ALBANY — The Dougherty County Board of Education voted 4-0 Friday to uphold Gwendolyn Baker-Alford’s complaint that Monroe principal Valerie Thomas had exceeded her authority by changing Baker-Alford’s position at the school.
She took her grievance before the board after failing to resolve the issue with DCSS Superintendent Joshua Murfree.
Baker-Alford filed the original complaint last June when she was moved by Thomas back into an English classroom after spending two years as an instructional leader at Monroe.
There was some confusion as to Baker-Alford’s exact job status on her contract, which was eventually approved by the board.
Her attorney, Maurice King, asserted that the principal was not authorized to change the action of the School Board, which he said was actually her employer, and asked that Baker-Alford be given back the position to which she was approved.
School Board Attorney Tommy Coleman contended that Baker-Alford’s contract listed her as a teacher/instructional leader, and as a principal Thomas had the authority to move Baker-Alford within the high school.
“She (Baker-Alford) is a teacher, not an administrator,” Coleman said during a hearing late last year. “The principal had a need for a teacher and filled that need. The board does not have to approve that action.”
Baker-Alford initally filed a level I grievance with Thomas and was denied. She then escalated to a Level II complaint with Murfree, but the situation was not resolved to her satisfaction, and she finally went to Level III before the Board.