Bridges Prep approves bylaw changes, prepares for board elections

sbowman@beaufortgazette.comOctober 25, 2013 

After what might be called a tumultuous start to its first school year, Bridges Preparatory School is now moving forward full steam ahead, school officials said.

The school's planning board recently approved bylaw amendments to Bridges' charter, the school soon will hold its first board elections, and a search for a new head of school has started.

This action comes in the wake of the resignation of Bridges' first head of school on Sept. 6. After she quit, Melesia Walden explained in an email to staff that she could not continue to work with what she called a micro-managing board.

Longtime educator Bernie Schein was named Walden's interim replacement but has said he doesn't want the job permanently.

At a board meeting Oct. 17 at the Beaufort Boys & Girls Club, where Bridges holds some of its classes, the board decided to create a committee to begin the search for the new head of school. The committee will be made up of a parent, a community member, a teacher and two board members, according to board chairman Charlie Calvert.

Appointments to that committee have not yet been made, Calvert added.

First, the school will hold elections to seat new board members. At last Thursday's board meeting, the current board accepted a slate of eight candidates, picked by a nominating committee from among a pool of 34 candidates.

The candidates include parents Brant Huff, Eve Miller, Ashley Parker and John Payne; and community members Stacey Atkinson, James LaPolla, Johan Peers and Mary Hope Roseneau.

Some parents have asked that teachers be represented on the board, but Calvert has said he hopes to create faculty liaison positions on the board.

Four of the eight slated candidates will be elected. The ballots will be mailed home to parents and staff on Monday to vote and will be due back by Nov. 12, Calvert said.

The number of seats on the board up for grabs was recently decided when the board unanimously approved several bylaw changes at its Oct. 17 meeting. The amendments allow three current board members to remain; four seats will be open to election by parents and staff. The new members will serve two-year terms, and the three remaining members will each serve a one-year term to be up for election next year.

The bylaws also stated those three holdover seats would be appointed by a majority vote of the board. Calvert said the board has not voted to appoint anyone yet, but it will do so at a future meeting.

Current board vice chair Blair Williams and board member Sharlene Smith have said they are rotating

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