Cohen ‘Appalled’ by Trustees’ Charges

Yesterday, the Lamplighter board of trustees sent out a missive to parents and faculty laying out their side in what is becoming a very bitter fight. Contrary to what the trustees claim, Cohen never asked to be bought out and will fulfill the remainder of his contract, Cohen writes. The settlement talks were a result of attempts by trustees to force him out, and the signature on the retirement announcement was, indeed, forged. But here’s the note in full:

Dear Lamplighter Community:

I was appalled by the notice that was sent to all of you yesterday by the Lamplighter Board of Trustees.  It not only discusses confidential conversations had in an effort to resolve the dispute between two individual board members and me, but it also is a gross distortion of the facts.  Thus, I feel compelled to set the record straight.  Here are the facts.

It is simply not the case that I asked to be bought out of the last two years of my contract with the School.  I have never resigned my position as Head of School at Lamplighter.  To the contrary, I have consistently informed the new Board chair that I am ready, willing, and able to fulfill the remainder of my contract with the School.  Of course, I do insist that the Board abide by its contractual obligation not to interfere with my administration of the School and its faculty.

It was only after certain members of the Board interfered with decisions I made in the best interests of our School and its students that a controversy arose.  It is important for you to know that when I would not accede to their demands relative to personnel matters, I was informed by Mr. Miller and Ms. Pollock that they wanted me “gone!”
As such, I entered into confidential settlement negotiations in an effort to resolve the current dispute.  But no mutually agreeable settlement agreement was ever reached.

However, that did not stop certain members of the Board from attempting to orchestrate my departure from the School – while confidential settlement negotiations were still ongoing.  Hours after the close of business on Monday, June 14, 2010, counsel for the School sent an e-mail to my counsel informing him that the School would release my alleged “retirement announcement” the following morning.  At the time, I was in Virginia attending my daughter’s wedding.  By the time my counsel notified the School’s counsel that I had not resigned and the release of the draft retirement announcement was not authorized, the School had already disseminated it to the School’s faculty and others in the independent school community.  In fact, the School distributed the announcement before 8 a.m. on Tuesday, June 15, 2010.

To be clear, not only did I not authorize the release of the disseminated “retirement announcement,” I never signed it.  As unbelievable as it may sound, my signature was affixed to the announcement without my knowledge or consent.

Needless to say, I am shocked by the overt attempts to mislead you regarding the facts.  I stand by the claims made in my lawsuit.
Finally, I have never failed to maintain the confidentiality of any student academic records, or to uphold my commitments to the School and the education of its students.



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