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Head of Columbus Charter School Suspended

The recent suspension of Jonah Sims, head of The International School of Columbus, means the charter school is now under the leadership of its fourth head of school in the last two years.

Interim Head of School Alice Taulman said Sims was suspended last week after using profanity at a school convocation.  Robert Marrar directs the Ball State University Office of Charter Schools, which licenses and oversees the ISC.  He said every beginning school has stages of growth where they work out bumps in the road, and that ISC is only in its first stage.

“They kind of look at that as a beginning school and then three to four years look at it as emerging. But by the fifth and sixth year you should be in the right place,” Marrar said.

But Jonathan Plucker, Director of Indiana University’s Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, said being a start-up school doesn’t excuse the problem of high administrative turnover.

“Growing pains is one thing. Four directors in two years is not growing pains; it’s a sign of a larger problem. That’s just tremendous, tremendous administrative turnover from the most important leadership position in the school,” Plucker said.

Taulman, though, said she doesn’t believe the school will up its tally to five directors in three years.

“Jonah is on administrative leave. That doesn’t mean he’s gone and he has a lot of teacher and parent support so it wouldn’t surprise me that he comes back,” Taulman said.

Taulman said a series of meetings will determine if Sims is allowed to resume his duties. A closed executive meeting took place Wednesday night, but a final decision cannot be made until the board has a second, open meeting.

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