AEA joins ousted LEAD Academy principal in job dispute

AEA joins ousted LEAD Academy principal in job dispute
Dr. Nicole Ivey was the principal at Montgomery's LEAD Academy for approximately a month before the charter school announced she was no longer an employee, something she is disputing. (Source: LEAD Academy)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Education Association is disputing Dr. Nicole Ivey’s employment status with Montgomery’s first public charter school, LEAD Academy.

Ivey had been the principal for just a month before LEAD confirmed Monday it was parting ways with her. AEA contends LEAD’s board of directors has not met to take any action on her employment and says she has not resigned.

“I was hired to be the principal of LEAD Academy, but all major decisions were and are made by Charlotte Meadows and Soner Tarim, the consultant hired by her," Ivey said through a statement released late Tuesday afternoon by the AEA. “Meadows asked me to resign shortly after I engaged in a series of discussions with officials at the State Department of Education about LEAD’s lack of compliance with multiple state laws applicable to charter schools regarding student health, safety, and financial accountability.”

Ivey went on, "After speaking with those officials, I was called in last week by Meadows and told they ‘want to go in a different direction.’ I refused to engage in illegal activity and am confident that the truth will come out as this matter moves forward.”

WSFA 12 News has reached out to Meadows and LEAD Academy for reaction to Ivey’s claims, and received this statement Tuesday night:

“It would be inappropriate for us to comment on a personnel matter at this time. We will be holding a Board meeting tomorrow night at 6 p.m. at the school to discuss this further.”

Ivey is still listed on the school’s website as its principal and the next scheduled meeting of the board isn’t until Oct. 14.

In her Monday statement announcing Ivey’s departure, Meadows said she would not speak on the circumstances surrounding the departure but could say the board is already searching for her replacement.

Before being hired by LEAD back in April, Ivey served as the principal of Park Crossing High School in Montgomery as well as Central Middle School in Coosa County.

The AEA said in a statement that it is “focused on ensuring that Dr. Ivey’s rights are respected by LEAD,” and added that “it will also carefully examine the school’s legal compliance in general.”

LEAD Academy is in its first year and currently teaches students in grades K-5 with plans to add more grade levels in the future.

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