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Academia Antonia Alonso Charter seeks more Odyssey resignations over controversial comments

Joe Irizarry
Delaware Public Media

An Odyssey Charter School Board member resigned over controversial remarks at a recent board meeting.

But Academia Antonia Alonso Charter School board members say that is not enough.

"We need all of the Odyssey Charter school board members and administrators who engaged in the conversation to resign immediately,"said Academia Antonia Alonso Charter School Board member Celeste Payne, calling this week's resignation of Michael Klezaras an inadequate response.

Payne and others spoke at a Wednesday night rally decrying statements made at an Odyssey Charter School Board meeting last month. They included joking about “build[ing] a wall” between Odyssey and Academia Antonia Alonso, a dual-language charter school next door.   

Academia Antonio Alonso School Board President Maria Alonso says she has heard personally from Klezaras.

"I received a letter of apology from Michael Klezaras, the board member that has been scapegoated by Odyssey leadership and has been asked to resign," said Alonso. "It is heartbreaking. That man is broken. The actions of the current leadership to scape[goat] you, Mr. Klezaras, is unconscionable, unjust, and frankly cowardly."

Alonso is pleading with Odyssey Board President Josiah Wolcott to do more.

"Please do the right thing," said Alonso. You know the members that need to step down, until then we will not go silent. We will not stop. We are moved to action to continue to speak up until what is right is done."

Alonso adds high school students at Odyssey walked out of school in protest for an hour last Friday, then walked to Academia Antonia Alonso at the end of the school day with some teachers holding encouraging signs and banners. 

The school’s executive director Mercedes Alonso adds the Odyssey Board is taking the easy way out.

"And it feels unkind, unskillful, and unwise for the Odyssey board to scapegoat one man," said Alonso.

Odyssey Board President Josiah Wolcott says filling Klezaras’ board position is up to AHEPA, a Greek men’s fraternal organization that helped launch the school, and he hopes it’s done quickly.

The state Department of Education put Odyssey on formal review Friday and Education Secretary Susan Bunting condemed the comments made at the board meeting.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.
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