Tifton Gazette


November 13, 2012

Gravitt receives administrative leave

TIFTON — Former Tift County High Principal Dr. Ryan Gravitt has now been placed on paid administrative leave, says Superintendent Patrick Atwater.

At Tuesday’s night Tift County Board of Education meeting, Gravitt and a crowd of family and student supporters wearing “#teamgravitt” T-shirts filed into the meeting room.

Vice Chairman Kim Rutland conducted the meeting due to Chairman Shawn Utley not being able to attend.

She welcomed all of the guests, including board members-elect Gannon Hall for District 3 and Kim Ezekiel for District 1. She stated that she was glad to have so many people in attendance, which shows their passion for education.

Rutland then reminded the crowd that there are rules that apply during meetings, such as no interruptions. She noted that consequences for not following the rules is ejection from the meeting.

Also, local attorney Hank Pittman reminded members of how to handle personnel matters. He cautioned them about discussing a personnel matter that concerns an individual employee. He explained that such particulars can not be discussed in public, according to state laws.

The meeting lasted about 30 minutes before the board moved into executive session. Gravitt and his supporters waited anxiously in the meeting room for their  return with an announcement concerning his fate.

As time ticked by, Gravitt stood and thanked his supporters for being at the meeting but graciously advised that they should go home. One woman went up to Gravitt and told him that “support is behind you.”

At about 7:25 p.m., Gravitt was called into the back by Human Resources Director Kevin Dobard, leaving some supporters in the crowd confused. When Gravitt emerged moments later from the back, he appeared agitated. He and the crowd began clearing out the building at approximately 7:40 p.m.

The board finally came out at 8 p.m. and made a motion to go into open session where they accepted and approved all of the superintendent’s recommendations — one of those being Gravitt’s placement on paid administrative leave.

After the meeting was adjourned, Atwater said he still could not comment on the matter.

Kim Seigler, who was an assistant principal at TCHS, is currently serving as interim principal for the remainder of the year, Atwater had said in a previous article. He had also stated that the Tift County School System would be searching sometime in the near future for a permanent principal for the 2013-2014 school year.

Also, during the meeting, the board discussed the following topics:

• Atwater discussed the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds report. He stated that all bills are current and the local school system continues to be blessed with SPLOST dollars. “We’re on target at this time,” he said. He added that they are one percent ahead of target on taxes compared to last year. He commended former tax commissioner Gene Goode and wished tax commissioner-elect Chad Alexander the best.

• Robby Dasher, director of operations, discussed SPLOST projects at Eighth Street Middle School and Tift County High School Northeast Campus. He stated that everything is progressing well. The project at ESMS is complete (only working on completing some documents); and the work at Northeast Campus is moving forward.

• Tammie Smith, public relations director, gave a federal programs update. She noted that the local school system received a notification from the Georgia Department of Education concerning staff change in the Title III program, which provides support for second language students. She stated that the school system needed to work on eight areas — they have now received a clearance for the areas they addressed.

To contact reporter Latasha Everson, call 382-4321.



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