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A Professional Standards Commission Win!

As a single mother struggling to provide for her family, GAE member Tamara Gordon accepted a promotion at a different school system that had an increase in salary, prestige, career advancement and opportunity.

Unfortunately, Griffin-Spalding Schools would not release her from her 2017-2018 contract. This is a systemic problem that has caused GAE to sue the school system on behalf of other GAE members (this case is currently in litigation). Ms. Gordon requested to be released from her contract on February 23, 2018. However, the superintendent refused to release Ms. Gordon until a suitable replacement could be hired. Given the short window of time to accept the promotion, Ms. Gordon resigned a week later and went to work at her new school.

After an investigation, the PSC recommended a 90-day suspension of her teaching license. As the sole breadwinner, the PSC’s recommendation would have had devastating financial consequences on Ms. Gordon’s family. GAE’s network attorney immediately filed an appeal of the recommendation to the Office of State Administrative Hearings. After negotiations with the Senior Assistant Attorney General, the PSC dismissed the case finding “no probable cause” of a violation of the teacher code of ethics.

Although the reason for the PSC’s 180-degree reversal is not clear, the PSC noted that Ms. Gordon paid the school system $750 as liquidated damages. The decision to find “no probable cause” may be because the PSC was eventually persuaded to follow their own internal guidelines that provide payment of liquidated damages should not subject an educator to “double-jeopardy.”

In any event, we are extremely happy for Ms. Gordon and very pleased that she is a GAE member!