ALBANY -- The Dougherty County School Board voted against a recommendation from the school system's superintendent to move an assistant principal to a school where her sister works based on the appearance of impropriety.
Superintendent Joshua Murfree had sought to ease a leadership void at Jackson Heights Elementary -- a school currently without a principal and being run by only one assistant principal -- by transferring a second assistant principal from Turner Elementary to the school on a temporary basis.
But once it was disclosed that the assistant principal's sister works at the school as either a teacher or staff member, it gave board members pause.
"I tend to agree that, to not have the appearance of (impropriety) that the teacher needs to be moved ... or the lady doesn't need to be transferred," Chairman James Bush said. "I can't vote to have both in the same building."
Murfree attempted to quell any concerns that the move may be considered nepotism saying that it clearly wasn't because nepotism only involves the hiring of relatives into certain positions, a notion board member David Maschke said wasn't true.
"This board's policy is that we don't put people's relatives in positions of authority over each other," Maschke said.
Maschke also said he was uncomfortable with Murfree's plan to move the assistant principal's sister, who was believed to be either a staff member or teacher in the second grade, so late in the year because of the impact it could have on students.
"I think it's grossly unfair to the teacher's students to move her at this point," Maschke said. "They've built a rapport and relationship with this teacher, and now we're going to just put someone else in there? I don't think that's right."
Board member Velvet Riggins also expressed concern with the situation, especially if the sister is a teacher.
"Out of 26 schools, I would think that we could've found another assistant principal we could move into that position," Riggins said. "If it's an office person or staff, I'm OK with it. But if it's a teacher, that's something totally different."