Pawleys Island, S.C. — The first director of the Coastal Montessori Charter School announced recently that he will be leaving at the end of the current school year.
However, the search for a new director to replace Lonnie Yancsurak is just one search that will be taking place in coming months.
The school’s administration will also be searching for African American students to attend the school to help meet requirements mandated by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Currently the school — which serves grades 1-6 — has 144 students, which is only three less than it had when it opened its doors for the first time in August.
That, Yancsurak told the Georgetown County School Board last week, is a good testament to the school because he expected more students would have left because the teaching style is so different than traditional schools.
Another bit of good, he said, is 120 of the current students have already committed to returning for the school’s second year. And, Yancsurak said, there are students on a waiting list for next year.
The bad news is none of them are African Americans.
The state requires a charter school’s racial makeup to be within 10 percent of the racial makeup of the district in which it is located. In this case, the school’s student body would need to be at least 40 percent African American.
The law does give an exemption if a school can prove it made every attempt to meet that enrollment requirement.
Even though the racial makeup was not where it should be to start the school, the Justice Department approved the charter but said it would be watching to see if efforts are being made to bring racial balance to the school which currently shares a campus with Waccamaw Middle School.
Yancsurak said a committee is being formed where people will brainstorm to try to find ways to try to increase the African American enrollment.
He said once the school moves to its new location farther south, it will be closer to larger African American populations which should help.
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Yancsurak was hired in April 2012 to help open the new school which began classes in August.
In an email sent out by Yancsurak, known around the school as Mr.Y, he says he has “mixed emotions” about leaving after one year on the job. He will remain until the current year concludes.
“I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished together in such a short time, but after much consideration, I have decided that the time is right for me to pursue other endeavors,” Yancsurak wrote.
He said he will continue to try to help the school “move forward” the rest of the year and will “work very closely with the board to ensure a smooth transition to the next school leader.”
Before moving to the Waccamaw Neck, he taught at other schools across the country, including in Los Angeles high schools.
He also spent a decade working in various industries including retail management, financial services, Internet marketing, and management consulting.
His wife, Shannon gave birth to a daughter in December.
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