I knew Providence Creek Academy had no choice but to finally find a new Head of School after their “three-year search”. Chuck Taylor was never supposed to stay that long. It was, after all, just a coincidence he stayed for three years at a greatly increased salary of $170,000.00. It is also a coincidence he was able to get his pension based on that $170,000 figure because it goes by your three highest years of salaries as a state employee. But hiring Denise Stouffer? The lead from the Delaware Department of Education’s Charter School Office? Are you kidding me?
As always in Delaware education, it’s not what you know, it is WHO you know. She and Chuck were buddy-buddy on the Charter School Accountability Committee ever since she came aboard in the lead position two years ago. Denise Stouffer was ALSO who I talked to at the DOE last summer when the anonymous Providence Creek teacher and staff crowd had me post their complaints and their attempt to join the union. Nothing came of that. Hell, Denise Stouffer even told me her office did a thorough investigation and found none of their claims to be true. Imagine that! And now she is their Head of School!
I’ve talked to Stouffer a bit over the past couple years. There is something off. Something… I don’t know… call it… a trust issue. I don’t always believe her. I know, as the head of the Charter School Office at the DOE it was her job to oversee charters under the DOE’s authority. She certainly wasn’t going to give me any more ammunition than I already had. But I heard of too many folks going to her about things and then bad things happened. Usually a termination at a charter school. God forbid you go to the state agency overseeing many charter schools and actually lodge a beef against them. But that was how it was.
I still smell a stink from PCA. Something has NEVER felt right about that place. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Stouffer isn’t leading the Charter School Office anymore. I’m also glad Chuck Taylor is retiring. But this kind of thing doesn’t get PCA off my radar. Not at all. The fact that NO official charges ever came out against anyone at PCA with their own charter school money theft thing. In the prosecutions that did occur, it wasn’t the school pressing charges. That came from either the feds or Delaware’s Attorney General office. Their was a whole damn audit report with tons of findings showing there was theft at PCA. So how the hell did the statute of limitations run out on that? Like I said, something smells like three-month old fish over there in Clayton.
While there is nothing in Delaware state code against a DOE employee taking a job at any Delaware school, this one seems off. I probably wouldn’t care if this were any other school. But Stouffer was the person who was supposed to conduct a proper investigation into PCA when the “We’re Worried” crew went to her and NOTHING happened from that tells me something was hushed. And she had the unmitigated gall to act offended to me based on what I wrote about her role with things at PCA knowing she used her position at DOE to leverage herself to the top position at one of the charters she had to oversee really ticks me off. This is a conflict of interest but of course nothing will happen because We Are Delaware! Before the PCA parents start hammering me with the “she got the job because she was qualified” schtick, there were many qualified over the past three years to take that job. This oh-so-convenient hiring leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. But I really shouldn’t be surprised.