Attendees at a school board meeting in Florida erupted in applause earlier this week after a long-serving principal, who fell for an internet scam that nearly cost the school $100,000, announced that she would resign.
Jan McGee had served as the principal of Burns Science and Technology Charter School since it opened about 12 years ago. The STEM-oriented school — located in Oak Hill, Florida, about 25 miles south of Daytona Beach — serves about 1,000 students from kindergarten through 12th grade and has built such an impressive reputation that it has a wait list described by various outlets as “lengthy” and “huge.”
As a charter school, BST is publicly funded and does not charge students tuition but does accept private donations. Its administrators are tasked with stewarding all of those school funds to the best of their ability.
Sadly, Principal McGee’s best was not good enough. Several months ago, McGee began corresponding with an individual she believed to be billionaire tech titan Elon Musk. McGee attempted to cultivate a professional relationship with this individual in the hopes of securing a multimillion donation to the school, which the individual promised to give. All that he asked in return was an initial investment of $100,000.
Despite warnings from colleagues that McGee was falling for an internet scam, McGee dipped into the school’s coffers and cut the individual a check for $100,000. Fortunately, the school’s business manager, currently listed as Brent Appy on the school’s website, doubted that McGee had been working with Musk and canceled the check before it could be cleared. It was a smart move, as the individual was not Musk and likely had no intention of donating millions of dollars to BST.
At a packed school board meeting on Tuesday, concerned parents and school staff members gathered to discuss McGee’s professional judgment as well as her temperament. Some even claimed that McGee created a “toxic work environment,” though no further details about those allegations were reported.
Faced with apparently severe opposition, McGee tendered her resignation on the spot. “I love this school more than anything else. If it means your administration is going to stay, I’m turning in my resignation,” she stated as the crowd applauded in approval.
As of Wednesday morning, McGee is still listed as principal and CEO on the school’s website. It is unclear who will replace her, though the school has two assistant principals and an interim high school principal on hand.
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