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Ethics panel looks at school official

Principal investigated after complaint

POSTED: January 20, 2010 4:00 a.m.

The state government agency that certifies educational personnel is investigating the conduct of Dawson County High School’s principal.

  

The Ethics Division of the Georgia Professional Standards Commission reviewed the case involving Wayne Chelf at its Jan. 13 meeting in Atlanta.

  

Director Gary Walker said the case involves three standards in particular: conduct with students, honesty and professional conduct.

  

The commission’s recommendation has not been made public. Walker said it will become a final action “after it goes to [Chelf] for review.”

  

“If he accepts the decision of the commission, then it becomes a final act and everything becomes public record,” he said. “If not, the educator files an appeal, and it would go to the attorney general’s office for review and for possible action.”

  

Chelf will have until Feb. 19 to make his decision, Walker said.

  

He could not say who brought the matter before the commission, only that is was a single complaint.

  

Chelf has declined to comment on the matter.

  

Asked about the situation, Dawson County School Superintendent Keith Porter said the administration does not “comment on personnel matters until [school] board action is needed or necessary.”

  

The ethics rules are part of the Georgia Professional Standards Commission’s governing code, which serves to “define the professional behavior of educators in Georgia and serve as a guide to ethical conduct.”

  

Walker said the ethics division gets about 80 complaints per month statewide, some of which are dismissed at the probable cause level.

  

“It was determined they would investigate this one,” said Walker, adding that Chelf was not given an opportunity to attend the Jan. 13 meeting because it was not a public hearing.

  

According to the commission’s Web site, “any citizen of the state of Georgia may file a complaint against a certified/licensed educator.”

  

The commission considers complaints at its regular monthly meeting. The ethics board can dismiss the case or take one of several disciplinary actions.

  

Educators can receive a warning, reprimand, suspension or have their certification revoked.

  

Chelf joined the local school district in 2007. He previously served for five years as principal and assistant principal at Lakeside High School in DeKalb County.

  

Chelf was removed as Lakeside’s principal in March 2006 for what DeKalb Superintendent Crawford Lewis called “leadership issues.”

  

Parents and students protested the removal, and Chelf was reinstated within two weeks.

  

During contract negotiations in 2007, Chelf learned he and several other principals would be reassigned to different schools within the system.

  

His contract with DeKalb County schools ended June 29, 2007, and he relocated to Dawson County.

  

Contracts in the Dawson County school system also run until the end of June and can either be ended or renewed.

  

The state deadline for offering teachers contract renewals is April 15.

 

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