Former Westtown fifth grade teacher Adrienne Savage is sworn in prior to her testimony before an administrative tribunal in her CRCT cheating hearing Tuesday. Her attorney, Charles Cox of Macon, looks on. The tribunal recommended that the Dougherty County School Board renew her teaching contract.
ALBANY, Ga. — An administrative tribunal on Tuesday recommended that former Westtown Elementary School teacher Adrienne Savage’s teaching contract with the Dougherty County School System be renewed.
The tribunal rejected the charges which had been made against Savage by state investigators probing irregularities in the 2009 CRCTs in 11 of 16 DCSS elementary schools.
The hearing marked the final tribunal for 12 DCSS teachers and administrators who had been named in state investigators’ report to Gov. Nathan Deal. State investigators and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation spent nearly five months in Dougherty County probing the cheating allegations.
Savage was a fifth-grade teacher when the 2009 standardized tests were administered. She was accused of prompting students and assisting in changing answers on the tests.
She was one of three Westtown employees named in the report. The other two were principal Alene Pringle and fellow fifth-grade teacher Gloria Mosely. Pringle and Mosely both retired before facing hearings.
Mosely, who had been granted immunity from prosecution by investigators, admitted to changing answers and testified against Savage at the hearing.
Her testimony, however, appeared to carry little weight with the tribunal, which recommended Savage be reissued her teaching contract.
“I feel wonderful. This is really a relief,” Savage said after the panel announced its decision. “I now realize that it’s over and I will be able to be with my students again. The hardest part was just getting here in the first place, my hearing was rescheduled twice.”
Mosely was DCSS attorney Flin Coleman’s main witness against Savage. During the hearing Mosely testified that Westtown teachers had been instructed by Pringle to walk other classrooms during the tests, which is a violation of CRCT testing protocol.
Mosley said she was administering the science portion of the test when Savage, a science teacher, entered her classroom.
“She (Savage) went to the first child after she walked in, turned some pages on the test booklet, checked the girl’s answers then gave the student two thumbs up,” Mosely testified.
Mosley said Savagethen moved on to another student and did the same thing. But she pointed to the test booklet until the student changed her answer.
“I told her she wasn’t supposed to do that.”
Mosely said that Savage was in the classroom for about three minutes.
Savage acknowledged walking through Mosely’s class, but denied flipping through students’ test booklets and speaking with Mosely.
Charles Cox, Savage’s attorney, charged during his cross-examination of Mosley that the former teacher changed her earlier statement of denial that any cheating was going on in the school after obtaining immunity from prosecution from a GBI special agent.
“Ms. Mosley changed her statement because she was afraid she was going to jail,” Cox said in his closing statement. “What we heard here today is all a pack of lies. The ‘get out of jail free card’ from the GBI was her way out of trouble. There is nothing credible about Ms. Mosely.”
After rendering the tribunal’s decision, panel chairman Ed Dyson said it was obvious that something was going on at the school.
“This was a very difficult decision to reach,” Dyson said. “It might not have seemed like there was much going it, but it was. We knew something was going on at the school, but Savage’s involvement was not clear enough to cost her her job.
“We think this was a fair decision.”
Savage and Beverly Knighton-Harris, who was cleared by the tribunal on Monday, still must be issued new contracts by the DCSS School Board.