Mainland High principal's leave not related to fake AP tests

Tim Huth takes over for Dr. Cheryl Salerno

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Daytona Beach Mainland High School Principal Dr. Cheryl Salerno will not return for the new school year -- at least for now.

On Monday, the school district placed Salerno on administrative leave of absence.

The move comes in the wake of a controversy surrounding fake AP exams given to about 400 students last school year, but Volusia County School Board Chairman Carl Persis said Salerno's leave is not connected to the controversy.

In an email to News 6, Persis said, "I can tell you it does not involve the AP class, (the) grades or the testing situation. After the 10-day appeal period ends, the purpose of the investigation will become a public record. At this point, I am not at liberty to reveal anymore about this matter."

Earlier, Kelly Schulz, Volusia County Schools director of community information, released a statement saying the district does not comment on personnel issues.

"I cannot confirm or deny that there was an investigation or action taken," the statement said. "I can only say the professional standards committee did meet (Monday), and it will be at least 10 days before a public information request would be honored regarding the content of that meeting."

According to the Office of Professional Standards, Salerno and the district's former academic officer, Teresa Marcks, violated standards of conduct.

Marcks was demoted but has since resigned.

The school district announced that former Mainland Principal Tim Huth will take over as principal for the 2019-2020 school year.

The changes come as Tim Egnor has been named interim superintendent in Volusia County, replacing James Russeel, who was fired in June.

Parents told News 6 they want answers about the leadership changes.

"I would like to know why she’s not there anymore and, mostly, as a parent, I want to know who my kids are being led by," parent Sonya Lehto said. 

Gertrude Halestead agrees.

"As a parent, I need to know," Halestead said.

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