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EEOC rules against Bell School Board/KDE over alleged discrimination, attorney releases statement

From WTVQ and WRIL -

On Wednesday, December 22, 2021 WTVQ reported on an action taken by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in regard to Bell County School Board and the Kentucky Department of Education.

The story by Steve Rogers read as follows:

"An Eastern Kentucky school district discriminated against two women applicants when it hired a man to a principal post last year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled.

In determination letters obtained by WTVQ ABC 36 News, the EEOC ruled Bell County and the state Department of Education violated their own policies and state rules when Matthew Gann was hired to be principal at the Bell County Area Technical Center.

In October 2020, the district interviewed two women, both who had principal certifications, and Gann, who did not have his. Gann was hired.

Ironically, one of the women previously was turned down for another job because she wasn’t properly certified. Mediation talks recently failed, clearing the way for the women to sue the district for discrimination."

WRIL asked Superintendent Tom Gambrel for more information on this issue, but due to on-going litigation he deferred to the school's attorney Chris Douglas who stated: "The Bell County Board of Education strenuously denies that it discriminated against anyone in any way shape or form and we look forward to contesting this issue in anyway necessary."

As a matter of record, in order to be eligible for employment in Kentucky as a school principal, the KDE requires three years of full-time teaching experience and complete an approved program of preparation. The candidate for principal must also possess a master’s degree in education and pass two exams: one on their ability to apply knowledge, as well as skills of instructional leadership, supervision and management; and another on the Kentucky public education system’s current administrative and instructional practices. You are also expected to have already passed Praxis I and II, as you have already held a Kentucky teaching certificate.

After fulfilling the above requirements, a candidate will receive a Level I Statement of Eligibility. The person must then become hired by a Kentucky school district, complete one year internship in the Kentucky Principal Internship Program (KPIP); after completion, you will receive a Level II School Principal Certificate valid for five years.

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