TAMPA -- Milwaukee school officials have removed a new principal from her job as they investigate reports from Lutz about the financial collapse of the private school she operated here.
Wendy Alexander was removed from her job Friday as principal of Fairview Charter School, where she supervised about 75 teachers and staff in a kindergarten-through-eighth grade program with more than 600 students.
Alexander founded and operated the Hand in Hand Academy in Lutz, shut down last month just four weeks into the new semester after seven years in business.
Some parents at Hand in Hand said they made payments to Alexander as late as mid-July without knowing she had just lost her bid for bankruptcy protection to stave off foreclosure of the school. Debts had grown to more than $2 million...
Alexander was interviewing for the Milwaukee Public Schools job as far back as April and was hired in May.
The school district there learned in September about Alexander's "personal business issues in Florida," according to a statement from Roseann St. Aubin, district spokeswoman.
"Since that time," the statement said, "we have been engaged in an ongoing review of the matter."
A former Florida employee of Alexander's brought the matter to the district's attention...
LUTZ -- Parents were blindsided when the Hand in Hand Academy announced in an e-mail that it was shutting down Sept. 16, seven years after it first went into business and four weeks after opening for the new semester.
Some say they paid registration and tuition as late as mid-July under pressure from Principal Wendy Alexander, even after Alexander lost her bid for bankruptcy protection to stave off foreclosure.
"She was telling us one thing and turning around and it was totally something totally different," said Michael Hanke, a financial planner, who says he wouldn't have enrolled his child if he'd known about money problems. "She made you want to trust her."...[Sherman Brod, her foreclosure lawyer] said Alexander never saw the collapse coming until the bitter end.
But records show she accepted her new job before July 8, when Hand In Hand Academy defaulted in the corporate bankruptcy case.
Bankruptcy records show that Lisa Astl, an office worker and part-time teacher at Hand In Hand, signed the check that helped trigger the bankruptcy default.
"I only wrote the check in good faith," said Astl. "I didn't think it would bounce."...
Alexander and Astl were arrested together in 2009 and charged with resisting arrest.
PORT RICHEY — A Pasco County sheriff's sergeant was patrolling U.S. 19 at 1:30 a.m. on a Monday when he clocked two women in a blue Toyota pickup at near 90 mph.
The preschool workers appeared drunk, and they gave deputies each other's last names, the report said. The driver refused the breath test.
Lisa Marie Astl's fourth DUI arrest since 1995 earned a felony designation reserved for repeat offenders.
But as far as the state was concerned, the 38-year-old teacher could keep her job at Hand In Hand Academy in Lutz.
Any discipline would be up to school leaders.
In this case, however, the woman riding shotgun was 41-year-old Wendy Viles Alexander, Astl's boss and Hand In Hand's founder. Deputies charged her with a misdemeanor, giving false information to a law enforcement officer. It was her first arrest, state records show...