ARLINGTON -- The superintendent who has helped Jean Massieu Academy, a charter school primarily for deaf children and their families, improve its financial and academic standing with the state has departed the charter school for undisclosed reasons.
School board members this week declined to comment on whether Kathi Johnson, who was hired initially as principal for the 2008-09 school year, was terminated or left voluntarily.
It is unclear exactly when Johnson left her job.
Board members referred questions about Johnson to Board President Jane Ann Shelton, who declined to comment Tuesday.
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"The board won't be making any comment in relation to the personnel situation," Shelton said through a sign-language translator in a telephone interview. "We just don't want anything negative impacting the school."
Johnson could not be reached for comment.
The Texas Education Agency released the school from conservatorship in September after its academic and financial accountability ratings improved to acceptable. But the agency said that more work is needed.
Board member Rebeka Gillilan declined to comment on how Johnson departed but confirmed that she was no longer with the school.
She said the school "was not moving in the direction that we as the board and the rest of the staff and students would like for it to go in."
"I can tell you that, yes, Jean Massieu is doing well, and, yes, improvement has been made," said Gillilan, who estimated enrollment at 175 students. "But there are still things to be done, and we are working on that."
TEA spokeswoman DeEtta Culbertson said the school's accreditation status continues at "accredited probation," and that its financial and academic health will be evaluated again in March.
The academy, which opened in 1999 to serve the deaf, hard of hearing, their siblings and peers, has struggled with student performance in recent years.
The school has had a state-appointed academic monitor and then conservator since the 2007-08 school year to work on student performance.
The state also assigned a financial conservator to help work on a substandard rating in financial accountability for issues that include late filling out of audit data with the state.
Jean Massieu narrowly avoided a state-ordered shutdown on July 1, 2010, but was granted a year of probation to continue working on its problems, which included "a long-standing history of deficits in their leadership and their academic performance and their finances," the state said at the time. State officials, however, credited Johnson's efforts for improvements that were then becoming apparent.
In September the results were sufficient for the state to end the convervatorship, although the school kept the two consultants serving as conservators on duty to help continue the recovery, Gillilan said.
"We as a board decided we needed the input and guidance," she said. "While we have improved in many areas, we want to continue with the improvement."
Robert Cadwallader, 817-390-7641