North County Charter Principal Dr. Jessica Keaton has been fired from her job by the School’s Board of Directors. Mrs. Cynthia Aversa, who recently retired from Indian River Charter High School, has been hired as Interm Consulting Principal.
Board President Shawn Frost released the following statement regarding Dr. Keaton’s firing:
Thursday the governing board took the first in a series of actions to return our school to an “A” rated school. After years of declining student performance with the school falling from first place ranking to second from last among elementary schools and an adversarial relationship with the Board, we terminated Jessica Keaton as principal. In addition to keeping on our Assistant Principal Kerrian Irons who knows all the students and families, we have secured, recently retired former principal of Indian River Charter High School (IRCHS) Mrs. Cynthia Aversa as our Interim Consulting Principal. Mrs. Aversa’s decades of demonstrated success at Charter High School made her extremely effective on day one.
The tests administered in grades three and five are primary drivers of the school grade and indicators of academic achievement. We are replacing the third grade and fifth grade teachers with teachers with internal and external candidates committed to ensuring our students can read and do math with proficiency and fluency.
Upon recommendations contained in Dr. Mark Rendell’s report, we are also looking at methods to improve teacher morale and performance and make the Board more engaged and accessible to teachers and parents. We look forward to laying out the entire “Securing Our A Rating (S.O.A.R.) Strategy” to teachers this week, and making announcements of those joining “The A Team” at North County Charter School in the coming days and week as we finalize negotiations.
Despite the nationwide and local teacher shortage, we are working to fill our last few vacancies with “A Team” players and are on track to receive students on the opening day with a full compliment of teachers for every student enrolled.
Mrs. Aversa is respected locally and around the state for her leadership ability and will be instrumental in making certain that North County Charter School has the most professional teacher work week and opening day that it has seen in at least 5 years.
We can’t wait for students and parents to see the exciting changes happening at North County Charter School.
When asked about if COVID-19 played a role in declining test scores, Frost said “Every school dealt with Covid. Thats what makes us falling from first place to second to last meaningful. Compare us to other schools. We got lapped by high free and reduced lunch (Title I)schools like Dogertown and Vero Elementary… its not the covid or the student profile. This failure rests solely on the instructional leader. That’s why we upgraded. Students deserve results, not empty and objectively false excuses.”
Below is a document containing data on the test scores at North County Charter School.NCCES-Report-V1
The image below is shows the second to last ranking for North County Charter Elementary, compared to other elementary schools in the County.
Dr. Mark Rendell was Superintendent for Indian River County Public Schools until he left in 2019.
Frost previously served as School Board Chairman for Indian River County’s Public School System. He was on the Board from 2014-2018. Currently, he is the State Committeeman for the Indian River County Republican Executive Committee.
Frost was a member of the Board for Sebastian Charter Junior High School and is a founding board member of Treasure Coast Classical Academy in Martin County. He has advocated for School Choice in the Florida Legislature.
Frost is a business strategy consultant for firms such as ExxonMobil, Biopharma Scientific, Johnson & Johnson.
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