Is Marcos Martinez, principal at the Ricardo Flores Magon Academy and the subject of our recent feature "A Hard Line," on his way out as head of the Westminster charter school?
Westword just received word that Martinez, chess instructor Dominic Martinez and director of curriculum and instruction Gabriela Guzman are currently on leave.
Virginia Longoria, chairwoman of the school's board of trustees, sent a brief statement via e-mail. "Marcos Martinez, Gabriela Guzman and Dominic Martinez are all on voluntary leave with pay while the Board of Trustees examines allegations regarding operations at the school," she wrote. "The school will not be making any further comment at this time."
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It's not clear which allegations Longoria is referring to, but there have been many. Former teachers told Westword that Martinez runs the school as if he's a dictator. They say he fires teachers who disagree with him and chastises parents who do the same. One former teacher has filed a lawsuit against him, alleging that he discriminated against her because, although she herself is Latina, she is married to a white man and uses his last name.
Parents have voiced concerns, too. Some have circulated a petition seeking to oust Martinez that claims he is "intimidating" and "lacks proven skills to communicate." It also says he is "not objective and allows personal feelings to obscure what is best for the students." The parents claim that those who signed the petition are no longer allowed in the school. When contacted about the petition, Martinez declined to comment.
The school's charter is up for renewal this year. The nine-member board of the Charter School Institute is scheduled to vote on whether to renew it on February 21.
More from our Education archive: "Ricardo Flores Magon Academy: Why was embattled school named for anarchist writer?"