Dr. Trotter's Letter of Concern to DeKalb Middle School Principal!
MACE is concerned that State Law dealing with Annual Evaluations of teachers was incorrectly followed! 
 (Names of individuals in the letter have been changed.)


August 22, 2006



Porsche Morgan, Principal

DeKalb County Middle School

123 Mockingbird LN

DeKalb County, GA  45678



Dear Principal Morgan:


     I am in possession of the “Annual Evaluation Summary Report” that Assistant Principal Elton completed, dated April 16, 2006, about Ms. Classie Spikes, a teacher at your school.  You signed and dated it on April 10, 2006, and Ms. Spikes did on May 15, 2006.  These dates are out of kilter not only logically but legally, and Assistant Principal Elton’s poorly handwritten negative comments in the “Georgia Teacher Duties and Responsibilities Instrument Summary Comments” hardly jive with the three “Satisfactory” ratings Ms. Spikes received in the “Evaluation Summary.”  What is going on at DeKalb County Middle School?  You know very well that Ms. Spikes is a MACE member because Ms. Spikes has already sent a lengthy missive to you about your administrative team’s mistreatment of her, a missive approved by and copied to MACE.  You should be aware that I will not countenance MACE members being treated any old way in the workplace, and I am baffled why you would feel that you have the right to treat Ms. Spikes any old way at DeKalb County Middle.


     State law is specific as to Annual Evaluations.  O.C.G.A. 20-2-210(d) states:  “The superintendent of each local school system shall identify an appropriately trained evaluator for each person employed by the local unit of administration for the purposes of completing an annual evaluation as required in subsections (a) and (b) of this Code section.  The evaluator shall be required to complete such annual evaluation for each certificated person prior to April 1 of each year.  The superintendent of each local school system shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with this Code section.”  The dates of Ms. Spikes’ “Annual Evaluation” reflect a violation of this law.  You signed and dated the document on April 10, 2006.  Assistant Principal Elton, Ms. Spikes’ “appropriately trained evaluator,” signed and dated the document on April 16, 2006.  Ms. Spikes, however, did not sign and date it until May 15, 2006, a full month after Assistant Principal Elton did!  I am doubly bothered by this because, one, all signatures and dates on the “Annual Evaluation” occur after the first of April, and two, if Assistant Principal Elton functioned as Ms. Spikes’ primary observer, why did he sign and date the document six days after you signed and dated it?  This makes his handwritten comments suspect.  Were these comments on the “Annual Evaluation” when you signed it?  Did you force Assistant Principal Elton to append the comments prior to his signing the document, or did Assistant Principal Elton add them after you had signed?  Whatever the case, something about the promulgation of this “Annual Evaluation” has a slight odor!


     The promulgation of Ms. Spikes’ “Annual Evaluation” by the administration of DeKalb County Middle School is not the only thing that smells bad.  Assistant Principal Elton’s written comments stink, too.  In the “Georgia Teacher Observation Instrument Summary Comments” section, he offers three comments:  “Your lesson content is appropriate for the learners.  You promoted engagement of students in the lessons of the class by moving from desk to desk and checking for individual student progress.  The physical setting is appropriate for the learners.”  He then, however, writes a series of extremely negative and unfair comments in the “Georgia Teacher Duties and Responsibilities Instrument Summary Comments” section:  “To remain satisfactory for the remainder of the 2005-2006 school year as well as for the 2006-207 school year [sic] improvement is needed in the following areas. [sic]  Working cooperately [sic] with administration and support personnel as well as colleagues and parents. [sic] Become [sic] more punctual to work and class. [sic] Maintain [sic] student records and reports in a timely manner. [sic] Working cooperately [sic] with staff and students at the assigned times. [sic] Following directions of administration in supervising students.”  Well, a number of things just leap out of this mÚlange of apparent meanness.  First, Assistant Principal Elton definitely needs to be placed on a PDP for his incredibly poor use of Standard Written English.  It simply galls me that DeKalb County Schools would allow such an apparent illiterate to represent the system in the evaluation of a teacher!  Second, I count five specific areas that Assistant Principal Elton writes that Ms. Spikes needs to show improvement; however, Assistant Principal Elton rates Ms. Spikes as “Satisfactory” both in the “Georgia Teacher Duties and Responsibilities Instrument” and in the “Overall Evaluation Summary” areas of the “Evaluation Summary.”  Is this pettiness, mean-spiritedness, incompetence, retaliation, or a combo of all?  I opt for the latter explanation and suggest that Assistant Principal Elton is retaliating against Ms. Spikes for having written and sent the previous letter about her mistreatment at DeKalb County Middle School at the hands of your administrative team.  Third, Assistant Principal Elton has written in the “Identify GTDRI Areas for Required PDP” of the “Annual Evaluation” the following codes – “I. A [sic] 2. 5. I [sic] B. 1. 3. 5. D. 2 [sic]” – codes that, I assume, will be the content of a “Required PDP” for Ms. Spikes.  Again, I question why Assistant Principal Elton wrote these negative comments on Ms. Spikes’ “Annual Evaluation” while, at the same time, I assume, rated her “Satisfactory” for the very area he wrote the negative commentary.  The illogic of this gives rise to suspicions as to his motives.  Reading through the comments a person would come to believe that Ms. Spikes is a horrible professional who does not cooperate with the school’s administration and who does not follow set time schedules.  If this were the case, Ms. Spikes should have already been placed on a PDP and should have been rated as “Unsatisfactory” in the “Georgia Teacher Duties and Responsibilities Instrument” of the “Evaluation Summary.”  She was not; therefore, Assistant Principal Elton’s written comments are inappropriate and unwarranted and should be excised from Ms. Spikes’ “Annual Evaluation.”       


     Please accept this letter as both Ms. Spikes’ rebuttal to the “Annual Evaluation” prepared by Assistant Principal Elton and as my request that you direct Assistant Principal Elton to create an appropriate “Annual Evaluation” for Ms. Spikes in which the apparent negative, mean-spirited comments he included in the “Georgia Teacher Duties and Responsibilities Instrument Summary Comments” are removed.  That would, logically, necessitate the removal of the codes in the “Identify GTDRI Areas for Required PDP” that Assistant Principal Elton has included on the “Annual Evaluation.”  I conclude with a request that you admonish your administrative team at DeKalb County Middle School to abide by Board policy, State and Federal law, and ethical codes, especially as they relate to teachers who also enjoy membership in MACE.






                                                                        John R. A. Trotter, Ed.D.,J.D.




Copy:  Mr. J. Anderson Ramay, Esq,, MACE

          Ms. Classie Spikes

          Board Members            

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