Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Former principal Petrilli loses lawsuit

attorney says she's likely to appeal

This from Jim Warren at the Herald-Leader, Photos by Mark Cornelison:

A Fayette Circuit Court jury decided against former Booker T. Washington Academy principal Peggy Petrilli on Tuesday afternoon, rejecting her claim that the county school system and Superintendent Stu Silberman forced her out of her job.

Jurors deliberated for a little more than 31/2 hours before emerging to report their conclusion that Petrilli "voluntarily resigned from her position as principal of Booker T. Washington Academy on August 27, 2007."

Under instructions given to the jury by Circuit Judge James Ishmael, the first question jurors had to consider was whether Petrilli's resignation was voluntary. Once jurors concluded it was, Petrilli's other claims essentially were rendered moot. Ten of the 12 jurors agreed on the finding. Nine are required to reach a decision. The jury was composed of seven women and five men, including two African-Americans...

Some of Warren's story from Monday failed to make it into the print edition. Here's what you may have missed:

Petrilli civil case against schools nears deliberation A civil case against the Fayette County Public Schools brought by former Booker T. Washington Academy principal Peggy Petrilli apparently will go to the jury Tuesday. ...On Monday, however, Alva Clark insisted that she never sought Petrilli's dismissal.

"I personally did not want her to be fired," Clark said on direct examination by Silberman's attorney John McNeil. Clark maintained that a meeting the parents had with Silberman on Aug. 22, 2007, was not to demand that Petrilli be fired, but instead was intended to "figure out how we maybe could resolve some things."

Parents gave Silberman a 21/2-page list of complaints about Petrilli at that meeting. Petrilli resigned a few days later.
In other developments Monday, Petrilli's former supervisor, Lisa Stone, offered more testimony about Petrilli's supposed administrative failings. School district officials testified last week that Petrilli was a strong instructional leader, but made repeated and sometimes serious administrative errors.

But Petrilli's attorney, J. Dale Golden, sharply questioned why Stone didn't list such shortcomings on Petrilli's 2005 job evaluation, which showed Petrilli meeting all five standards required of a principal. Stone admitted that she chose not to prepare a formal "corrective action plan" for Petrilli, which would have listed problems and steps to correct them. Stone said she wanted instead to maintain a "positive relationship" with Petrilli. "I felt like I could give guidance ... and she would get better," Stone said.


Anonymous said...

What a shame with this outcome. It sounds like Dr. Holliday will fit in just fine and I do believe his new best friend just might be Stu Silberman. Based on many of the comments on this site, it appears the superintendent and BOE of Fayette Co. are mirror images of Iredell/Statesville school district.

Anonymous said...

I don't know that Dr. Holliday would be foolish enough to align himself with Mr. Silberman. There are simply too many pending lawsuits against Fayette County Public Schools.

Richard Day said...


Remember, the new model of school reformer is the strong leader who sets a vision, drives the program and monitors with data. Folks get on the bus or run over by the bus. I don't know Holliday very well but suspect he and Silberman (who fended off numerous entreaties to be commissioner) are pretty much on the same page.

The thing was Petrilli.

Anonymous said...

To the blogger that stated: There are simply too many pending lawsuits against Fayette County Public Schools. As it was noted, he will fit in just fine. I don't believe ISS has even begun their search for justice. Although it was starting to heat up . . perhaps the quick exodus to Kentucky.

Anonymous said...

What is ISS?

Richard Day said...

ISS is Terry Holliday's old district in North Carolina...Iredell Statesville Schools.

Anonymous said...

"What is ISS?"


ISS and Holliday have nothing to do with this story.

Anonymous said...

To the above blogger: Exactly. ISS and Holliday have nothing to do with story....Just wait.