Traverse City Record-Eagle


July 3, 2014

Charter school's finances handled by indicted founder's daughter-in-law

TRAVERSE CITY — Grand Traverse Academy parted ways with its superintendent after the school's board of directors demanded their new management company sever ties with holdover associates of school founder and fraud suspect Steven Ingersoll.

Mark Noss, GTA's former board president and current head of the school's new management company, Full Spectrum Management LLC, notified parents by email on Thursday that Superintendent Kaye Mentley is no longer with the school.

"At the request of the Grand Traverse Academy's Board of Directors, it was recommended to Full Spectrum Management that ties be severed with any previous Smart Schools Management staff. Therefore, Kaye Mentley is no longer employed at Grand Traverse Academy," Noss wrote in the email. "Please know that all other staff positions are unchanged."

Smart Schools Management Inc., a company headed by Ingersoll, for years managed GTA, a publicly funded K-12 charter school in Grand Traverse County. The charter school split from Ingersoll upon his April indictment on federal fraud charges.

GTA's board voted 4-1 on June 27 to urge Noss to reconsider some management employees who worked for Smart Schools.

"It's just basically moving forward with a new management team. How are we moving forward with a new team when we have all the same high management employees running the show with Mark," board President Brad Habermehl said.

Habermehl said he noticed after Ingersoll's indictment that correspondence about the school's finances came from Gretchen Ingersoll, Steven Ingersoll's daughter-in-law.

“After inquiring what the relationship was and what was going on, it came up she was still doing the books, and had been doing the books for Smart Schools,” said Habermehl, a Flint-based optometrist.

Habermehl said the GTA board hopes Gretchen Ingersoll will leave, as well as any other employees who crossed over from Smart Schools management.

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