Reasons for East Franklin principal’s suspension still unclear
With the reasons for his January suspension still unclear, East Franklin Elementary principal, Terry Bradley, resigned at the end of the 90 day investigation period. At a faculty meeting of East Franklin teachers last week, Superintendent Dan Brigman announced that he had received a letter of resignation from Bradley the previous Friday on April 29.
The resignation will be brought before the school board for approval at its next regular meeting, said Brigman on Monday, adding that he could not comment on the issues surrounding Bradley's suspension or the reasons given for his resignation. In line with public employee records statute, the letter of resignation will not be made part of Bradley's publicly available employee records.
“The bottom line is he’s resigned, and I will suggest that the board accepts his resignation,” said Brigman.
On Jan. 31, Bradley was suspended with pay. At the time, Brigman stated that it was Bradley’s performance which was under review and that no criminal allegations were being investigated. “This is an internal review of leadership issues,” Brigman said.
Bradley’s personnel file with Macon County Schools indicates no past suspensions, demotions or other disciplinary actions against him.
Bradley worked as assistant principal at Highlands School before beginning at East Franklin in 2007. Before his arrival, the school had failed to meet state mandated adequate yearly progress goals (AYP) for a number of years. In 2008/2009, the school reached all of its AYP goals for the first time. In 2009/2010 it again failed to make AYP, though it was still classified as a high growth “school of progress.” In recent years the school has seen further progress for students performing at or above grade level in reading and math.
Until Bradley’s resignation becomes effective on July 31, he will continue to receive a salary of $5,237 a month. He had been under contract through June 30, 2013.
“I always got along with Mr. Bradley,” said school board chairman, Tommy Cabe. “He was different, but we’re all different,” he added.
Cabe said that he and other board members purposely stayed out of the picture while Bradley was under investigation. “We really couldn’t get involved because we would be the ones he’d have had to face later if it had come to that, which it didn’t, thank heavens.”
School board member and former FHS principal, Gary Shields, agreed with Cabe’s position, saying that “as a rule of thumb, if I am going to have to be judge and jury at some point in time, then I want to remain as impartial to it as I can so that I can be objective.” Shields said he did not know the particulars of the issue.
“Mr. Bradley and I worked on some projects together, and I found him to be very professional,” said Shields. “I hate when anything like this comes along that damages someone’s career,” he said, adding, “I think somewhere out there there is a place for him, and I just wish he and his family the best.”
Shields said that though he knew there were legal constraints on what information the board could release regarding Bradley’s suspension and subsequent resignation, he was concerned about the community’s perception of events. “What concerns me is that the public’s imagination is much greater than what the actual situation is,” he said. “But for whatever reason, he’s determined to resign, and that’s his business.”
Attempts to reach Bradley for comment on this story were unsuccessful.
Superintendent Brigman said that the district will soon post an announcement for the open position. A committee process will be used to expedite the interviews, and Brigman hopes to have a new principal selected before the summer break.
Brigman noted that interim principal Larry Brooks, retired principal of Highlands School and later Cowee Elementary, had been approached about taking over the job, but Brooks declined. Brooks officially retired in 1999, but he has come out of retirement on more than one occasion to offer his service to the school system in interim capacities.