Teachable Moment: An Update on the Weems Charter School Story

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In December, we offered a peek inside the confused innards of the Weems School, a Tremont charter that shut down in 2008 amid a flurry of unpaid bills and angry employees (“The Weems Way,” December 29, 2010). At the center of the collapse was the school’s boss, Ruby Weems.

Since the story ran, the Weems wackiness keeps on coming. Scene recently discovered a “letter of admonishment” sent to Weems by the Ohio Department of Education. Dated summer 2010, the document stems from the state auditor’s dizzying peek into the books from the Weems School’s 2006 year.

“If you engage in any further conduct unbecoming to the teaching profession,” the letter reads, “the State Board may initiate disciplinary proceedings to revoke, limit, or suspend your teaching credential(s).”
But the rebuke didn’t deter the Cleveland public schools from courting Weems, who serves as an “action team coach,” according to schools spokeswoman Roseann Canfora.

It’s an administrative gig in which Weems works with principals to execute, in the district’s words, “a program of job-embedded, ongoing, and customized professional development for overall school improvement.” In other words: Go figure out what the #$&%@ keeps going wrong.

Weems’ new boss, Chief Academic Officer Eric Gordon, is aware of her state-issued beatdown.

“[Gordon] is very happy with her work, and her past financial problems weren’t an issue for him because she was not going to be doing any financial dealings here,” Canfora says.

And if the Weems tradition continues, she won’t be doing much in the way of educating either. — Kyle Swenson

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