Muscogee County School Board re-votes to hire member's daughter - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

Muscogee County School Board re-votes and approves to hire member's daughter

Posted: Updated:
COLUMBUS, Ga. -

On Monday night the Muscogee County School Board re-voted and once again approved the hire of a board member's daughter after the first vote broke state law. But this time board member Athavia Senior recused herself from the vote.

In September, the rookie board member voted to hire her daughter, Jonai Senior, as an English teacher at Fort Middle School. But Georgia law states that board members cannot vote on immediate family member's employment within the district. Board Chair Rob Varner called it a simple mistake on Monday and said the new vote would correct it. He said the matter has been frustrating and is distracting the community and the board from other district issues.

News 3 reached out to Athavia Senior on Monday, but our calls were not returned. At the board meeting she said, "I do apologize for inadvertently missing the opportunity to recuse myself at the last board meeting."

Community Activist Nathan Smith is calling on the board to look into the district's hiring practices, which he is calling unfair. "It seems to me that there was possibly a deal made," Smith told News 3 when asked about Jonai Senior's hiring, although he cannot prove it.

Jonai Senior was hired in August after two unexpected openings at Fort Middle School. Smith claims around the same time she applied for the job, her mom, a new board member, changed her view on getting rid of the district's current legal counsel. "All of this appears like Ms. Senior's vote was bought and paid for with a job for her daughter."

District documents show Jonai Senior, who is not yet a certified teacher, was selected from a pool of at least 28 applicants. She was one of five interviewed; four of them had previous teacher certifications. Jonai Senior is currently working under a provisional certification.

"Get a qualified teacher to teach the children. We don't have to settle for second best when we had the best that was applying," Smith said.

But district officials maintain, Jonai Senior is the best person for the job. Documents show she demonstrated a stronger English background than most education majors, is an alumnus of Fort Middle School and has other training that will be useful in athletic or extra-curricular activities. She is on track to get her certification from a Georgia university and has completed at least six course hours in the program, all of which are requirements of the district. Since her area of expertise is a critical needs area as identified by the district they were willing to work with her while she gets certified. School officials said it is common practice to employ people with provisional certifications, as long as they meet all the requirements.

But Smith is still calling for the district probe. "This is possibly is going to open the door for some lawsuits to happen."

Sydney Cameron

Sydney joined the WRBL news team in December 2011 after working as a freelance reporter in Washington, D.C. More>>

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Developing: Teen Killed in Shooting

    Developing: Teen Killed in Shooting

    Friday, August 22 2014 7:37 AM EDT2014-08-22 11:37:05 GMT
    The Columbus Police Department is investigating a death at the intersection of Winston Road and Head Street in South Columbus.As of early Friday morning, detectives continue to investigate at the intersection where a car had crashed into a ditch past the intersection. Witnesses tells News 3 they heard several gun shots and then heard the car crash. The car appeared to be a black or dark blue sedan with significant damage.A detective with the Columbus Police Department at the Public Safety Bui...
    The Columbus Police Department is investigating a death at the intersection of Winston Road and Head Street in South Columbus.As of early Friday morning, detectives continue to investigate at the intersection where a car had crashed into a ditch past the intersection. Witnesses tells News 3 they heard several gun shots and then heard the car crash. The car appeared to be a black or dark blue sedan with significant damage.A detective with the Columbus Police Department at the Public Safety Bui...
  • Baby, mother found dead after "suspicious" Columbus house fire

    Baby, mother found dead after "suspicious" Columbus house fire

    Thursday, August 21 2014 7:40 PM EDT2014-08-21 23:40:04 GMT
    A mother and her baby were killed in a house fire in Columbus early Thursday morning.
    A mother and her baby were killed in a house fire in Columbus early Thursday morning.
  • ONLY ON 3: Video of deadly Columbus gas station shootout

    ONLY ON 3: Video of deadly Columbus gas station shootout

    Thursday, August 21 2014 6:24 PM EDT2014-08-21 22:24:21 GMT
    News 3 has obtained surveillance video showing the deadly shootout at a south Columbus gas station a few weeks ago.Police say on July 31st, Chandler Saxton, 35, fired several shots at John Jones, 31, at the Big Cat Gas Station on Buena Vista Road. The video captures the entire incident, from the initial shooting - to the victim returning fire.In court testimony, police say the shooting stemmed from an argument over a woman. Authoritie...
    News 3 has obtained surveillance video showing the deadly shootout at a south Columbus gas station a few weeks ago.Police say on July 31st, Chandler Saxton, 35, fired several shots at John Jones, 31, at the Big Cat Gas Station on Buena Vista Road. The video captures the entire incident, from the initial shooting - to the victim returning fire.In court testimony, police say the shooting stemmed from an argument over a woman. Authoritie...
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 59 Arrested By Greenville Police In Latest Prostitution Sting

    59 Arrested By Greenville Police In Latest Prostitution Sting

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 9:30 PM EDT2014-08-20 01:30:28 GMT
    Greenville Police released information Tuesday that 59 people were arrested in a four day long prostitution sting.
    Greenville Police released information Tuesday that 59 people were arrested in a four day long prostitution sting.
  • Teen gets 11 years for carving swastika on boy

    Teen gets 11 years for carving swastika on boy

    Thursday, August 21 2014 3:45 PM EDT2014-08-21 19:45:59 GMT
    An Oregon teenager who carved a swastika into another teen's forehead as he and others tortured the boy has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.
    An Oregon teenager who carved a swastika into another teen's forehead as he and others tortured the boy has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.
  • UPDATE: Brandon Mackey Pleads Guilty to Murder of Volunteer Isle of Hope Firefighter

    UPDATE: Brandon Mackey Pleads Guilty to Murder of Volunteer Isle of Hope Firefighter

    Thursday, August 21 2014 4:05 PM EDT2014-08-21 20:05:25 GMT
    Justice could finally be near for the family of a volunteer Isle of Hope Firefighter who police say was shot and killed during a robbery attempt outside a bar in Sandfly back in 2012. 
    Justice could finally be near for the family of a volunteer Isle of Hope Firefighter who police say was shot and killed during a robbery attempt outside a bar in Sandfly back in 2012. 
Powered by WorldNow

1430 East Victory Drive
Savannah, GA 31404

Telephone: 912.651.0300
Fax: 912.651.0320
Email: newsemailalert@wsav.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.