Bring back the L&N principals

Sandra ClarkGossip and Lies

The Dec. 11 suspensions of the principal and vice principal at the L&N STEM Academy created concern and turmoil at one of our best high schools.

Superintendent Bob Thomas, on WATE-TV Sunday, said both principals are on paid leave. “It is our hope and intent to get this resolved as quickly as we can. … There’s not much I can say.”

Thomas notified parents via email of the suspensions and the appointment of interim principal Laura Boring. But an L&N student said Friday that Boring had not met with the student body. Guess there’s not much she can say, either.

On Wednesday, J.C. Bowman, executive director of Professional Educators of Tennessee, released a statement which said in part: “An incident occurred that was properly reported to the authorities (by the principals). They did not instigate or cause this incident, the specifics of which are currently under investigation. … We expect the matter to be resolved quickly. Administrative leaves of absence are not unusual when matters such as these are investigated by outside personnel.”

Dr. Jim McIntyre mishandled suspensions of the principal and an assistant principal at South-Doyle High School in February 2016, returning them to work on May 23. Two excellent educators were benched for half a school year for slow reporting to a state agency.

We expect better from Bob Thomas. He knows people matter, relationships matter. L&N STEM Academy is a special place because of the vision, energy and hard work of its founding principal, Becky Ashe. Thomas should satisfy himself that having her and Tim Childers at work is safe for kids. And then bring them back.

It’s not fair to them, the school or Knox County citizens to pay them to sit at home.

Christmas visits by Marsha and Steve

While Marsha Blackburn’s Dec. 16 visit to Market Square kicked up some controversy (see Betty Bean’s story), her chief primary foe, Stephen Fincher, slid into town without notice. He was guest of honor at a pricey fund-raiser hosted Dec. 12 by Amy and Tim Williams at their Cherokee Boulevard home. Tim Williams is co-founder and CEO of 21st Century Mortgage.

The host committee included Victor and Joan Ashe, Ann and Steve Bailey, Doc Claussen, Jim Clayton, Cindi and Pete DeBusk, Jim and Natalie Haslam, Joe Hollingsworth from Clinton, Kirk Huddleston, Raja Jubran, Jim Nixon, Mitch Steenrod, Wes Stowers, John Turley and Charlie Wagner.

The list signals GOP establishment support for Fincher. And while I was not invited, I felt awed just to touch an invitation. Price of admission was $1,000 per person and co-chairs paid $10,800 per couple.

My friend Tom Jensen, back when prices were cheaper, said as we walked into a fund-raiser, “Well, let’s go try to eat $500 worth of cantaloupe.

Vice mayor: Finbarr

Knoxville City Council member Finbarr Saunders was selected as the city’s new vice mayor at a special council meeting following the swearing in of five new council members Dec. 16.

George Wallace was selected to chair the Beer Board, and Gwen McKenzie was selected as the representative to the KTA board.

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