UPDATED: New Sequoyah Schools superintendent resigns
TAHLEQUAH – Just weeks before school doors are set to reopen, the recently tapped superintendent of Sequoyah Schools has resigned, Cherokee Nation officials said.
Patrick Moore, who began his education career at Sequoyah High School, was one of several CN citizens recently hired to fill key roles in the tribe’s education system.
“While it’s disappointing to be a couple of weeks before the start of the new school year and to have a superintendent resign,” CN Chief of Staff Todd Enlow said, “we also understand that Sequoyah and the decisions being made for the safety of students and their families, our staff and the community amid this public health crisis, may not have been the right fit for Mr. Moore.”
Moore, who has more than 13 years of experience in education as a superintendent, principal, athletic director, teacher and coach, replaced former Superintendent Leroy Qualls, whose employment was terminated on Feb. 3.
When asked by the Cherokee Phoenix for comment, Moore declined.
Corey Bunch, the CN’s new executive director of Education Services, will oversee the superintendent’s duties.
“We certainly wish (Moore) well, and want to assure our parents, students and faculty that we have an experienced administrator, Corey Bunch, stepping in to serve as acting superintendent to lead us through the start of a new and successful school year,” Enlow said.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students spent their final months of the 2019-20 school year distance learning. Fall classes at SHS and the Cherokee Immersion School are scheduled to resume Aug. 24.
The high school’s combination of traditional instruction and an all-virtual option will “limit in-person instruction to no more than 25% of students in the building at any one time to protect against the spread of COVID-19,” according to a CN news release.
Freshmen students will attend on Mondays, sophomores on Tuesdays, juniors on Wednesdays and seniors on Thursdays. Students will all use distance learning on Fridays and all other days that are not in their scheduled rotation, according to the CN.
“In-person instruction days at Sequoyah will be primarily geared toward preparing students for virtual learning, including potential total virtual learning for all students as public health concerns dictate,” the news release states.
Students may also choose an all-virtual option, though administrators urge students to attend at least one in-person session to gain familiarity with virtual learning.
Immersion students will start school via distance learning at home the first nine weeks of the semester “to help protect the fluent Cherokee speaker, elder teaching population,” according to the CN, which notes that additional details will be available soon.
“Delivering education under the circumstances of the worst public health crisis in generations has its challenges,” Enlow said, “and schools across the state are making the best decisions for their students and communities, just as we are. This plan is formed by our Cherokee Nation government offices reopening plan that has worked extremely well for our employees keeping COVID cases from spreading while continuing operations. It’s based off wisdom and experience and will bode well for our student and teacher safety as well.”
As school resumes, extracurricular student activities will also be limited to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Substantially all activities for which proper social distancing and other safety measures cannot be utilized, such as athletics and band, will be suspended during the initial nine-week phase of reopening.
School administrators say they are exploring ways to use technology to make as many extracurricular activities available as possible.
For education updates, check out Sequoyah Schools and Cherokee Immersion School on Facebook.