Replacement selected for drama teacher position : Bear Facts

Replacement selected for drama teacher position

December 13, 2010 • Nick Connell, Bear Facts Editor-in-chief  
Filed under News

            After drama teacher Ronald Culver’s resignation, amid allegations of misconduct, LZHS administration began searching for Culver’s long term replacement.

“We have interviewed several candidates for a long term substitute position,” Angela Fortune, fine arts department chair, said. “We have selected a candidate. They’re in the process of viewing their paperwork with human resources. And if things go well, that person will be joining us [on] Thursday.”

Beth Keslinke, former LZHS Art teacher, has been filling in as temporary substitute for all of Culver’s classes until the administration secures a long term substitute.

“We [are] looking for someone who is experienced in drama and in speech,” Fortune said. “They will be here as a long term substitute until semester and if things go well, then we’ll keep this person until the end of the year. We will look to actually fill the [full-time] position at the end of the school year.”

All of Culver’s classes will be held in the same rooms, and his office will be made available for the long term substitute to use.

“I’m going to be meeting with this long term sub to review the curriculum, look at what students have accomplished so far, and discuss what direction they need to move forward in,” Fortune said. “I’m confident that the Lake Zurich students will give this person a very warm welcoming,” Fortune said. “This person comes highly recommended. And I think it will be okay.”

            Culver resigned from District 95 on October 29, following allegations of criminal conduct. The District first became aware of these allegations on October 28.

            “Allegations like this are taken very seriously, so there’s a chain of events that take place,” Jean Malek, District 95 director of communications and community relations, said.

            The LZ Police Department was contacted at that time, and Culver was immediately removed from the building.

            Following his removal, Culver resigned from his position as drama and speech teacher the next day, October 29. LZHS faculty members were notified of Culver’s resignation at the end of the same school day.

            Kim Kolze, principal, then emailed all LZHS parents and students over the weekend informing them that Culver resigned and will not be returning to the district. The email also included information regarding temporary substitutes for Culver’s classes and the school’s intention to proceed with the fall play.

Culver was arrested and charged with Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse, a felony, by the Lake County state’s attorney’s office on the night of November 1. He was freed from the Lake County jail after posting 10 percent of a $10,000 bond.

The charges stem from an incident involving a district student.

The allegations indicate “there was an incident that occurred between Mr. Culver and a district student on school grounds,” Malek said. “But the nature of the incident and any further information, we are not releasing.”

Malek issued a press release on November 2 about the charges filed against Culver and the current situation. The superintendent also held a press conference later in the day at the District 95 Administration Center, which members of the press could attend to obtain information regarding the charges.

“The mood was very somber. They’re very serious allegations and this isn’t the kind of news that any school district wants ever to be a part of,” Malek said. “I felt that the media that were there were very respectful of the situation as well.”

The district offered services to all district students and parents who sought assistance with the situation and initiated the crisis response team.

“The district has a crisis response team, which is for any type of a crisis situation that might arise. That includes a variety of resources, but in particular, social workers, counselors, and psychologist, who make themselves available to whomever may need their assistance,” Malek said. “At the high school, in particular, we tried to be very aware and helpful to any students who might be looking for assistance, in particular, Mr. Culver’s students. We made sure that the students in his classes were aware that they could, at any time, see a counselor, and the same with the kids who were participating in the play.”

The District 95 Board of Education formally accepted Culver’s resignation at the Committee of the Whole meeting on November 4. Board members voted 4-0 in favor of accepting the resignation of Culver. No comment regarding Culver was made before or after the vote in a public session.

Kim Kolze, principal, declined to comment on the subject.

The case is now in the hands of the police and state’s attorney. Culver is due to appear in the Lake County circuit court on November 18.

“I think [Dr. Egan] just hopes that we can turn our focus back to education,” Malek said. “And I’m sure he wants to continue to lend his support in whatever way is needed to our students and our staff to navigate through this difficult issue.”

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