The ongoing saga with Odyssey Charter School continues! As the AHEPA members of the Board continue to do whatever the heck they want, attention is being drawn to their stunts by more than just Odyssey staff and parents. The spotlight on the school is not good as members of the General Assembly and the State Board of Education are giving complaints to the Charter School Office at the Delaware Department of Education. But the DOE isn’t the only state agency looking into the many conflicts of interest from the Odyssey Board of Directors as evidenced by the below email from Charter School Office leader Leroy Travers:
From: Travers Leroy
Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2019 11:57 AM
To: George Hantzandreou; Laura Thompson; Josiah R. Wolcott; Josiah Wolcott; Elias Rigas; Tami Soltow; Michael Kirifides; Michael Klezaras; Riccardo Stoeckicht; Parks Denise
Cc: Carwell John
Subject: Odyssey Charter School Governance.
Good Morning Odyssey Charter School board members and administrators,
Attached you will find a letter submitted to the Delaware Public Integrity Commission (PIC) from the Delaware Department of Education requesting an advisory opinion in regards to Odyssey Charter School’s board of directors and potential violations of public trust. The Department is aware that Odyssey previously submitted a request to PIC for an advisory opinion at the request of the Charter School Office. The Charter School Office and the Department of Education does not feel that the request submitted by the school sufficiently addresses all potential conflicts of interest. The Charter School office highly recommends that all administrative hiring and the hiring of non-essential staff be placed on hold until the Public Integrity Commission issues an opinion.
Recently, numerous concerns about Odyssey Charter School’s board of directors and overall school governance have been brought forth to our office from families, members of the Odyssey community, members of the Delaware General Assembly, and members of the Delaware State Board of Education. It is the goal of the Charter School Office to ensure that the students and families of Odyssey Charter School receive the leadership and education that they deserve. At this time it is imperative that the Odyssey Charter School board of directors focus their energy and efforts on the education of the students entrusted to their care and fostering strong relationships with Odyssey Charter School families and staff members.
It is important to note that Odyssey Charter School will begin the process to renew its charter in the fall of 2019 and the Charter School Accountability Committee will thoroughly review the school’s effectiveness in the areas of Academic, Financial, and Organizational performance when considering the school’s renewal application. The Charter School Office encourages the OCS board of directors to begin to develop strategies to improve the public’s trust and improve its relationship with the Odyssey Charter School stakeholders as it awaits the opinion of the Public Integrity Commission. The Charter School Office is available to offer support and assistance to the board as you begin this work. Please do not hesitate to contact us.
Education Associate, Charter School Office
Delaware Department of Education
Dover, DE 19901-3639
So we have the Public Integrity Commission sniffing around the Odyssey board as well! What is this board doing that has so many in an uproar? It has to do with former Board President Dimitri Dandalos. He resigned from the Board only to pretty much write his own job description for a Director of Development, Strategic Partnerships and Hellenic Initiatives. The school already has two people that replaced Nick Manalakos last year when his contract wasn’t renewed by the board. They are Head of School Denise Parks and Riccardo Stoeckicht. So why do they need a third? So this guy can play kiss-ass with his buddies in the AHEPA club? Or is it the hefty $150,000 annual salary he will get to promote AHEPA as they make the Little Rascals’ He-Man Woman Haters Club look like a feminist convention?
AHEPA runs the Odyssey board. Even though there are non-AHEPA members on the board, AHEPA has the majority so whatever they want, they get. How did a Greek fraternity get in a position where they essentially run a school and ignore everyone else? The Delaware DOE allowed that to happen but it looks like the DOE is saying no more now. In today’s society, the idea of a Greek men’s club running a school highly conflicts with the standards in modern times. Will the DOE force AHEPA to reduce their board membership as their charter is up for renewal later this year?
Dandalos seemed like the King of the School at the recent Odyssey fund-raiser gala held last month. Cosmos Philly, a Greek themed news outlet out of Philadelphia, certainly praised him to the Greek gods in a recent article about the gala. About that Odyssey being the best public school in Delaware, that was based on the News Journal’s annual poll about the best of Delaware. While the school certainly is consistently rated a top school, the News Journal annual poll is hardly a barometer of academic success. You gotta watch the video in that article. You would think the only people running the school are people with a stem on their apple. I’m pretty sure Denise Parks is the Head of School, not Dandalos. Or you can just watch the video below.