ALBANY hree elementary teachers implicated in the governor’s report on alleged CRCT cheating in 2009 within the Dougherty County School System will learn their fates Tuesday.
Martin Luther King’s Jennifer Smith, Turner’s Fatima Jackson and Sherwood Acres’ Alberta Walker are scheduled to appear before and an administrative tribunal Tuesday morning at 9 a.m at the school administrative building board room.
The hearings are open to the public.
Tuesday’s three-member administrative panel, selected from a pool of nine people, will consist of Scott Chestnutwood of Tifton, Wanda West of Macon and Jack Willis of Panama City Beach, Fla.
Chestnutwood is a retired superintendent of Tift County Schools. West is a member of the Bibb County Board of Education. Willis is a retired Wheeler County Elementary School principal.
“I can’t give you an exact number of people who will appear before the tribunals,” School System Attorney Tommy Coleman said Friday. “We might have a few more resignations and we are still working with some others.”
In December, an investigative team consisting of former Georgia Attorney General Mike Bowers, former DeKalb County District Attorney Robert Wilson, former Atlanta police detective Richard Hyde and Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents completed a four-month probe into alleged CRCT in the system’s 16 elementary schools.
The resulting 293-page report cited a “failure of leadership at all levels, including the Board of Education, contributed to cheating in DCSS.”
The report named 49 system teachers and administrators. Over the past few months, some of the teachers and principals resigned or retired, some were were fired and some were no longer in the system.
In late June, five teachers who had been cited in the state investigators’ report were rehired by the board, while two paraprofessionals were terminated. The elementary school teachers who were rehired were Katrice Kegler, who taught at MLK, Tekeela Austin at Sherwood, and Deborah Anderson, Elicia Evans and Trina Faulkner, all at Alice Coachman. Coleman said in those five cases the school system couldn’t find evidence to corroborate the state report.
The BOE reassigned 12 teachers to the Isabella Complex and removed three principals to the Exceptional Students Program.
Those teachers and administrators were among 24 whose contracts were not renewed by the system in mid June.
The tribunals will hear those cases, then make recommendations to the School Board, which can then offer new contracts, let the non-renewals stand or suspend the accused.
The teachers and administrators will be represented by attorneys from the Georgia Educators Association, Professional Association of Georgia Education or independently retained counsel.
However, even if the educators are cleared, Coleman said their case files will be turned over to the state’s Professional Standards Commission, who could investigate and pull certifications.