The Georgia Court of Appeals has reversed an order of a Lookout Mountain Superior Court judge in a ruling handed down on March 9.

The Appeals Court had agreed to hear an appeal of a ruling by Superior Court Judge Kristina Cook Graham in February 2009 which reversed a Chattooga County Board of Education decision to dismiss Chattooga High School teacher Fannie Searels, who was dismissed in October 2007.

A hearing was held before the Chattooga County School Board and the board upheld the action of the superintendent. Later, the State Board of Education upheld the local board’s action on the termination of Ms. Searels.

Judge Graham’s ruling stated, “The school board’s decision to terminate Plaintiff (Mrs. Searels) is hereby reversed.”

In the judge’s order, it was ordered that back pay on Mrs. Searels’ 2008-2009 teacher contract from July 1, 2008 through the date of the order was entered. The order also ordered the board to immediately reinstate Mrs. Searels for the 2008-2009 school year with an effective date of July 1, 2008.

Phillip L. Hartley and Brian C. Smith were the attorneys for the Chattooga Board of Education and Stewart Duggan represented Mrs. Searels.

The order from the Appeals Court said, “. . . Under these circumstances, we find that the record shows sufficient evidence to support the local boards finding of ‘other good and sufficient cause’ to support the termination of Searels’ employment contract. Based on the foregoing, we reverse the decision of the superior court.”


The Summerville News