MDE seeks to revoke Heidelberg Elementary School principal’s license

FILE PHOTO: Lowanda Tyler Jones (Photo from Heidelberg Elem. website)

CLARKSDALE, Miss. (WJTV) — A complaint has been filed against the principal at Heidelberg Elementary School alleging that she encouraged cheating on state tests.

The Mississippi State Department of Education issued an administrative complaint against Lowanda Tyler-Jones on Wednesday. She is the third person at the school served with a complaint.

MDE is seeking to revoke her license.

The complaint says that Jones either directed, aided, counseled, assisted in, encouraged or failed to report any acts that violated state law during the 2013 MCT2 testing period.

“Our investigation has yielded evidence that Ms. Tyler-Jones directed and encouraged cheating during the 2012-13 school year,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “As I have said before, we remain committed to pursuing the appropriate disciplinary action against those who were involved in the testing irregularities.”

“Principals are charged with ensuring that all of the students in their schools receive a quality education. Cheating by a principal undermines the integrity of the school, deprives students of an opportunity to learn, and puts students behind academically. A school leader who engages in this type of conduct does not belong in any school,” Wright said.

The investigation at Heidelberg Elementary in the Clarksdale Municipal School District began in May 2014.

Former Heidelberg Elementary School teacher Frances Smith-Kemp was the first to be served with a complaint alleging she was involved in testing irregularities. Smith surrendered her teaching license for two years in July.

Former Heidelberg Elementary School teacher Tetra Winters was the second to be served with a complaint. The Commission on Teacher and Administrator Education, Certification and Licensure and Development voted last month to suspend her license for five years.

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