Marcos Martinez, the controversial founder of the Ricardo Flores Magon Academy and subject of our cover story "A Hard Line," has resigned. So, too, have two other employees whom the school's board of trustees asked to take a paid leave while they investigated complaints against them. The school is now searching for a new leader.
Meanwhile, it seems that Martinez is making moves in Wyoming.
Liberty's Torch, a monthly newspaper in Cheyenne, recently ran a story about Martinez's efforts to start a branch of the Ricardo Flores Magon Academy there. The story, in which Westword is quoted, says that the Cheyenne school board has approved the charter. Now it's up to the charter's own board to pick a principal for the school, though it seems that Martinez is preparing to run the school himself. He's already changed the name of the school, which Cheyenne Superintendent Mark Stock told Liberty's Torch was something that the board had discussed with him.
"The new name will be the 'Poder Academy,'" Martinez told Liberty's Torch. "'Poder' is Spanish for 'to be able,' and we'll also be using that name as an acronym for 'Proud, Outstanding, Determined, Educated and Responsible.'"
The school in Westminster is named after Ricardo Flores Magon, a Mexican anarchist.
Below, read the resignation letter sent to parents and students at the Westminster school by Martinez, chess instructor Dominic Martinez and director of curriculum and instruction Gabriela Guzman. The letter says the resignations were voluntary.
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To: The Staff, Parents and Children of Ricardo Flores Magon Academy:
It is with a heavy heart that the three of us each announce our voluntary resignations from the Ricardo Flores Magon Academy. We have come a long way together in our pursuit of a better education for the children. We have overcome many obstacles and RFMA is now a model for excellence in education.
We can all be very proud of what we accomplished, but we must now look to the future of the school and the children. We do not want anything to interfere with the children's continued achievements. We wanted to thank each and every one of you for the support, participation and love that you have brought to this school. You have each made our time here rewarding and fulfilling. We will keep you in our hearts wherever life may take us.
With Deepest Thanks, Marcos Martinez, Dominic Martinez and Gabriela Guzman
On March 20, the Charter School Institute's board of directors is scheduled to vote on whether to renew the school's charter, which is set to expire later this year. The board, which approved the school back in 2006, was first scheduled to vote on February 21. But because the school also applied to join Adams County School District 50, in which it is physically located, institute executive director Ethan Hemming says the date was pushed back to give Adams 50 more time to make its decision.
It looks like there won't be any decision, however -- at least not soon. Adams 50 spokesman Steve Saunders sent this note to Westword today: "The superintendent tells me that the Magon board has informed the school district that they are not going to pursue their application with the district at this time. That could change in the future."