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Losos hired as curriculum director for Confluence schools

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 19, 2013: Louise Losos, the former principal of Clayton High School whose job as principal of Grand Center Arts Academy was rescinded amid parent protests, was designated Friday as curriculum resource director for Confluence charter schools.

Confluence operates five charter schools in St. Louis, including the arts academy. She will serve in her new job under the earlier contract she signed to be principal at the academy, for $110,000 a year.

Friday's vote by the Confluence board ends, at least for now, the drama that began at the end of May, when Confluence told Lynne Glickert, the arts academy's founding principal, that she would no longer have that job as of July 1.

No specific reasons were given for the decision not to renew her contract beyond "philosophical differences," which Confluence would not detail despite Glickert's signing of an affidavit urging the board to make reasons public.

When word got out that Glickert would not be back and would be replaced by Losos, protests were lodged by students, parents and others who said Glickert should be rehired. At first, the Confluence board said it had reaffirmed her departure but also agreed not to replace her with Losos.

It also agreed to name an advisory committee of parents, board members, teachers and others at the arts academy to serve as a conduit for grievances and ideas about how the academy should operate.

At its first meeting, the committee approved a motion calling for Glickert to be hired as interim principal of the academy. It also asked that the Confluence board look into separating governance of the academy from the governance of its four other schools. The academy is sponsored by Saint Louis University, while the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla sponsors the four other schools.

Once the governance question was settled, the motion said, Confluence should begin a nationwide search for a principal for the arts academy.

When the full board took up the motion, it was changed to an inquiry into whether someone needs to be hired to oversee all five schools, rather than having separate governance for the two different types of schools.

At a closed meeting that same day, the board failed to come to a conclusion on  rehiring Glickert. The following week, the board announced Glickert would be back for one year as interim principal while the nationwide search was conducted.

In a statement announcing the move, Sonya Henry, who chairs the Confluence board, said:

“We’ve reiterated with Ms. Glickert our concerns and will work more closely with her throughout this interim period to address them. But together, Ms. Glickert and the board also recognize that as an organization we can collaborate more, and in doing so we can improve the school, its leadership and governance.”

In the statement, Glickert, who had maintained all along she would welcome returning to the school despite the board’s refusal to renew her contract, thanked the board for the renewed opportunity.

“There is still much to be done to get GCAA ready for school on Aug. 12,” she said, “and I look forward to getting back to work. I can assure the board, the GCAA staff, parents and the incredibly talented GCAA students that I am committed, as much as I have ever been, to continue building on the many successes of this young school."

Glickert will be paid $106,080 for her job as interim principal, up from her previous salary of $104,000.

Losos resigned from her job as principal of Clayton High School last year in a dispute over her use of social media. In exchange for a lump sum payment of $140,000, she agreed not to file suit against the school district or its employees, board members or others relating to her employment or resignation. The district agrees to provide a letter to anyone inquiring in the future about her service at Clayton.

Dale Singer began his career in professional journalism in 1969 by talking his way into a summer vacation replacement job at the now-defunct United Press International bureau in St. Louis; he later joined UPI full-time in 1972. Eight years later, he moved to the Post-Dispatch, where for the next 28-plus years he was a business reporter and editor, a Metro reporter specializing in education, assistant editor of the Editorial Page for 10 years and finally news editor of the newspaper's website. In September of 2008, he joined the staff of the Beacon, where he reported primarily on education. In addition to practicing journalism, Dale has been an adjunct professor at University College at Washington U. He and his wife live in west St. Louis County with their spoiled Bichon, Teddy. They have two adult daughters, who have followed them into the word business as a communications manager and a website editor, and three grandchildren. Dale reported for St. Louis Public Radio from 2013 to 2016.