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EXCLUSIVE: Will and Jada Fire Head of Their School

Aug. 5 2009, Published 6:19 a.m. ET

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Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith have fired the head of their controversial private school The New Village Leadership Academy, has learned exclusively.

Jacqueline Olivier - the woman the famous husband and wife enlisted to set up their Calabasas campus - was axed from her $200,000 a year position via a telephone call from the Matrix actress.

"Jada phoned Jaqueline and told her that they had 'decided to go in another direction' with the school,” an insider told “As head of the campus her position was becoming untenable as she did not agree with Study Tech and felt uncomfortable with it.”  Olivier “thrashed-out” a severance package with the couple and “it’s understood that she signed a confidentiality agreement with regard to her time at the school.”

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Calls to Olivier were not immediately returned but it is understood that she has taken-up another position within the educational recruitment field.

The school head and the superstar couple were said to have clashed about the school's mysterious Study Tech curriculum which was devised by Scientologist founder Ron L. Hubbard. While the school’s official website simply reads “Coming Soon!” under Head of School, has learned that Piano Foster is the new woman tapped for the role.

"They have appointed somebody else who is more 'in-line' with their thinking as to how the school should be run," the source added.

When contacted by, Foster confirmed: "I officially took over on July 1, 2009, and I'm looking forward to the challenge. I've been working in education for the past 20 years at various public and charter schools so I feel I'm ready for the job."

Foster remained tight-lipped when asked about her famous employers or any other controversies surrounding her school.

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When The New Village Leadership Academy opened last September it attracted several demonstrators who protested outside the main gates that it was a front for Scientology teachings. Will and Jada had previously been home-schooling their two children Willow, 7, and Jaden, 9, at their nearby $20 million Calabasas mansion. The couple signed a deal to lease the campus for $889,000 for a three year period while re-naming it and picking up all other additional costs. Both their kids attend the school whose motto is Spiral Up! - tuition ranges from $7, 500 to $12,500 for pupils from pre-kindergarten through grade 6.

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The academy's alternative schedule - which was developed by the Smiths- includes:

  • Serving organic low fat breakfasts and lunches with no fried foods or refined sugar.
  • Exposing students to one hour of physical activity each day long, along with classes in Living Skills, karate, Robotics. Etiquette, Technology and Arts

Both Smith and his wife have denied they are Scientologists and in a previous interview with the Los Angeles Times Olivier insisted the facility had no religious affiliation.

She said: "We are a secular school, and just like all non-religious independent schools, faculty and staff do not promote their own religions at the school."

Reps for the actors did not comment.



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