Acting principal named for Rock Terrace School -- Gazette.Net


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An acting principal has been named for Rock Terrace School in Rockville as investigations continue to look into how the school’s staff handled money that students earned in a work-study program.

Katherine Lertora, currently the coordinator/administrator at the Stephen Knolls School in Kensington, will temporarily take the spot left open by Dianne G. Thornton, who will retire effective Aug. 1, said Dana Tofig, a spokesman for Montgomery County Public Schools.

The search process for a permanent principal will start during the winter, he said.

Tofig said last weekthat he could not comment on whether Thornton’s retirement was related to the investigation, saying it was a personnel matter.

In a letter to school staff, students, parents and guardians on Thursday, Associate Superintendent for High Schools Christopher Garran said interviews for the permanent principal are planned for the spring of 2014.

“At that time, I will work with the community in order to review the process for principal selection and to bring together an interview team consisting of staff, parents and central office representatives,” Garran said in the letter.

The school system and the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office are investigating the school after parents raised allegations that staff misappropriated funds their children earned.

The Rockville school serves developmentally disabled students.

An initial investigation by the school system found the work-study program at Rock Terrace School was “poorly managed” and “money was inappropriately used,” according to a Thursday letter from Garran to the school’s parents.

However, no fraudulent activity by school staff had been found, the letter said.

Student bank account records at the school were found “incomplete” and the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office will request account records from the Educational Systems Federal Credit Union using subpoenas, the letter said.

lpowers@gazette.net