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Susan Curlee turns in official resignation to Williamson commissioner


Susan Curlee turns in official resignation to Williamson commissioner

By EMILY R. WEST

As of Thursday morning, District 12 school board member Susan Curlee has resigned from her seat on the board.

Williamson County Commission Chair Jack Walton said he received her official resignation email at 9:30 a.m. It has taken Curlee nearly a month to provide an official resignation.

She sent me an email this morning and resigned,” Walton said. “I have been talking to her for several weeks, and we just had to work some things out.” 

Curlee publicly announced her intention to resign in July via an emailed press release given to the Home Page from Michael DelGiorno, who said he provided the information on behalf of Curlee. DelGiorno has a show on WWTN on SuperTalk radio.

In her email to Walton, she issued the same release asking for the resignation.

As for what happens next was unclear to Walton. The Williamson County Commission meets Sept. 12, where they members will discuss it.

“County Attorney Bobby Cook said it has to be accepted by the legislative body, which is the county commission,” Walton said. “In years past when someone has resigned, I don’t recall having a vote to accept that. So I am unclear how that process works.”

Walton said Curlee will give back her district issued laptop to the WCS IT Department.  

What has Curlee done in two years while serving?

Curlee has had a tumultuous experience on the board since her election in 2014.

Right after her receiving her seat, she and several other newly elected members issued a public statement denying assertions reported in The Tennessean that they intended to work for the dismissal of Superintendent Mike Looney.

She then filed a Freedom of Information Act on Sept. 29, 2014, for emails that had correspondence from Superintendent Mike Looney and the past board members; correspondence with certain parents; correspondence the names Beth Burgos, Susan Curlee, Dan Cash and/or Candace Emerson; and correspondence referencing Williamson Strong and Williamson Secrets.

At a Let’s Talk Schools event in October 2014, parents crowded into a classroom with Curlee asking why she filed the request in the first place.

Back in December 2014, Curlee filed a complaint with the State Registry of Campaign Finance, claiming the Williamson Strong group acted as an unregistered PAC. In her complaint, she cited several actions the group took during and before the August 2014 election, including the purchasing of voter data, phone banking and purchasing Facebook advertising. She also objected to one of the founding member’s employment with the Service Employee’s International Union.

Five Williamson County Schools parents founded Williamson Strong in June 2014, just prior to the August 2014 county general election that brought six new members onto the school board, Curlee included.

In May 2015, the Registry fined the group a total of $5,000 between two civil penalties.

Curlee was asked to give a deposition in the case. Right now, the appeals issue won’t resolve itself until later this fall.

Although she hadn’t been on the board a whole year, a motion to censure Curlee came before the board in March 2015, brought by Bobby Hullett on the grounds that Curlee had violated the Board Code of Ethics on multiple occasions. He also brought up her media appearances throughout her time as an elected official, questioning of school administrators and local parents.

In June 2015, Curlee called for Looney’s termination. In that same time frame, Metro Nashville Public Schools included Looney in their pool of candidates for becoming their superintendent. He later declined the position. The next month, now District 63 House candidate Courtenay Rogers started a petition for Curlee’s resignation.

Two months later in September, Curlee received backlash after using the word “retarded” on her Twitter.

Before the start of 2016, Curlee started two Internet petitions after she became inspired from her experience in participating in her children’s schools, involving herself with their parent teacher organizations and reviewing social studies textbooks for the last two years.

The petition expressed Curlee’s views that the TNReady assessment test centers on religion, not so much on historical context. It asked that the Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen remove the mandatory testing requirement for sixth- and seventh-graders.

In the spring of 2016, the District 12 board member also dealt with being named in a lawsuit. The suit evolved out of a video clip of a middle school fight aired on a Nashville TV station. A draft of the lawsuit obtained by the Home Page in April charged that the school board violated the privacy of a student protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. It also called out Curlee, who allegedly forwarded sensitive information from an email sent by Superintendent Mike Looney. The lawsuit cost the district $36,000 to settle the lawsuit brought by the student’s parents.

Emily West covers Franklin and Williamson County government and schools for Home Page Media Group. Contact her at emily@franklinhomepage.com. Follow her on Twitter via @emwest22.

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