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Parker may soon be out as Cannon County Director of Schools

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The book may be about to close on the second chapter of Barbara Parker's tenure as Cannon County Director of Schools.

At its workshop Tuesday night, Cannon County Board of Education member Tim Powers elicited information from the board's new attorney, Michael R. Jennings of Watertown, that one of the reasons he was hired was to handle any legal issues which might follow a decision by the board to fire Parker.

Parker has served as director of schools from 1996-2004 and 2009-present. She was not at the workshop as she was attending a director's conference in Gatlinburg

An item on the agenda for Thursday night's meeting of the school board at Woodbury Grammar School has Powers scheduled to "address the Board concerning 'legal matter' in attorney's letter."

Reading from the letter sent to board members by Jennings, who the board hired during its August meeting, Powers asked him what the "legal matter" mentioned in the letter was. Jennings responded it was in reference to Parker's employment status and any action the board might take to terminate her contract.

Powers, along with fellow board member Nathan Sanders, expressed dismay that Parker's employment situation had been discussed with Jennings without their knowledge.

"Maybe it's legal, but I just don't do things that way," Powers said. "That's why we're functioning dysfunctionally if you ask me. It just doesn't make sense. It's a poor way to do it. If you want to talk about things, her contract ends in less than a year. If you want to get rid of her then, do it. She can't sue us ... I mean she can sue us but she has no right ... and then we don't pay two people at once. That just makes plain sense to me, does it not?

"If you're going to let someone go, unless they're doing something crazy, and she's been a fine .. to me she's done everything she's been asked to do," Powers said. "And you're going to do something without matter? You'll find a matter. I'm sure you'll find a reason to get rid of her but she's going to come back and I guarantee you, the two and a half years I've been here, she's done nothing inappropriate to my knowledge. But maybe something will come out. It's pretty sad you want to do things behind people's back, instead of out front in front of everybody."

Thursday's board meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.
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