The ongoing story about Charter School of Wilmington’s leader, Dr. Sam Paoli, continues. Last week, stories emerged about the leader and his bullying and intimidation towards students. This caused a great deal of controversy. Now it is revealed his attitudes are not just isolated to students. A Change.org petition to renew a very beloved teacher’s contract is currently under way. Dr. Thomas Fleetwood has been at the school since the beginning, and students are extremely offended his contract was not renewed.
Some students feel Paoli did not renew his contract because Fleetwood challenged Paoli on the bullying and intimidation we are now learning is directed towards anyone who disagrees with him. I would have to ask this: why is Paoli the sole deciding factor on faculty? Wouldn’t this be a board decision? In most schools, it is the boards who make these types of decisions. A school leader can make a recommendation, but it should be the board. I don’t have an answer to this, and if anyone from the Charter School of Wilmington board wants to advise on this, please let me know.
In 2013, Dr. Fleetwood won an award from the Delaware Charter School Network called a “Dedication Award” for his achievements in teaching high school students. The article on this quoted a parent as saying “he sets a high bar for all of his students, and provides real-world experience that inspires his students to pursue careers in the medical profession.”
The convergence of student and faculty issues with Paoli is something the CSW board should take an immediate look at. Schools need leaders, not dictators. In the comments on my articles last week about a discipline incident, as well as other exchanges outside my blog, it was overwhelmingly clear there are major issues with Paoli as the leader of CSW. Most said he is not a fit leader and bullying and intimidation is common practice with him. All eyes are on the board at CSW to see what happens next.