PORT CHARLOTTE — The principal of Charlotte County’s alternative high school has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of an investigation into allegations that he altered student grades, according to district officials.
Officials said last week that Ron Schuyler, principal of the Academy at Charlotte Technical Center, had been reassigned to the purchasing department in December, but Superintendent Doug Whittaker said Monday that the investigation was moving along so quickly there was no need for him to be reassigned.
“That was just one of the options we were looking into,” Whittaker said.
Schuyler could face anything from a verbal reprimand to suspension or termination, pending the outcome of the case, according to Mike Riley, spokesman for Charlotte County Public Schools. In addition to the grade-altering accusations, Schuyler is under investigation for what Whittaker called “interpersonal issues” with staff.
Schuyler has been principal of the the Academy since 2005, and the recent allegations are the first roadblock in what his personnel file shows has been an ambitious path.
In a letter of recommendation from 2011, April Prestipino, director of student services, said, “Ron has been preparing his entire career for a position such as the director of secondary learning. Even from his early days of teaching in middle school positions.”
A review of Schuyler’s file revealed nearly perfect evaluations over the years, including his stints as an assistant principal at Lemon Bay High School (2000-2002) and Charlotte High School (2002-2005).
Donna Widmeyer, assistant superintendent for school support, wrote in a letter to Schuyler that his first year as principal at the Academy was nothing short of “incredible.”
“I asked you to fill the school — you did,” she wrote. “I asked you to make strong connection with faculty and students — you did; I asked you to listen and communicate — and you did. Clearly you have done everything that was asked of you and more.”
When reached by phone Monday, Schuyler said he would not comment on the allegations against him until after the investigation was complete.
Barbara Melanson, director of human resources, said Schuyler has never had any prior disciplinary issues.
Schuyler is the second Charlotte County educator in recent memory to face allegations of inappropriately changing grades.
Charlotte High School teacher Jeff Spires was suspended without pay in 2011 after a student accused him of selling grades. Spires resigned before the district could finish its investigation.