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Pike County School Board Fires Otwell Elementary Principal Rick Fears

The Pike County School Board fired Otwell Elementary Principal Rick Fears during a meeting Tuesday night.

Fears was the focus of an investigation by School Superintendent Suzanne Blake and the board into alleged actions of Neglect of Duty, Insubordination along with falsifying school records to show better than actual scoring on things like the iRead 3 test results.

In the official document from the Pike County School Board, the decision for canceling the contract of Fears included three major points:

  • Fears did not adhere to the guidelines established for teacher evaluations or guidelines for the RISE model.
  • Fears failed to comply with a request from the School Superintendent for written documentation regarding a specific situation and displayed and argumentative and challenging manner when disagreeing with corporation decisions.
  • Fears demonstrated unprofessional and unethical behavior by violating testing guidelines…and attempted to alter data for a state report.

Fears was represented by his attorney Mark Phillips.

The Findings of Fact document says that the Board of School Trustees determined that based on the findings of fact and conclusions of law, the teaching contract of Rick Fears is cancelled, effective immediately, so determined this 3rd day of September 2013.

The Dubois County Free Press reports that:

After the decision last night, Fears’ attorney Mark Phillips stated they were surprised by the board’s decision during the 5-minute meeting and planned on filing a lawsuit against the school corporation within the next ten days.

In the meantime, interim Principal Jim Isaacs will continue in that capacity until a decision on a permanent replacement is made.