FIRST ON 3 UPDATE: Shake-up at Roger Bacon Academy

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Submitted: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 2:16am
Updated: Thu, 10/03/2013 - 7:54pm

LELAND, NC (WWAY) — According to multiple sources, Mark Cramer, headmaster and CEO of the Roger Bacon Academy was recently terminated.

We called the academy twice to ask if they could confirm his departure and to talk with founder Baker Mitchell. Office Manager Jill Applewhite hung up on us twice.

According to an online news release, Cramer was hired in 2000. He was formerly the Administrator and Principal for MBA Academy, a private school serving US citizens in Okinawa, Japan. Before becoming MBA’s Principal, Mr. Cramer retired at the rank of Major after 20 years’ service in the US Marine Corps.

Baker Mitchell has filed a lawsuit against the Brunswick County Schools over a financial debate.

Roger Bacon Academy is an educational management company that operates charter schools. Those charter schools are in-turn funded by state and county tax money. A source close to the situation says the county gives Roger Bacon more than $8,000 per student. However, Greg Katzman, attorney for Roger Bacon, pointed us to a court decision that ruled an allotment for each student is around $3,300 as of 2008.


  • Out of there says:

    As a former employee I know teacher’s and assistants are treated like slaves with very little pay. It has been years since the people who are really working for the children have been given raises. Mr. Cramer would actually say in meetings that when he looked at every child, he saw $. Yes, the ones doing remediation have no education beyond high school, but yet they teach the low children. I am so thankful I got out last year.

  • Ignorant is bliss says:

    I know exactly what training these teacher have and this school is corrupt.So many teachers have felt the brunt of their bullying. They have been taking advantage of EC money for a long time, you just don’t know what they are doing.

  • Lisa Hansen says:

    I just wanna say I been with Roger Bacon for few yrs and it’s wonderful! My son loves his teachers every yr! The teachers are amazing! They truly care for the students! Sat

  • Guest2012 says:

    To say I was shocked to hear this news is an understatement. I guess, as I write this, there are people being fired and others resigning over this decision. My boys go to this school, both since kindergarten and I think that, overall, our experience has been good. My wife is concerned about the limited resources the school has, especially the middle school, in science and computer labs and I’ve always hoped they would do more secondary language, sports other then just football (hate if my elementary school child leaves because there is no baseball for him to play) and “real” computer lab work but I know, when speaking to my boys, what they know and have learned impresses me. My concern about public schools – and I have two family members that are former teachers that have told me this – is the bureaucracy and blotted administration and the over-emphasis in getting students by and teaching to the lowest common denominator, of pushing “political correctness” and agendas instead of ensuring Johnny can read!! Does CDS have problems? Of course they do – I haven’t been pleased at how they have treated some teachers both in pay and when they dare to criticize or get to the point where there salaries make them too expensive too keep. Last year they had a terrible math teacher in middle school that should have been fired at the beginning of the year but was finally let go at the end. So, there are issues but the bottom line is my boys are learning and are inspired by their teachers who challenge them to learn and question. That is truly teaching and learning and will better prepare them for the challenges of the “real” world. I hope CDS weathers this storm!!

  • Getalife says:

    I have kept quiet all week while “former employees” trash talk about this school– I have to say to Out of There as well as other “former employees”- that I am sure they are glad you are gone – with your attitude who would want you there? Makes me question did you leave or get fired?? — Slaves?? REALLY – go back and study history – no one on that campus is forced to stay nor forced to work – they can leave at any time!! The same goes for any parent who is unhappy – take your child and go to another school!!!

    As for your comment about the teachers who teach remediation — you might want to check your facts on that one – you are WAY off base – bet they ALL have more education and experience than you did!!

    It is amazing how so many people have so much to say and yet what they are saying is relatively insignificant!!

  • Newsfinallyreportsontruth says:

    I heard Mark Cramer say this many, many times…..when I see a student, I see a $ sign.

  • Sad parent says:

    Just an FYI- She actually DOES have experience in administration.

  • Barney the purple Dino says:

    So…Laura it’s that you there? Or is this another defensive staff right there on these comments? Let’s talk about how many kids are removed from your program on any given year or how you unlawfully restrain children and DONOT provide appropriate documentation or how you recently added a “sleep closet” where this is a way for your staff to seclude students….come on now let’s put your big girl panties on…be for real….you don’t have to prove anything, but actions speak louder than words…and right now….all of your actions are speaking volumes …..

  • karmaithinkso says:

    I, too, am a former employee, and haven’t spoken up about my experience with CDS because I have several friends still working there.. However, now seems to be an appropriate time to disclose the circumstances of my job loss. My son was born with a life threatening illness, and was in the Pediatric ICU for 2 months. After he was born and we became aware of his health issues, I contacted the school to find out what exactly I had to do to keep my job. I was told by “HR” that I only needed to keep in contact with the Elementary Office Manager, and keep her updated on my son’s progress and my date of return (which I did, even while my son was on life support.) I was told that Cramer ok’d my return to work on the last day of school, that I could be paid for the summer, and return the following school year. A week before that date, I received a call from the Office Manager, asking if Cramer had called me yet (which he had not) and that they had “filled my position because Cramer misunderstood the timeline of my leave.” I then called Cramer and left him several messages, and when he finally called me back, he had the audacity to say that I didn’t know what I was talking about and that I “should have taken more responsibility” – even though I made the effort and followed all instructions I was given WHILE MY NEWBORN SON WAS ON LIFE SUPPORT. In my opinion, the callous and authoritative attitude he presented was despicable, and showed me that he couldn’t care less about the staff. I have kept my negativity to myself for several months now, but feel that those saying, “Cramer will be missed,” don’t really know the real deal. If he has indeed been fired, in my opinion, he has probably gotten what he deserved.

    Aside from this disgusting display, parents should know this: as a Charter School, only 75% of the staff is required to be certified. That means that remediators, interventionists, EC staff, and assistants have little to no certifications or qualifications. Don’t get me wrong.. There are PLENTY of great teachers at CDS. It’s a shame, though, that the staff is told at the beginning of the year, “It’s our way or the highway.” Every teacher is replaceable. My ‘training’ consisted of getting packets of how to read from a script, and direct the students to respond as robots would. There is no time for teachers to really help a student who doesn’t get something, or is falling behind. Surprisingly, there are many parents who send their special needs children here (autistic, ODD, ADD, ADHD, learning disabled) where they DO NOT get the help or attention they need to thrive in a school environment. This is no reflection on the teachers.. They are simply not equipped or trained to handle children with these issues. And to top it off, there is no cafeteria or lunch program for free or reduced lunches, there is no school nurse, and nepotism runs rampant here. Say what you’d like, but these are the things I experienced firsthand at CDS. It’s true that several members of the staff have gone, but mostly by choice.

  • Lelandnite says:

    This school from what I read on here needs to clase. They have to go to the park on 74/7 to practice football on a softball field. This cheats the girls in Leland out of a softball field.. If you are a real school then you should have your own equipment to do sports, not have to go and run off another group of children. And if the teaches are leaving so fast maybe someone to needs to do some checking on what is really going on there.. Public schools make mistakes but parents need to help where ever their child is attending school. People at Roger Bacon think that this school is so much better but no school is better than another,,,,

  • My4babies says:

    I will not say who I am or my title but it was teachers like you who took that EC department for granted. You obviously had no idea what went on over there. There are parents relocating their children from schools in town because of that department and the good they have done. Tell me…if you had a special needs child would you want them sitting in class staring off into space not learning anything? Would you as a teacher be able to keep that kid on track all day everyday? No! Just like every other teacher you have 25 other student to work with also. You have no idea what that department does or what training they’ve had. I didn’t have to show my resume to you or anyone else who didn’t need to know my background.

  • GuestIKNOW2 says:

    Yes. I know about the nepotism. The assistant headmaster at the elementary school does NOT hold an administration license nor the experience. What a joke. Just walk right in and become assistant headmaster…still pondering this one. Nepotism and the fact she won’t cause them any problems by differing in opinion.

  • Concerned Citizen says:

    Someone should look at current stats before writing an article or commenting. The per pupil allotment for 2013-2014 for Charter Day is just shy of $5k. I think the issues presented are at the tip of the iceberg and goes beyond just the management company. Mr. Mitchell directly profits from taxpayer dollars through the management company, he is a walking conflict of interest by owning an educational management company, serving as the board chair of the NC Alliance for Public Charter Schools, and serving on the brand new Charter Advisory Board. Corruption and profiteering at its finest.

  • EC MOM says:

    If “low” children is implying and exceptional child or any child with any difficulty in learning. Then it is disgusting that RBA doesn’t value the education of all children. Every child deserves the opportunity to be educated to their highest potential. EC students deserve to be educated by teachers with college degrees the same as any “typically” developing child. If not more due to the various
    disabilities that may be in one classroom. My child’s needs are addressed in her IEP. If new needs arise then they are addressed and IEP updated. As an “involved” parent, I make sure that her IEP is followed and her needs are met or exceeded. If I am not happy with her education and I don’t voice my complaints. Then there is no one to blame but me. As with any child, the parents are the first and greatest advocate. If I can’t fix it! Then I will find someone who will!

  • jj says:

    Again, you are wrong and don’t know what you are talking about. I coached football out there for two years. They have a very nice area to practice ball.

    Please if you have not clue to what you are posting don’t say a word.

  • 7thgradecountrychick says:

    I am in seventh grade at CDS and l love it!! I have been here since kindergarten so I have very credible sources. Mr. Cramer was a great headmaster!! I dont pretend to know why he was fired but I know at least four other people I have talked to that are in this school have said they wish he didn’t leave.

  • Former student says:

    I am a former student. I attended there for ALL of the years between k-8. I have participated in many of the events involved including archery and football so before you slam me I have acquired more knowledge than I would consider anyone outside of the school and school board would know. The school is a great school. Don’t get me wrong it has problems as does ANY school, organization or other entity. The school is only a school from 7:15 until 3:30 if I remember the lease information. So any restrictions a school has does not apply after that. Yes there is a shooting range. But what makes that different from other schools with JROTC programs? Yes there is an archery range. The archery program is an excellent program I might add. It teaches students morals and at a national level has straightened student out morally and is run through the National Archery in the Schools Program(NASP). The school was established on principles of everything as a military academy WITHOUT the disciplinary actions associated.

    So before you slam a school because of one issue you need to look at the over all outcome of the program.

    PS. Please remember and take note I come out prepared for college because I am currently enrolled at Isaac Bear Early College so I feel I came out pretty well prepared because I am now taking college courses.

  • jj says:

    If they are breaking the law, state or county rules, you are as guilty as they are if you don’t go to the DA of Brunswick County and tell them what you know.

    So, until I see something in the news on this, all I can say is you are making it up and lying.

  • jj says:

    A source close to the situation says the county gives Roger Bacon more than $8,000 per student.

    Come on WWAY, I would think this is public recorders and it would be easy to prove the amount paid. You are a news agent and should know better than put junk up for readers. So, do your job and get the facts.

  • GuestIKNOW2 says:

    Okay. Stay at home mom experience in administration if that counts. My bad. And what did you say her state license was in??????

  • Faith says:

    It is a for profit business…..Mark Cramer said this many times in meetings.
    There’s way more to this story and I’m sure it will all come out…..eventually! Right, Mr. Cramer & Mrs. Nunalee?

  • been there done that... says:

    The “Shake-Up” for RBA or CDS for that matter isn’t that the Superintendent has been fired. The REAL “Shake-Up” is that there has been 14 staff members that have fled from the school in the first 9 weeks. Why you might ask …. it is simple. Not only does the school have a founder that likes to drive through during the football games held at the school in his 100k+ Porsche acting like it is a parade waving and showing off his expensive ride, not even having the decency to get out and say hello to his staff, parents or students, he has employed teachers with criminal backgrounds, children and staff are sitting in classrooms that are infested with mold. Did any parents notice the mold removal truck that was parked on the side of the kindergarten classrooms approximately 2 weeks ago. I find it interesting that New Hanover county is busing students for 2 months to a different school due to mold but the mold is removed from these classrooms in only 3 days? There is so much money brought into this school and not a single raise is offered to any employee. Not only are the staff and teachers paid less than the state average but state benefits aren’t offered because CDS employees are not state employees but no break in the cost of insurance is offered to them because it is all going into Baker Mitchell’s pocket. Teachers are constantly fearing for their jobs. At the end of the year, the administration calls those that are getting fired or who are not being asked to return to clean out their classrooms and personal belongings, often without a simply explanation as to why they are not being asked to return. The turn over at CDS is insane! Mark Cramer was the last individual in administration at this school who appreciated his staff. It is very unfortunate to see this happen to such a generous person. Charter Day School is on a spiraling downfall thanks to the founder Baker Mitchell and his greedy, scandalous, conniving and dishonest ways. I hope the little remaining staff has sense enough to look for another job because this place won’t be around much longer when all of his dirty laundry is hung out to dry but those he has done wrong. Good luck Baker Mitchell, Karma will get you every time.

  • Source-Seeker says:

    Please site your sources Fact-Checker….credible sources, please.

  • Fact Checker says:

    This story has multiple errors:
    (1) Roger Bacon Academy is not a school.
    (2) This story concerns Charter Day School, a North Carolina Charter School. Charter Schools by law are public schools.
    (3) This $8,000 funding number is grossly incorrect, a more accurate number $3,000. Fact is Charter Student receive less money than traditional public students. They actually have to sue the School board to get their money.

  • MadMama says:

    Mr. Cramer remember when you told my son that negative criticism would make a real man out of him. You know the kid that your teacher kept bullying. Calling him the worst reader in the class in front of all the other students. The same teacher who refused to let him go to the bathroom, and who wouldn’t let him call home when he had an accident in his pants because she refused to let him go. Well let’s see if it makes a real man out of you. Let’s see you wear those same dirty underpants in this media spotlight! Karma will get you every time!

  • Guest1313 says:

    My point was….it’s an interesting place. Sorry if it was over your head or you read something into it. I have no problems with a shooting range.

  • 1313 says:

    Interesting place. It’s probably the only school that has a shooting range.

  • Guestrange says:

    The corporation that owns the property has a shooting range, camp ground for Scouts, football field for pop warner and an archery range. So, what’s your point?

  • Durka says:

    Hoggard High School had a shooting range until the late 90’s early 2000’s when they had to expand. We had an armory and everything. What’s your point…oh wait.. you don’t have one. You are just another low information voter.

  • JF says:

    Former RBA Teacher here,…… I left as soon as the school year was finished that year; not my way of teaching at all! The way teachers are treated is crazy here.

  • Ms Frizzle says:

    Every school, teacher, child, and parent perceives education uniquely. Parents teach more to their children by age three than anyone else through: language, human interaction, work ethic, integrity, impulse control, and organization. Students have strengths and weaknesses, areas of interest and different styles of learning. Teachers are trained to differentiate, respect, encourage, and support. Schools focus on technology, procedures, vocabulary, character, and discipline.
    Our goal must be to guide each student through a complex educational experience to become an independent problem solving adult capable of training for, acquiring, and keeping a meaningful job.
    CDS has focused on high quality lesson planning, consistent discipline, communication, and technology. Many of us are pleased with level of support experienced at this middle school.

  • LelandGal says:

    If parents would only put their children in public schools now instead of when they reach the 9th grade. If parents think that something is wrong with the public schools in their area then they need to volunteer at the schools and help to improve them. Instead of running away from the public schools that most went to, they should want to help the schools to get where they think they should be. I volunteered at all 4 school in the Leland area. I made sure that my children got good grades, treated right, played sports and I tried to make sure they stayed on the right track. My children are not perfect and my grandchildren who now attend 3 of the Leland schools are not perfect but they have fun, learn and enjoy where they are at. When listening to the children at the ball parks I hear them saying they want to go to school with their friends in Leland but that their parents tell them that our public schools are not fit for them… HOG WASH….

  • jj says:

    This is a great school and I have seen many kids excel at RBA. In fact I had two sons that went there and I truly believe in their teaching style. I love the way they are taught base on their level. So, if a child is in the 4th grade and they read on a 6th grade level they are taught on that level.

    I will have to say I am not please with some of the staff. There are teachers there that have been fired for poor performance that they have rehired because they need teachers.

  • Lindsey says:

    When you give birth to my children then you may have a say in where they should go to school. Until then my 4 children will attend a charter school.

  • notforeveryone says:

    I must respectfully disagree with you. My child has adhd and was not receiving the help she needed at one Brunswick County public school. I volunteered and I attended countless meetings with the principal, counselor, and her teachers over the course of 3 years. I was very involved in her school and school work. She was miserable and she was failing. I home schooled her for a year and she did very well and scored in the 99th percentile on the Iowa Standardized Test at the end of the year. However, she has asked to return to public school this year and I agreed. She is now at a different school and is doing well so far.

  • Durka says:

    Public schools are failing at an ever increasing rate. They have over bloated admin depts. filled with government employees mandating a government program. You want sheep? Send your kids to follow the herd, mine will be your boss.

  • Proud Parent says:

    It’s always those who have something negative to say that will speak first and loudest. I am a proud parent of an RBA student and the people commenting are correct, RBA is not for everyone, however if you value discipline, strong leadership and your child thriving in a place teaming with teachers who care, then it’s a great place! I have no idea for the reason that Mr. Cramer was released or if it’s even true since it doesn’t sound as though it’s been confirmed but I believe in this school and the people who run it. Thank you all for what you’ve done for my child!

  • proud parent of Brunswick Co public schools says:

    I am proud of my children and the education they receive at a public school in Brunswick County. A school that cannot limit access to their education. There is no “lottery” or wait list for admission. If the class sizes are too large then another class is added for the grade level needed. If school size is too large then proper adjustments are made or new schools added to the county. That is my interpretation of a public school.
    My daughter excels in many subjects. She was one the top recognized science fair projects last year. Does RBA require there students to do science fair projects. I am proud of the person that she is and she thrives in all areas listed at her public school.
    Believe what you will but why should a CDS be any different than any other public school. There should be now difference after all it is a public school funded by the taxpayers. There is no tuition to attend. As far as the “inconveniences” of transportation, lunches… That is the choice of those that choose to send their children there.

  • Southern Child says:

    This is a for profit operation. Ever wonder why it stops at 8th grade? High schools are expensive to run. You have to hire science teachers, foreign language teachers, outfit labs, and purchase works of great literature. Up to 8th grade they can survive on worksheets. Ever wonder why there are few computers at this school for children? Same reason.
    The per pupil expenditure for each child in the school systems in which they live is computed. The individual systems send that amount per child to RBA. RBA does not provide lunch,transportation,or the expensive high school level classes, yet the local systems must send those funds. The RBA hierarchy often touts that they can educate a child more cheaply than the public school. Where did the money they didn’t use go? No doubt into the pockets of that same hierarchy since accountability is not the same for charters as it is for the traditional public school.
    RBA is notorious for letting staff go when they have been there a long time and start commanding higher salaries. Did this same karma come back to haunt Cramer? Who knows. The public never will because charters take your money but don’t have to tell you what they did with it. Just curious, you reckon he will have to return his Hummer bought with monies that should have gone to kids?
    One more thing, buyer beware if you send your child to RBA. I hear they go to high school ill prepared for science and writing. If you envision a college education for your child at a top university in NC, might be better for you to look to the public high school.

  • aparentwithfirsthandexperience says:

    Our two children attended RBA and I can state without reservation that they received an exceptional education. My kids completed their High School English, Algebra I, and Geometry requirements and are at the top of their respective classes in high school. RBA is a tough school, they hold the students accountable, and they encourage the students. RBA requires parents to be involved. RBA is a school of choice. My wife and I experienced gross incompetence and unnecessary layers of bureaucracy at every level of the Brunswick County Public School System. We choose to send our students to RBA.

    Top performing teachers should be paid handsomely and under performing teachers should be terminated. If RBA is to succeed long term they will need to pay their top performing teachers. Competition for failing public school systems is long overdue. Are Charter Schools the perfect solution, heck no, but they are getting more people involved in the education debate and many charter schools are delivering measurable results. Some charter schools have succeeded and some have failed. I can only speak from our experience. Our children are better students because they attended RBA.

    I am hoping that in the long term, non profit charter schools emerge with thin bureaucracies, transparent financials, and well paid teachers.

    Full disclosure, I am pro teacher and anti tenure.

  • Fact Checker says:

    There is litigation concerning this issue. All documents are public record and were supplied to WWAY. However, they have not corrected the information.

  • CDS says:

    First hand I’ve seen what goes on our at that school. Most of the teachers are wonderful people trying to make a difference in your children’s lives. Which I hope that’s for every school. As far as Mr. Kramer goes….he will be missed. I thought he was a pretty awesome dude. He bent over backwards for parents and students. But yes…he has been fired. I do know for a fact that at least a half dozen people have put in their resignation or have been fired in the last 2 weeks. The admin do need to get it together and start treating employees better than they are or I foresee many more resigning or getting fired. As for those amazing people we have lost and are loosing you will also be missed.

  • Concerned advocate says:

    Many of the staff that work at CDs have a deep love of children, but many times love and educating the children are two different things. Throughout the years many at this school have violated parents rights, a child’s rights and grossly neglected to have children evaluated for appropriate services needed. While choice to place a child in a charter school is an individual choice this does not exclude the charter school from following the laws set out to help ensure an appropriate education. If many of you know of the “wrongs” done by this school, and have written about them on this news blog without appropriately advocating for change then you are as wrong as they are..after all isn’t it your tax money used to educate the students in this school. If this is not happening appropriately then maybe it is time to hold cds feet to the fire and actually do something about it.

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