Is Nichole Ivey the principal at Montgomery’s LEAD Academy charter school–or is she not?

This subject was raised at the Sept. 30 meeting of the state charter  school commission.  LEAD board chair Charlotte Meadows told the commission that Ivey was no longer the principal.

However, a statement released by the Alabama Education Association on Oct. 1, contends that the board of LEAD Academy has not met and taken action concerning Ivey’s employment.  “Unless it did so in an illegal secret meeting,” they say.

AEA goes on to say, “These latest developments are consistent with a troubling pattern of behavior from the forces behind LEAD Academy:  Charlotte Meadows and Soner Tarim.  As has been the case since it was proposed, and unlike the other charter schools operating in Alabama, LEAD believes itself to be above any law, including the charter school law under which it was founded.”

According to Ivey, “I was hired to be the principal of LEAD Academy, but all major decisions were and are made by Charlotte Meadows and Soner Tarim, the consultant hired by her.  Meadows asked me to resign shortly after I engaged in a series of discussions with officials at the State Department of Education about LEAD’s lack of compliance with multiple state laws applicable to charter schools regarding student health, safety, and financial accountability. After speaking with those officials, I was called in last week by Meadows and told they ‘want to go in a different direction.’  I refused to engage in illegal activity and am confident that the truth will come out as this matter moves forward.”

The AEA statement goes on to say that Soner Tarim  “is already being paid in excess of $30,000 per month by Alabama taxpayers for LEAD, but is looking to franchise across the state.”

The entanglement of LEAD Academy and Woodland Prep with Soner Tarim starkly shows how lax the Alabama charter law is when it comes to oversight.  Either no one is in charge, or no one is willing to take charge.

Either way, the taxpayer is left holding the bag and Alabama students are being shortchanged.

Editor’s note:  Charlotte Meadows is a former member of the Montgomery County school board.  When a vacancy occurred in 2018 on this board, Meadows was nominated to fill it.  Her nomination died for lack of a second.  I was then nominated and selected and served for three months.

Meadows is now running for the state House of Representatives to fill the remainder of the term created by the death last spring of Demitri Polizos.  She won the GOP primary and faces a democrat opponent on Nov. 12.