Hearing set in teacher dismissal
by By JOYANNA WEBER Banner Staff Writer
Jan 13, 2013 | 1226 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

An impartial hearing officer will determine if the dismissal of Bradley County Schools teacher Susan Calfee Elliott will stand by addressing allegations of job-performance issues.

The hearing will be held at 9 a.m. on Monday at the Bradley County Schools Central Office.

The Bradley County Board of Education ruled in October that if allegations were true, then they were grounds for termination. Elliott pursued a hearing within the 30-day limit and a date was set.

Bradley County school board attorney Chris McCarty said under Tennessee Code Annotated the director of schools selects the hearing office.

The officer must not have any prior relationship with the teacher or members of the Bradley County Board of Education. It must also be someone who was not previously employed in the school system or by the board of education.

Bradley County Schools director Johnny McDaniel recommended Elliott’s dismissal at the October board meeting due to alleged job-performance issues based on comments from co-workers.

Comments were solicited from Elliott’s peers after alleged assault charges were filed. These charges were later dropped.

McDaniel said if peers comments were true, they highlighted a lack of professionalism

“I recommend dismissal based on Ms. Elliott’s incompetence, neglect of duty and unprofessional conduct,” McDaniel told board members in his recommendation for dismissal. “Ms. Elliott’s actions clearly fall under definitions found at Tennessee Code Annotated 49-5-501.”

Alleged peer complaints included disrespectful behavior to peers, not following lesson plans, not using lesson plans and refusing to teach certain subjects.

Although Tennessee Code Annotated allows for the teacher or the board of education to request the hearing be a closed hearing, neither party has requested that Monday’s hearing be kept private.

The Bradley County Board of Education will not have a role in Monday’s meeting, according to McCarty.

If Elliott or McDaniel wish to appeal the hearing officers decision, then the issue would go back before the school board. The board would look further into the allegations at that time.

Elliott was originally suspended without pay from her position as a Hopewell Elementary School teacher in July after being arrested for alleged aggravated domestic assault.

The charge was dropped after alleged victim Gregory Grammer recanted his story.