New high school principal for Kestrel Heights
Veteran educator David “Dave” Malechek has been named high school principal of Kestrel Heights School.
The school’s Board of Directors announced the hire in an email to parents this week.
According to the email, which parents shared with The Herald-Sun, Malechek will also serve as interim executive director of the K-12 public charter school while its board searches for a permanent leader.
Malechek replaces school founder Tim Dugan as high school principal and Richie Mitchell as executive director.
The board did not renew Dugan’s contact, and the circumstances under which Mitchell, who was also Kestrel Heights’ middle school principal, left are unclear.
A note sent to Mitchell’s email address earlier this week returned a message informing the sender that Mitchell is no longer with the school and that the email has been forwarded to Joe Bunch, interim director.
The return message has since been changed to say that Bunch will receive correspondences sent to Mitchell’s email address and that Bunch and Samantha Villegas are currently serving as interim co-principals of the middle school.
The board’s decision not to renew the contracts for Dugan and two teachers led dozens of students to boycott morning classes last month and also to hold a rally in protest.
A group of parents has been critical of the Board of Directors, complaining that the board doesn’t follow the state’s Open Meeting laws, is not transparent in its decision-making and generally works to impede progress and is unresponsive to the concerns of students, teachers and parents.
On Wednesday, one parent cited the hiring of Malechek as another example of the board not being transparent or consulting with parents before key decisions are made.
“This was never voted on at any of the meetings I attended,” said Scott Haden, the parent of a Kestrel Heights junior. “Not one word was said about this principal. It was just sprung on us all of a sudden.”
In its message to parents announcing Mitchell’s departure, the board said its search for a new executive director would include parents.
“The Board of Directors wants participation from parents and students in the hiring process as we seek new leadership,” the board wrote in that email. “In doing so, we shall ask the short list of potential candidates to meet with parent and students in a facilitated forum to discuss how they would move the school forward.”
Malechek, according to the email shared by parents, has more than 30 years of experience in elementary, middle and high school, and on the collegiate level in North Carolina and Virginia.
In 2011, Malechek served as the interim principal of Jordan High School following his retirement from Matthews High School in Virginia.
He was an assistant principal at Northern High School from 1993 to 1998 and also served as an as assistant principal at Green Hope and Leesville Road high schools in Wake County.
“Mr. Malechek also brings his substantial experience in program development, school-wide technology implementation/integration, and school reform,” the email said. “Of note, he has increased end-of-grade testing results, implemented transitional programs for new high school students, and facilitated multiple leadership seminars.”
Malechek earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Duke University, a master’s in teaching from UNC-Chapel Hill and his principal certification from N.C. Central University.