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November 14, 2013

Hanceville Elem. principal resigns amid investigation

HANCEVILLE — Following an investigation by school officials, Hanceville Elementary School principal Leann Smith has resigned her employment with the school system. She was originally contracted to stay on as principal until 2016.

The details of what led to her resignation have not been released, and school officials declined to comment on the specifics of the investigation that has taken place in recent weeks. The resignation is effective Dec., and Smith will remain on leave until that time.

Attempts to contact Smith by phone were unsuccessful.

Smith was placed on paid administrative leave one week ago while school officials looked into the situation. Though he declined to go into specifics, Superintendent Billy Coleman noted the investigation did not involve a matter that could have placed a student in harm’s way.

The Hanceville Police Department has also reported they are not involved in the investigation and law enforcement does not seem to have played a part in the case.

Coleman said the board has yet to decide who will take over Smith’s position at the school. The current assistant principal is Kim Brown.

“We felt this was an area we need to move quickly, and we just want to do what’s best for the students,” Coleman said.

Both Coleman and Hanceville school board representative Kenny Brockman thanked Smith for her service.

“We wish her the best,” Brockman said.

Smith marks the second Hanceville Elementary principal in a row to be placed on administrative leave then subsequently leave the post, following the ouster of previous principal Jeff Harper. Harper was fired from his position in 2009 for alleged “neglect of duty” and “insubordination,” though he appealed his firing and eventually settled with the school board — earning a new position and multi-year contract at the central office.

‰ Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at trentm@cullmantimes.com, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 134.

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