By Curt Yeomans
A Mundy's Mill High School assistant principal is acting as the school's "lead administrator," after Clayton County Public Schools officials removed Priscilla Adams from her duties as the school's principal last week because she had not appealed the Georgia Professional Standards Commission's decision to revoke her certification, school officials said.
Adams lost her certification over her handling of a March 2008 incident in which a cell phone video, showing three students engaged in sexual acts, was being distributed around the school. She was removed from her position at the school after a meeting with school system Superintendent Edmond Heatley on Sept. 22, school district Spokesman Charles White said.
When an educator's certification is revoked in Georgia, he or she must wait three years, before seeking re-certification.
"She [Priscilla Adams] is serving the revocation of her certification, per the Georgia Professional Standards Commission's rules," White said. "Assistant Principal Darrick McCray is acting as the school's lead administrator. This gives Dr. Heatley an opportunity to review his options about what he wants to do at the school."
Adams lost her certification Sept. 10 after the Georgia Professional Standards Commission determined she did not take enough action to stop the sex video, involving three of her students, from circulating throughout the school after it was discovered last year.
The school system's move is a 180-degree turn from its initial written statement, released to the Clayton News Daily on Sept. 18, that Adams would remain Mundy's Mill's principal "until further notice." The following Monday, school system officials were contacted by Professional Standards Commission officials, and informed that Adams had not yet filed an appeal, White said.
"The district administration had been under the impression that Mrs. Adams was going to file an appeal, and that was what we based our original statement on," White said. "But, we didn't receive any notification that an appeal had been filed."
Last week, Adams' attorney, George Lawson, Jr., said he planned to file an appeal in Fulton County Superior Court Sept. 24. He said his responses to questions about the revocation of his client's certification would have to be obtained from that document. Online court records did not show Monday that an appeal had been filed.
Several telephone calls have been placed to Lawson's office since Thursday, seeking a comment and a copy of the planned appeal, but no response had been received as of Monday.
Adams could not be reached at a listed home phone number.
Gary Walker, the PSC's deputy executive secretary, said he was not aware of any notice of appeal being received by the commission as of Monday afternoon.
"Normally, we receive notification of an appeal being filed within the first week after the commission makes its decision," Walker said. "We have, on occasion received notification two, or three weeks later, but those are usually coming from South Georgia ... There is no time limit for filing an appeal."
Walker said he called Andre Cherry, the Clayton County school system's investigator, last week to inquire about Adams' case since the commission had not received notification of an appeal being filed. He said Cherry pledged to look into the matter.
By this past Friday afternoon, photos and references to Adams and assistant principal, Shakira Rice, had been removed from Mundy's Mill's web site, as well as the school system's web site. The PSC suspended Rice for three months for reportedly not confiscating the cell phone, with the video on it, from a student after finding out the film was on the phone. Her suspension is scheduled to end in October.
White and Heatley said they could not comment on what will happen to Rice. Heatley said the district trains administrators about how to report such incidents.
White said teachers at the school were notified that Adams was out as Mundy's Mill's principal during an after-school faculty meeting that was held at the school Sept. 22. Heatley said the district is accepting applications for the principal vacancy at Mundy's Mill.
"We're looking at inside candidates, as well as outside candidates for the position," Heatley said.