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Asst. Superintendent sanctioned by state

Recently released documents reveal that McCreary County Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Aaron Anderson was reprimanded by the Education Professional Standards Board this past year for reportedly
having a sexual encounter on a school bus while at an elementary basketball tournament.

The documents, obtained via an open records request filed by Darlene Price, host of the Truth or Politics show, indicate the EPSB issued the reprimand after learning Anderson was accused of discrimination by a candidate for a school nurses position who was not hired for the job.

The discrimination complaint letter, included in the released documents, alleges the accuser and Dr. Anderson had sex on a school bus while the Pine Knot Intermediate School basketball team was attending a tournament in Wayne County. Anderson was coach of the team at the time.

The incident reportedly occurred three or four years ago (no specific date was provided in the complaint.)
The accuser had previously been employed by the Lake Cumberland District Health Department as a school nurse.

Subsequently she had resigned her position, but in 2015 applied for a similar position within the school district when the relationship between the LCDHD and McCreary County School District ended.

The accuser was one of several applicants for the position, and ultimately was not hired, prompting her to file a grievance with the Board of Education.

“I feel that I have been unfairly treated because of my sexual relationship with Mr. Anderson,” the complaint read.

“He has not suffered because of the encounter but I am being kept from getting a job I am more than qualified for because of this.”

In his rebuttal to the claim of discrimination, Anderson admitted that he and the accuser had a “consensual event” three years prior to the hiring of nurses, but denied the previous relationship had any bearing on the hiring process.

It stated the accuser “voluntarily sought him (Anderson) out for an encounter which was in no way coercive or conditioned at all by any employment considerations.”

The rebuttal claims Anderson had no input on the hiring process, other than conducting the interviews, with the final decision coming from Superintendent Cash. It further stated that Cash had received a poor reference on the applicant from the principal at the former school where she worked, which resulted in the non-hiring.

Anderson also claimed the accuser’s text messages indicate she was attempting to use the prior encounter as a means to better improve her chances of getting the job.

A series of text messages, submitted as evidence in the hearing, show the accuser contacting Anderson about the interview and the two referencing the bus encounter throughout the conversation.

The messages and information about other alleged incidents were sent to the Office of Educational Accountability by then Director of Pupil Personnel Mitzi Stephens, which apparently initiated the investigation.

In May the EPSB concluded their investigation and entered an agreed order with Anderson stating his certificate would be retroactively suspended from May through August 2016 and would have to complete 12 hours of educator ethics training by December. Anderson agreed to the terms of the order and “acknowledges that his conduct constitutes a violation of … the Professional Code of Ethics for Kentucky School Certified personnel.”

He was also placed under a two-year probationary period, wherein Anderson would receive an automatic one-year suspension of his certificate if he were to be subject to any disciplinary action involving sexual misconduct during that time.

The documents also mention at least two other accusations against Anderson arising from alleged similar behavior in the past, but no evidence supporting those claims were provided and no actions were taken against him.

Anderson began his teaching career with the McCreary County School District in 1997 at Whitley City Elementary before moving to McCreary Central High School. In 2001 he was named Principal at McCreary Middle before joining the administration as Assistant Superintendent in 2007.

When asked about the documents Tuesday Superintendent Mike Cash stated he could not provide specific information pertaining to the allegations, noting it is considered a personnel matter and he is not authorized to discuss such matters.

Cash did state the alleged incident occurred five years ago, under the previous administration, and no apparent action was taken at that time.

He claims the issue was brought to his attention two weeks after he was installed as Superintendent, and he followed procedure by reporting the allegation to the EPRSB.

Cash also stated the matter between Dr. Anderson and the EPSB is considered final and Anderson will remain under probation.

Additional documents released this week on a separate matter show that Cash was reprimanded by the EPSB in 2006 for sharing an inappropriate email with other staff members more than a decade ago.

In 2006 the Voice obtained records from the EPSB showing that Cash, along with several other teachers and staff in the school district were investigated for an inappropriate “joke” email shared via the district’s email servers.

The email reportedly contained an image of the “Michelin Man” and a chubby infant – comparing the two images.

The EPSB admonished the staff involved in sharing the email. The admonishment indicated: “the evidence presented provides a clear indication that the alleged conduct, while not of a serious nature, did occur.

Cash was also required to undertake 12 hours of professional development in the area of ethics and complete 20 hours of community service: both conditions were met and satisfied the conditions of the order and no further actions were deemed necessary.

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