Website: Principal position vacant at J.E. Turner

"What you allow is what will continue", Turner parents' shirts say

JE Turner parents picket principal Missy Nolen.
JE Turner parents picket principal to express discontent over the mandatory transfer of some 20 teachers from the school.

According to the Mobile County Public School System’s website, J.E. Turner Elementary School is looking for a new principal. There seems to be some confusion though, because when FOX10 News asked Mobile County Public School System Superintendent Martha Peek if the position was vacant she said “not right now, no there’s not.”

Peek said, “What you’ll see on the website are a number of vacancies that will begin to roll up because we have to work by law within a time period to advertise things.”

Parents said they want some answers about the teachers and administration at the school. “If the administration at the school doesn’t change, several of us are pulling our kids out of the school, including me,” one parent voiced.

20 teachers given mandatory transfers

This all comes after 20 teachers at J.E. Turner Elementary School were handed mandatory transfers near the end of the school year.

We’re told some of those teachers asked for transfers because they weren’t happy with the principal, Missy Nolen, so they filed a 26 page grievance.

At the Mobile County Public School board meeting Thursday, June 19, one teacher took to the podium and addressed the school board. She said the teachers at J.E. Turner have gone through all the proper channels:

“Including conferencing with the then interim chief academic officer, writing letters and meeting with the assistant superintendent, writing letters to the superintendent, maintaining consistent contact with the AEA representative and filing a class action grievance,” the teacher explained.

FOX10 News reached out to the elected school board member for district one, which includes J.E. Turner, Douglas Harwell who had “no comment”. When FOX10 News asked for a response to the teacher’s and parent’s concerns, he said, “We heard them and Mrs. Peek is going to handle that.”

At the school board meeting, parents said they’re waiting for the legal process to play out to learn who will be teaching at the school next year.

“We really do want to get everyone settled by July 2,” Peek said.

Off camera, teachers said they’d like to return to the school and they want their co-workers like bookkeeper, Shawn Neal Todd who was at the school since it opened, to return as well.

FOX10 News files FOIA

FOX10 News filed a Freedom of Information Act with the MCPSS asking for information detailing the number of mandatory and voluntary transfers that have occurred at the school in the last five years. The FOIA was sent to the school system the night of Friday, June 13. We’re still waiting to hear back.

Clark-Shaw Magnet teachers in support of principal

At the same meeting, Clark-Shaw Magnet teachers showed up in support of their school’s principal, Dianne McWain. According to teachers who spoke at the meeting, she’s set to be transferred from the school. The school system said McWain has not been transferred at this time and the matter is a confidential personnel issue.

Meeting held earlier for J.E. Turner parents

Earlier this month, MCPSS superintendent Martha Peek didn’t address parents’ questions about the transfers.

“I’m not addressing concerns tonight. I was here to provide information,” Peek said at the June 2 meeting.

FOX10 News asked Peek if she’d ever had 20 teachers want to leave one school, she said it’s not uncommon. FOX10 News also asked why she didn’t answer parent’s questions.

Peek said, “It’s not the forum I set up or the format I came to talk about.”

Not everyone was upset with the way things are being run at the school. One parent said she fully supports Nolan.

“I have no complaints against her. I want her to stay at our school I think she is a fresh, young, new face to our school and think she can take our school to the next level,” the parent said.

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