Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Fletcher Era Education

From the Lexington Herald-Leader:

Former Clinton County School Superintendent Sam Gibson was suspended from his job in 2002 for sleeping with a co-worker on school property, and then indicted for forging expense receipts related to the affair. He later resigned as part of a court order. But his career with the school system may not be over -- Gibson is a finalist for the job of girls' basketball coach at Clinton County High School. Principal William Warriner said the school council was "mulling it over."

Gibson applied for the position based on having coached teams to three state championships in Tennessee, Warriner said. However, given his scandalous past, parents are very divided over the possibility. "That brings on the mulling," Warriner said.

The school council is supposed to vote on the matter some time next week. Gibson's problems started back in 2002, when he was suspended without pay for 30 days for having sex with a female secretary on school property. The woman later filed a harassment claim, which led to an investigation. The board said there was no evidence of harassment but suspended Gibson for what it termed an ethical lapse.

Then the grand jury indicted him on two felony charges of forgery and one felony charge of theft for forging expense forms and using a school-owned cell phone for personal use. One of the forged "receipts" -- scrawled on a Post-it note -- was from a hotel in order to hide the affair with the secretary, a school board investigation found. However, in an agreed order with the court, those charges were amended to misdemeanors in exchange for Gibson resigning and paying back the school district. The charges were then dropped.

Gibson was permanently stripped of his superintendent license, and his teaching certificate was suspended for six months, according to the agreed upon order from the Education Professional Standards Board. The board oversees teacher certification. Julian Tackett, an assistant commissioner at the Kentucky High School Athletic Association said the first preference for coaches is faculty, but if they can't find a staff person, they can hire someone with 64 hours of college credits.

They must also pass a criminal background check. Clinton Judge-Executive Lyle Huff said the possible hiring had caused an uproar, most of it against hiring Gibson. "They've been bending my ear regular about that," said Huff, whose wife, Beth, is a school board member. "Whoever the site base (council) chooses, I wish they would look at moving our school system and athletics forward."

Beth Huff declined to comment. Superintendent Mickey McFall said the position was posted, and the council had interviewed several candidates. According to state law on school-based positions, the principal must consult with the council. The principal makes a recommendation which must be accepted by the superintendent. A superintendent can withhold names but the council can request all other names be submitted as well. McFall said he could not disclose whether the council had requested all the applicants.

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