Banner Staff Writer
A Bradley County Board of Education decision to dismiss Hopewell Elementary school teacher Susan Elliott has been upheld.
In a summary of his decision and the hearing that took place in January, impartial hearing officer Dale Conder Jr., an attorney from Jackson, outlined the testimonies that led to his decision.
“Based upon the evidence, I find that the Bradley County Board of Education has met its burden of establishing grounds for dismissing Elliott for unprofessional conduct, incompetence, and neglect of duty,” Conder said in the document.
The “conclusions of law” listed in the document state the witnesses who testified for Elliott did not bring enough evidence to convince Conder to overrule the dismissal.
The document also outlined how Conder came to his final decision.
“Because there is such sharp dispute between the witnesses as to important matters, determinations as to witness credibility are critical to deciding this case,” Conder said
Whether witnesses avoided directly answering a question, how they acted while testifying and whether testimony contradicted other statements made in the hearing were all considered, Conder explained.
The document highlighted selected testimonies that played a part in Conder’s final decision.
"Although it has been unpleasant and difficult for all those involved, I truly believe Mr. Conder made the right decision in affirming Ms. Elliott's dismissal. I simply could not ignore her unprofessional conduct and overall lack of good judgment," Bradley County Director of Schools Johnny McDaniel said in a statement submitted by Bradley County School Board Attorney Chris McCarty.
Telephone messages and emails left by the Cleveland Daily Banner for Elliott’s attorney, Virgina McCoy, on Thursday and Monday were not returned.
Elliott may appeal the officer’s decision to the Bradley County Board of Education.
The recent dismissal hearing was sought by Elliott after the Bradley County Board of Education voted that if the charges for dismissal submitted by McDaniel were true, then they would be grounds for dismissal.
The hearing took place on Jan. 30-31.