Saltus Upper Primary School Head Resigns

August 11, 2015

[Written by Don Burgess]

The shock resignation of a beloved school head has a school rearranging the staff to not prevent disruption to the students for the coming term.

Saltus Upper Primary Director, Tracy Renaud, has taken a P6 teaching position at BHS. She is the fourth member the 11-person Senior Leadership Team at Saltus to resign since last year.

The others are Head Claire Charlemagne, who announced her own unexpected resignation in May; Julia Boyd as Director of Finance and Operations; and Jane Hizer as Director of Educational Technology.

Some parents have expressed concern over the number of changes.

Returning Head, Ted Staunton, says there is no need for alarm. While Mr. Staunton is replacing Ms. Charlemagne, he was the school’s head from 2009 to 2013.

He said: “I appointed Tracy Renaud to the position of Upper Primary Director in 2010 so I consider her a friend as well as a former colleague. We’re on very good terms, but she wanted a change of scenery… and she’s taken a one-year teaching position at BHS.”

Today, an e-mail went to staff and parents announcing that Shelly Sayers will be moving from Director of Lower Primary to become the Director of Upper Primary. She will be replaced in that position by her former Assistant Director, Jeanne Bean.

Mr. Staunton said Mrs. Sayers was the Upper Primary Director previously so she is a known quantity on short notice.

“She knows the parents; she knows the staff; she knows the personalities.”

Mr. Staunton added that Deputy Head of School, Chris Latimer, will assist the directors of Upper and Lower Primary in their new roles.

Mr. Staunton added: “He’ll float back and forth between the departments, but he won’t change his title, he will still be Deputy Head.

“I was a huge supporter of Claire Charlemagne in her application for Headship. I thought she was the perfect answer for the next stage. A lot of changes took place during my time and she was to continue the strategic plan after I left.

“Her husband wanted to take his law degree and she looked favourably on an appointment in the UK. When an opportunity to take over a school in England came, she took it.

“The expectation was for her to spend a longer time than two years. When she resigned suddenly in May, the Board [of Trustees] looked for that continuity that existed before and gave me a shout and here I am.”

He said the school will not have to go through any major adjustments as the Saltus community knows him and he is well aware of how things work at the school.

Mr. Staunton said people will often look for new challenges in their careers so there isn’t any concern about the recent staff changes at Saltus.

“There are no issues behind the departures, it’s just one of those things,” Mr. Staunton said. “The Leadership team has increased in numbers since I formed it. I don’t personally feel we are going to suffer. I’ve had a lot of experience in dealing with these kinds of situations where a number of people move on.”

He said Ms. Boyd was preparing for her transition from Saltus so her “departure was not a huge shock.”

Bermudian, Chrystal Gatare, is the new Director of Finance and Operations.

A couple of parents, prior to the email going out, reached out to Bernews with concerns, particularly over the resignation of Mrs. Renaud.

One said: “This is a shock. My family loved Mrs. Renaud. We thought she had a good grasp of what the students needed and now we’re going to be dealing with two new Heads.”

Another said: “My friend, who has a student, at BHS said she’s [Ms. Renaud] gone over there to teach on a temporary basis and it just doesn’t make sense. We thought things were starting to turn the corner with the return of Mr. Staunton, and now we have to suffer with this blow. The amount of change has me concerned about my child’s long-term education at Saltus.”

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Comments (17)

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  1. Terry says:

    Ching ching.

  2. shocking says:

    Why so liberal use of the word shock? I am a parent and am very happy indeed with the replacements and realise that in any large institution there is turnover of staff, In mr Staunton we have an extremely safe pair of hands.

    • Truth says:

      It is a shock because Mrs. Renaud was a dedicated staff member who spent almost 20 years working for Saltus. She devoted all of her time, love and support to that school. Do you really think someone who spent 20 years building their career and suddenly decided to leave was just a case of natural “turnover”? If you only knew.

      As for your other point, you are correct, you are NOW safe in the hands of Mr. Staunton.

    • Saltus Parent says:

      I was shocked as Mrs. Renaud is well loved by the parents and children. This is a sad day for my family. Why did she ‘resign’ after the school year ended? I was happy when it was announced that Mr. Staunton was coming back and thought things were turning around at Saltus but the loss of Mrs. Renaud is a step backwards.

  3. not surprised says:

    For many of us, it has been clear for a long time that Tracy had a target on her back. We all thought she was in the clear when The Head resigned. Seems Charlemagne got her final wish. Saltus’ loss is BHS’ gain.

  4. Ex Parent says:

    Disappointed but not surprised to see this, but I doubt it was Ted Staunton’s doing. From what I understand, the last two years have been not too cool for most Saltus staff and administrators. Maybe she had just had enough. She was a lovely person.

  5. Observer says:

    Saltus needs to be VERY good at its next Head search. They need someone who understands the Bermuda market AND independent schools. Aside from the retiring Heads of Warwick and Somersfield there is no one on island to fit that bill, aside from some very talented teachers from private schools OUTSIDE of Saltus or the public system (no internal candidate will be capable of taking this on). If they fail to make a good selection they will assuredly see many more dramatic and drastic changes.

  6. If only!!! says:

    If only the truth could come out…… everyone would understand. In the absence of the truth, let’s just move on.

  7. Seascape says:

    I hope Staunton doesn’t stay too long. I don’t think he connects with the students too much. I got the feeling he only cares about the students that have high grades and not encourage those that need assistance to succeed.

  8. Well Done BHS says:

    BHS has landed a star. If they are smart, they will create a full time position for Mrs Renaud. Huge loss for Saltus. It amazes me how the previous Head of School (non-Bermudian) was able to get away with the way she treated staff at Saltus, and then jet back to England (after only 2 years) without having to face the repercussions of her actions. Bermuda is a small island, and many people know the real truth. Karma – watch out for it Charlemagne.

  9. Kevin says:

    what is amazing is that the school is willing to shrug this off as a change of scenery . somebody has to grow a set of Bxlls and ask the hard questions
    WHY ? why would a highly qualified professional who loves their job and whose students and parents adore her LEAVE to take up a fill in teaching position.WHY ?
    Parents ask questions you will get answers …how can this be acceptable ….. No one should be able to fabricate information and get away with it .. NO ONE…even if they run off to the UK …Carma is a XXXXX and trust me it is a real thing…Tracy good luck the Saltus hiarchy don’t deserve you …sadly the students do

  10. Teacher in the know!!! says:

    I agree totally with Kevin. All those good remarks about TR don’t add up. Plus, how come She couldn’t win with the supposedly best lawyer in Bermuda?

  11. Wondering says:

    Wondering why TR was overlooked? Respected by parents, strong and independent with leadership qualities, popular with students.