A Lakeside High School teacher fired last week after being accused of helping students cheat on a test will face an investigation by a state commission that polices educators.
At a Tuesday termination hearing that lasted about 12 hours, the Columbia County school board upheld Superintendent Charles Nagle's decision to fire special education math teacher Margaret Mudrak.
Nagle said Thursday that his office will ask the Georgia Professional Standards Commission to investigate Mudrak. Evidence and testimony presented in the hearing likely will be sent to the PSC this week.
The PSC has the authority to discipline educators, including revoking state teaching licenses.
PSC Director Gary Walker said Mudrak also was the subject of a 2006 investigation, but the case has been cleared and he could offer no details.
After the hearing, Mudrak's attorney, Freddie Sanders, said he will appeal the school board's decision to the state Board of Education. If necessary, Sanders said he also would appeal to Superior Court and the state Court of Appeals.
Termination hearings are afforded to tenured teachers such as Mudrak, who has been a special needs teacher in the school system for 10 years and taught elsewhere for another 20 years.
Mudrak was terminated after other educators at Lakeside discovered some irregularities on an April 30 math test. Some of the five special needs students taking the test missed the same question; many wrote the same word, "skinny," on their tests, which officials said seemed inconsistent with the nature of the questions; and those students scored much higher on the exam than their regular education classmates.
One of those students, identified as A.H., testified during the hearing that Mudrak coached him on the exam and informed him when he answered incorrectly. Another student echoed those claims in an affidavit.
However, another student identified as A.R. testified that he, too, was present during the test, but he received no help from Mudrak and didn't witness her helping any of his classmates.
Still, the school board voted 4-0 to fire Mudrak. Board members refused to comment on their decision after the hearing.
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