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Education

Odyssey Charter School experiences major board shake-up

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Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media
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Four new members take their seats on the Odyssey board Wednesday, following four resignations in the last week

The Odyssey Charter School board saw a major transformation during its meeting Wednesday. The shake-up comes as the board tries to move on from a racially tinged controversy. 

Four new members were approved to join the Odyssey board Wednesday. The additions follow four resignations in the past week.

Odyssey’s board has been criticized for recorded comments by members about building a fence or wall between the Greek-themed charter school and neighboring Academia Antonia Alonso, a dual-language Spanish-English charter school. 

Odyssey teacher and former board member Tami Sotlow says she was not at the meeting — but decided to resign Tuesday. 

“I think that every single board member needs to resign because they either made the insensitive comments, they either laughed at them, they either chose to not stop them, or not even correct those comments,” she said. 

John Nicholson, who said he suggested building a fence in the parking lot to resolve parking disputes with La Academia as a board member last month, resigned during the meeting. He nominated Odyssey parent Rodrigo Torres to replace him. 

“This whole incident has emphasized the need for diversity on the Odyssey board,” he said. “Many people have commented on how the Odyssey board should reflect the diverse environment that our students see. When we interviewed Mr. Torres, his resume was outstanding … The opportunity to add his diverse voice to the board was something I felt I could do.”

Odyssey is under formal review by the state for the comments and possible failure to fulfill probation conditions imposed last summer related to board composition. 

With Wednesday’s board nominations approved, members not connected to the Greek fraternal organization known as AHEPA, which helped launch the school, now hold the majority of seats.  

Odyssey Greek program teacher Eva Jannelli and parents Rodrigo Torres and Erin Allard were approved to join the board by the non-AHEPA members after being interviewed by a non-AHEPA nominating committee. Parent Sandra Johnson was appointed by AHEPA. 

The board amended its bylaws late last year so that AHEPA-affiliated members can no longer hold a majority of the seats. 

Two board positions remain vacant. 

 

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