Pierce relieved of duties as schools director, interim director named

Monday, October 8, 2007
John David Pierce

The Marshall County School Board has dismissed its director as of the end of the workday today. A standing-room-only crowd overflowed into the hallways at the Tuesday night meeting to find out how the board would deal with the issue of embattled schools director John David Pierce.

Pierce recently came under fire for his reaction to a comment from County Commissioner Jennifer Harris regarding the perception of the teachers who worked under him.

At the time, he felt her comments were akin to character assassination and said he could respond in-kind. He has since apologized for his reaction.

In spite of the attempted apology, the next county commission meeting saw a resolution brought forward by Commissioner Wilford Wentzel asking the Board of Education to dismiss Pierce. The commissioners voted 12-4 to pass the resolution, although it would have no legally binding effect.

"That [the vote] was just a way for the commissioners to express their feelings on the matter," said County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett.

The school board, acting unanimously, did relieve Pierce of his duties as of 5 p.m. today. The motion was by board member Greg Michael. The following conditions were made: The board would enter into negotiations with Pierce regarding contractual issues; and, Pierce's salary and benefits would continue until the next scheduled board meeting or until a severance package could be reached, whichever came first.

See the complete story in the Tribune.