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School Board renews teacher contract, ignores tribunal recommendation

By   /   October 25, 2012  /   Comments

Staff Reports

The Dougherty County Board of Education unanimously voted to renew the contract of Nikki Lyons, a first year teacher at Turner Elementary, despite the CRCT tribunal’s recommendation yesterday.

“Everybody can have an opinion, but the facts were not there to prove that these people cheated. And that’s why I made a recommendation as the superintendent to return those great teachers back to the classroom,” said Dougherty County school superintendent Dr. Joshua Murfree, despite the evidence uncovered during the CRCT investigation by the governor’s office and the further hearings by the CRCT tribunal.

School board member Carol Tharin argued that she felt that there were extenuating circumstances in Lyons’ case that investigators and the tribunal failed to take into account. “Her situation was unique.  It was an effort to be fair across the board with everybody. And there was reason to think that maybe the tribunal had not taken into consideration her background and exactly what she had done in relationship to the other employees,” Tharin told WALB.

Lyons was given a 40 day retroactive suspension, which means she will return to work immediately.  A similar punishment was given to former Sylvester Road Elementary teacher Beverly Knighton Harris.  In addition, former West Town teacher Adrienne Savage had her contract renewed with no suspension.  For both Savage and Knighton Harris, the board followed the recommendation of the CRCT tribunal.

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Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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