Updated 7/15/15. On multiple occasions we requested comment – confirmation, denial or statement – from Ms. English’s layers re: rumors that Elizabeth English is to resign as head of Archer School sometime this summer. The attorneys offered no corrections of any of the facts giving rise to the speculation (see below) but did say that any statement that Ms. English’s departure is “imminent” is false. This careful response seems to strengthen speculation that the resignation of Elizabeth English is likely. It seems the resignation is only a question of when, not whether.
Here are the underlying facts that do not seem to be in dispute:
- Shortly after the end of the last semester, there were major personnel changes including:
- The school created two new jobs as the middle school and high school directors (Ms. Pav and Ms. Coyne) were promoted to the positions of Assistant Head of School (a possible interim leadership solution when/if English goes)
- Ms. English’s long time secretary resigned.
- Two key fund-raising personnel and the communications/public relations manager quit or were terminated.
- Ms. English’s daughter graduated this semester. She will attend college in Philadelphia leaving Ms. English who has always preferred the northeast no family reason to stay.
- The school faces mounting problems for which Ms. English is accountable:
- 1) major fiscal challenges both with or without approval of expansion project.
- 2) new and persistent litigation possibilities relating to alleged leadership abuses.
- 3) Credible and persistent rumors of
- Major morale problems throughout faculty and staff relating to Ms. English’s leadership style (including no consultation with key stakeholders on major changes listed above).
- Rising parent and student unrest about the lack of transparency re: negative impact of construction and lack of candor re: revisions.
- The Board is not eager to renew her contract.
- The school is unexpectedly liable for costs and attorney’s fees from the Josephson v,. Archer lawsuit somewhere between $300,000 and $400,000.
- Apparently the Archer Board was convinced by legal counsel that Josephsons would be forced to pay all fees incurred and that an insurance carrier would would pay whatever was not paid by Josephsons. The Arbitrator’s Final Award denying all Archers claims (including award of fees and costs) and damning her criticism of the reasonableness, good faith and necessity of of the fees has made this scenario no longer likely.
- Apparently the bulk of lawyers’ bills remain unpaid and Archer does not have the money (especially in light of continuously escalating costs to get approval of expansion project).
- Board dissatisfaction with status of Archer Forward project including costs already spent or owed approaching $10 million to attain approval of a watered down plan. The cumulative impact of concessions to gain approval so substantially dilutes the intended benefits of the project, increased fund-raising shortfalls and diminished the prospects of raising funds needed to commence and complete construction.
- Add to this a possible parent rebellion as they realize the enormous inconvenience of the project to their kids (www.josephsonvsarcher.com/what-archer-is-not-telling-parents/ www.josephsonvsarcher.com/archers-ill-conceived-expansion/ Ms. English’s departure would give the Board a credible excuse to abandon the building project.
- Rumors that several Board members have or will resign and that others are weary of the continued leadership shortcomings including potential new litigation that could subject the school (and the Board) to additional bad publicity and legal liability (including actions relating to continuing ban on entire Josephson Family and court ordered sanctions re: harassing litigation strategy). See for example, www.josephsonvsarcher.com/josephson-family-banned/