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Board votes to terminate teacher employment, principal resigns

January 15, 2014 - Goodrich-In a special meeting on Monday night the school board voted 5-1 to dismiss Oaktree Teacher Nicole McVey.

Board President David Cramer, Vice-President Jeff Gardner, Treasurer Chip Schultz, Secretary Niki Wiederman, and Trustee Linda Jackson voted yes. Trustee Tim Zirnhelt voted no.

According to the resolution signed on Monday, McVey's administrative leave is continued pending the tenure hearing and is with pay as required by the Tenure Act.

At the same meeting, Oaktree Principal Michael Ellis resigned and was replaced by Interim Principal Jason Wilcox.

In 2004, Ellis, then a third-grade teacher, was appointed principal at Oaktree. He later moved to the high school where he served as assistant principal until 2010 when he moved back to Oaktree Elementary.

The board accepted the resignation 6-0 and declined further comment on a classroom incident that occurred in November.

Following the meeting, District Superintendent Scott Bogner issued the following statement regarding the issue at Oaktree:

"Questions have been raised around the filing of tenure charges regarding one of our teachers at Goodrich," said Bogner. "I cannot speak to the specifics of the case in question. The issue involving that teacher is protected by confidentiality laws and it would not be respectful or lawful to engage in discussions around that incident."

"In any situation where tenure questions are raised, the board judges the severity of the behaviors against best educational practices and also against district policies," he wrote. "In the event that the behaviors are clearly not in keeping with the policies of the district, raise concerns about professional judgment or concerns regarding activities associated with the children in a particular classroom, then and only then would a board engage in a decision to file tenure charges."

"As superintendent, what is important to me is that we make sure that all classroom behaviors are consistent with our policies related to professionalism and excellence. As a former teacher myself, I know the importance of serving each student in a way that allows that student dignity and compassion."

"While it is human nature to want to discuss and speculate on events that are out of the ordinary, no one is helped by needless speculation or the discussion of rumors. Let's first and foremost respect the teachers and students by not speculating or acting without all of the pertinent facts."

"In this specific case, the Goodrich Board of Education and the leadership team are committed to following a due process protocol to those who were involved and it simply takes time to do that and do it well. Included in the notion of due process under Michigan's teacher tenure law is that a teacher has a right to a private hearing of any charges against him or her. The district is obligated to respect that right and will not discuss the specifics of this case."

"Again, as a district, we are committed to following our policies and acting with excellence in all that we do. We are committed to creating a culture of excellence and accountability for our staff and students, and the filing of these charges are a reflection of those values."

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