Departure comes month after school announced expansion plans

DAVIDSON - The Woodlawn head of school’s abrupt resignation won’t change the mission of the school, trustees say.

Ed Hollinger resigned April 5 without notice. A reason for his departure from the private school north of Davidson in Iredell County has not been released.

“The big message is that we are not changing from a project-based curriculum,” trustee Dawn Blobaum said. “It’s a really special place and we are not changing that. The only thing changing is the leadership.”

The board is working to find an interim head of school, which should be completed by the start of the 2014-15 academic year, according to a release from Director of Marketing and Development Erica Madden.

Upper School Director Beth Helfrich and Lower/Middle School Director Jen Conrad have the full support of the board to provide leadership over all academic functions of the school during the transition, a letter to parents states.

Finance Director Marcus Rafiee will serve all administrative functions. Board of Trustees Chair Greg Bridgeford and incoming chair Allain Andry will also take a more active role to help Helfrich and Conrad with their extra duties.

“We appreciate Ed Hollinger’s work during his time at Woodlawn School and wish him the best,” Bridgeford said in the letter.

Recently, Woodlawn School staff announced intentions to expand its lower school at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year by adding another section of kindergarten and first grade. By the end of five years, the school staff hoped to double its entire lower school population.

Blobaum said the expansion had not yet been brought up in discussions about moving forward in light of the resignation and didn’t know if it would be affected.

Hollinger’s time at the school was short-lived and didn’t span a full school year. He was hired to the position in July 2013. He took the place of the previous head of school, Angela McKenzie, who moved away.

Hollinger previously served as the head of school for Chiaravalle Montessori School in Illinois.  Before that, he served as head of school for Virginia Beach Friends School.

Woodlawn, an independent, nonprofit school, was founded in 2002 and has an enrollment of more than 200 students in grades K-12.