Hearing Held for Former Super
Tuesday, 23 February 2010

February 23--  The Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC) claims it has at least three reasons why a former Montgomery County School Superintendent should have her professional certification revoked.

In 2007, the PSC found probable cause to revoke the certification of Dale Clark of Uvalda in the aftermath of a highly publicized case regarding Clark's daughter Carrie O'Conner, a high school guidance counselor at the time, and a 16-year-old male student at Montgomery County High School.  The two were accused of having a sexul relationship, however, O'Conner was found not guilty of criminal charges in the case.  Clark is appealing the revocation.

At an administrative law hearing Tuesday in Dublin, attorneys for the PSC claimed Clark engaged in unprofessional conduct, misrepresentation and failed to report her daughter's alleged activities to the state.  Lawyer Rebecca Mick also said another case involving alleged misuse of public funds for cell phones by Clark is still waiting in the wings.

Mick believes Clark lied to a PSC investigator when she denied any knowledge of an inappropriate relationship between her daughter and the student prior to the launching of a GBI investigation March 20, 2007.  Clark's lawyers, Mackey Bryant and Paul Cook of Vidalia, called witnesses who testified she was near hysteria when she learned of the allegations in March.  However, GBI agent Kendra Lynn testified Mrs. Clark told her she heard rumors of an "inappropriate relationship" in January, 2007 but did not think it included sex and advised her daughter to end it.

The teacher who reported the case to the PSC, Christopher Bowman, told the hearing he was fired the day the GBI arrived at the school.  Later, he met with Mrs. Clark at her home and taped a conversation where she offered to pull his letter of termination and give him a good letter of recommendation if he would resign voluntarily.

Clark's lawyers countered with testimony from Montgomery County High School principal Luke Smith who said Bowman was a poor teacher and had already been informed his contract would not be renewed before he reported his suspicions regarding the superintendent's daughter.

The student's mother, Rosa Sanchez, had once been a housekeeper for Clark and was later hired to work at the high school to help Spanish-language students.  She testified she lost her jobs after Clark discussed concerns about the woman's daughters and son spending too much time at the O'Connor house.  Lawyers for Clark claim she resigned because she was in the country illegally and could not get her driver's license, which at one time was a job requirement, renewed.

The hearing resumes Wednesday morning with Dale Clark scheduled to testify. Her attorney claims she never reported her daughter to the PSC because the case had already been reported by Christopher Bowman and there was no need to "report it twice."

(Editor's Note, 24 Feb 10:  The above story was edited this date to reflect that Mrs. Clark's certification has not been revoked, but that the PSC believes there is probable cause for a revocation.  Thanks to Mrs. Clark for bringing this to our attention.)

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