhonda Kelley as school secretary. She also noted that the school will be holding a seven week long pilot program where kindergarteners will be attending school for full days, rather than half days.
Pat Martinez of Peakview told the Board her school will be holding its first Carnival on April 16, and they had a 94 percent participation rate on their parent/teacher conferences.
Finally, Gaye Davis told the board that the new football field is now finished.