It’s still not clear why former Willow Brook Elementary School Principal Mardee D. Miller was removed from her job last week, but a letter released by the Oak Ridge school system Thursday provides a few details.
In the May 7 letter, Oak Ridge Superintendent Tom Bailey told Miller he was placing her on paid administrative leave after an investigation of “inappropriate treatment” of a student during state testing.
“I have come to the conclusion that I no longer have confidence in your ability to effectively or efficiently perform the duties of an elementary school principal in the Oak Ridge schools,” Bailey told Miller in the hand-delivered letter.
However, the one-page letter doesn’t give any extra details on the investigation or the alleged incident.
Miller, who is on administrative leave until June 30, was instructed to turn in her keys and school system equipment and notified that her access to the Oak Ridge Schools’ computer system had been terminated.
She was also told that, pending further notice, she cannot enter Willow Brook Elementary School without written permission from the superintendent’s office.
Oak Ridge Today requested a copy of Miller’s employee file on May 9. Oak Ridge Schools released a redacted version of the file today.
A former assistant principal at A.L. Lotts Elementary School in Knoxville, Miller had been Willow Brook Elementary School Principal since July 2005.
Under a contract signed July 1, 2011, Miller earns $85,455 for a 261-day term.
Oak Ridge Today was not able to contact Miller for comment late Thursday afternoon, and Bailey was not available for comment either. Previous attempts to reach Miller and Bailey to discuss the case have also been unsuccessful.
School attorney Lawrence F. Giordano of Knoxville law firm Lewis, King, Krieg and Waldrop did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Thursday afternoon.
Bailey has told other local media that Miller has been reassigned, has not been terminated, and continues to hold tenure as a teacher.
Bailey said Susan Armstrong, the district’s coordinator for elementary curriculum, has been named acting principal until the position is filled permanently.
Miller, who has a master’s degree in educational administration and supervision, began her teaching career in 1989 at Gap Creek Elementary in Knox County. She has worked at other schools as well and was an assistant principal at Karns Intermediate School and Farragut Primary School.
A copy of Bailey’s letter is available here.