By: Shannon Hegy
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) – Monday night, the Robert Hughes Academy Charter School Board of Trustees unanimously accepted acting director Fred Swan’s resignation, Swan maintaining his stepping down was not the result of three months of parental pressure.
Swan was appointed by the board as acting director back in November when then principal, Janet Henry, was suspended for an alleged MCAS cheating scandal. That scandal led to the State Board of Education’s decision to revoke the school’s charter, a decision the school is currently appealing. The board’s appointment of Swan, however, infuriated parents who argued Swan’s past would hurt the school’s chances of survival. In 2005, Swan pleaded guilty to nine felony counts in a federal corruption probe.
“I’m not resigning because a few parents wanted me to a few months ago,” said Swan. “I’m resigning because it’s in the best interest of the school based on public perception.”
Before walking away, Swan made sure to leave the board with a detailed proposed transition plan, a set of recommendations for moving forward and appealing the State Board of Education’s decision to revoke the school’s charter. Among those recommendations, restructuring the board of trustees, appointing a parental involvement liaison and creating greater support for the PTO.
“The commissioner used certain items as reasons for recommending to the elementary and secondary board for revoking the charter so we are removing those elements,” said Swan.
Swan also emphasized the importance of taking advantage of local politicians and reaching out to the community for help.
“The board members serve as ambassadors for the school,” Swan told the board of trustees Monday night, “and need to be out there generating support.”
With it’s acting director and his public criminal past now a thing of the past, faculty members and parents Monday night looked toward the future and putting the children first.
“Is there room for improvement? Yes,” said Isaac Williams Jr. “Is there room for restructuring? Yes. I’m a parent and I’m a teacher so I’m very passionate about educating our children despite what’s going on with the state.”