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School Board Demotes, Reassigns Knightdale Elementary Principal

August 7, 2008

By The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.

Aug. 7–RALEIGH — The Wake County school board has demoted the suspended principal of Knightdale Elementary School.

Michael S. Williams, 36, will become an assistant principal at Wakefield High School in North Raleigh. School officials say Williams, who has been suspended with pay since July 14, had asked to be reassigned.

Retired Principal Judy Dudley will become Knightdale Elementary’s interim principal.

School officials won’t say why Williams was suspended, citing personnel regulations. Williams has declined to comment.

But the suspension and transfer are taking place at the same time that the state and the school district are investigating allegations that state exams were inappropriately conducted at the school this past spring.

School officials will not say whether the suspension is connected to the investigations.

The state exams are used to determine school performance and bonus checks for teachers. The State Board of Education will announce Thursday which schools are eligible for bonus checks.

Vanessa Jeter, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Instruction, said the state is waiting for Wake to complete its investigation first.

Jeter said the state investigates about a dozen major allegations of testing violations each year. State officials are refusing to say whether the Knightdale case is a major allegation.

The school board announced Williams’ transfer Tuesday after discussing it behind closed doors.

Michael Evans, a Wake schools spokesman, said Williams will see a cut from his $55,000 annual salary.

Williams has worked in Wake since 1999. He became Knightdale Elementary’s assistant principal in 2001. He was named principal in May 2007.

In other action Tuesday, the school board named Brian Pittman the new principal of Holly Ridge Middle School in Holly Springs. He has been an assistant principal at Middle Creek High School since 2005.

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