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story.lead_photo.caption File Photo/NWA Democrat-Gazette/DAVID GOTTSCHALK Christine Silano is shown in this Feb. 14, 2017 file photo.

SPRINGDALE -- The founding head of the city's first open-enrollment charter school resigned last week.

Christine Silano led the Ozark Montessori Academy since its opening in 2015. She declined to comment on the reasons for her departure when reached Thursday.

"It's been a tough week," she said.

Ben Temple, president of the School Board, wrote in an email the board held a special meeting Jan. 4 to discuss a performance evaluation of Silano. That discussion was held in executive session. When the board returned to open session, Silano tendered her resignation, and the board voted unanimously to accept it.

Temple declined further comment.

A Jan. 5 post on the school's Facebook page, attributed to the board, thanked Silano for her work over the past three years and for her vision in founding the school.

"We wish her the very best in her future endeavors," the post stated.

Barb Padgett has been named interim superintendent for the remainder of the school year. She will serve in that role in addition to her role as school principal.

The school hired Padgett on a part-time basis as co-principal last semester. She became the school's full-time principal last month, she said.

Padgett served 10 years as principal of Arkansas Arts Academy's high school, a charter school in Rogers, before resigning from that position in August. The Arts Academy board explained the move as being "in the best interest of the school community."

Ozark Montessori Academy is on Holcomb Street in downtown Springdale. As an open-enrollment charter school, it is a public school without a defined geographic area from which it draws students. Students apply and are chosen by lottery to attend.

The school had 215 students enrolled in grades kindergarten through eight as of Friday, according to Padgett.

The state Department of Education placed the school on probation in 2016 for violating state accreditation standards for class sizes in first through third grades, according to information from the department. State standards require an average student-teacher ratio of 23 students per teacher and no more than 25 students in any one classroom.

NW News on 01/14/2018

Print Headline: Springdale charter school's founder resigns

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