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Lunger to lead charter schools on interim basis

August 6, 2014
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

The ink on the resignation letter of the former charter schools superintendent was barely dry before the charter school board decided on her successor.

It's just that her term may only last 30 days.

Former North Fort Myers High School and current Oasis High School Principal Kim Lunger was named interim "administrator" of Cape Coral charter schools after the board voted 5-2 to put her in charge during a special meeting of the charter school board Tuesday at City Hall.

This came after the board voted unanimously to accept the resignation of Angela Pruitt, who will step down effective Friday to return to the Lee County School District.

That didn't stop Pruitt from putting in her two cents regarding who her immediate successor should be.

The board extended its well wishes to Pruitt, who passed on the accolades to the staff, parents and students of the charter school system, adding that she would help in the transition period.

It soon became apparent that board wanted the transition period to begin immediately, since the school year is set to begin in less than two weeks.

Two former board members gave their accolades to Steve Hook, Oasis Elementary School principal since 2005, who nearly became superintendent last year.

"We had a strong second candidate last year. It's not in the best interests of the system to go through the three-month process again," former board member Kevin McGrail said, with Gayle Hoffman echoing those sentiments, as well as fears that hiring an outside candidate would result is losing them eventually due to money.

Daryl Teblum expressed concern that by going through the process all over again, the vetted candidate would probably not be able to start until early next year.

"It will affect the pool if you get somebody walking away from the job at the beginning of the school year," Teblum said.

Hook, who went through the vetting process last year, said his heart has always been in the charter school system, of which he is a charter member as an administrator.

"I've had a great passion for this system and I'm interested in what's best for the charter schools," Hook said. "I want what's best for kids and that's why I've been in education for 35 years."

Robert Zipkovic, the non-voting parent representative on the board, warned that the board didn't have to rush to put someone in charge.

"You must keep the best interests of the system in mind, not what's easy and convenient," Zivkovic said.

Pruitt suggested Lunger, who has been at Oasis since 2012 and was unable to attend the meeting.

City Councilmember Lenny Nesta said the board wasn't ready to vote for an interim superintendent and that the board had gotten off track. Still, after a vote to call to question passed, the board made Lunger the interim leader until the regular meeting in September.

At that time the board can decide to keep Lunger on or find someone new at that time.

"Lunger is an excellent administrator. My concern is that they should have found someone who wanted the job for more than a month," McGrail said. "Ultimately, they'll be in the same position a month from now."



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