Charges against two Prospect educators are dismissed

State panel dismisses complaints against Don Alexander and Jennifer Pettit because of a lack of evidence

Charges of misconduct leveled at the superintendent and principal of Prospect Charter School have been dismissed because of a lack of evidence, according to state officials.

The Teacher Standards and Practices Commission decided on April 26 to dismiss the charges of professional misconduct against Superintendent Don Alexander and Principal Jennifer Pettit.

The findings by the commission are the latest in a tumultuous period for the 200-student charter school.

Melody Hanson, director of professional practices for the commission, said the complaints against both Pettit and Alexander were considered during the commission's April 26 meeting.

One set of complaints was from parents who have accused Pettit of unfair and discriminatory practices at the school. In addition, Alexander issued a complaint against Pettit.

"We looked at both and found insufficient evidence to continue an investigation into the charges," Hanson said.

Complaints against Alexander were considered on the same day. The commission said it received "multiple" letters from parents alleging Alexander had engaged in professional misconduct as an educator. Again, not enough evidence was found to continue the investigation, the commission said in a letter addressed to Alexander.

Because the allegations were unfounded, the commission does not comment on the specifics of the complaints, Hanson said.

Alexander expressed relief that the complaints against him were dismissed.

"I think the findings by the commission speak for themselves," Alexander said.

The goal is to focus on learning and keeping the school functioning properly, Alexander said.

"We have a good school that is dedicated to student learning," Alexander said.

Alexander declined to comment on the nature of the complaint he filed against Pettit.

If the commission finds a complaint is justified, an educator could receive a range of disciplinary actions, such as a public reprimand, license suspension or revocation of a license for up to one year.

"Because there was not enough evidence, the complaints are not available to the public," Hanson said.

Alexander declined to comment on the complaints, though he did say they revolved around student discipline issues.

"I can't comment on them because of privacy for the students," Alexander said.

Parents accused Pettit of having an "abrasive" leadership style. She has resigned from her post effective in June 2014.

The parents who issued complaints against Alexander claimed he did not do enough to deal with the issues facing the school.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 541-776-4471 or email cconrad@mailtribune.com.


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