UPDATED: Former Creekside Principal Reassigned to Hartland High School
Tracey Sahouri now serving as an assistant principal following an investigation over MEAP test irregularities.
A Hartland elementary school principal who has been at the center of two controversies and recently placed on a paid leave has been resassigned to the high school as an assistant prinicpal.
Former Creekside Elementary School principal Tracey Sahouri was moved to the high school after a district investigation of the MEAP test irregularities, according to a statement from Hartland School District Superintendent Janet Sifferman issued Thursday.
Last week, she was placed on an indefinite paid leave, and Lawrence Pumford, an assistant principal at the high school, was named acting principal. Pumford will remain principal at Creekside the rest of this year, Sifferman said.
"My decision is based on the desire to do what is best for students and teachers at both Creekside Elementary and the high school, and I believe these assignments accomplish both goals. Both of these administrators will be effective in the positions they have been placed," she said.
"It is anticipated that the Michigan Department of Education will issue its report concerning this matter in mid-November."
At the high school, Sahouri will report directly to Principal Chuck Hughes and will be in charge of day-to-day management issues, such as parking lot, grounds and maintenance, Sifferman said in an email to Hartland Patch.
In addition, she will interact with students daily when needed, she said.
"Her strengths as an administrator are her abilities to interact with students and parents," Sifferman said. "The district is waiting for the outcome of her case in the court system. It will then take whatever actions may be warranted based on the outcome."
The case is slated for a Nov. 30 pre-trial hearing and possible Dec. 8 trial in Genesee County's 67th District Court.
Sahouri and her husband, Raed, maintain their innocence and deny they knowingly allowed underage drinking at their Argentine Township home during a July 9 party, but police say they have evidence from witnesses to indicate otherwise. Police were called when a 15-year-old intoxicated Linden girl needed medical attention.
The Sahouris' attorney says his own investigation clears the couple, with witnesses providing new information. He charges the misdemeanor ticket was issued from a "rogue" department that only pursued the case to generate headlines possible for the chief's bid to run for sheriff.
The department's chief countered that there was plenty of evidence to ticket the couple and said the department responded to a call and no one knew Sahouri was a school principal until media inquiries.
The district initially took no employment action against Sahouri after its own investigation didn't find the allegations credible enough to do anything before the outcome the judicial process.
But some commentators on Hartland Patch argued she should go on administrative leave, a point reiterated after the Michigan Department of Education launched an investigation over MEAP security at Creekside in October and found a breach that forced the district to administer alternative tests.
At the time, school officials said there was no cheating and Sahouri followed district procedures.
Sifferman said Thursday the district investigation shows how "the tests were sorted and stored could have opened the door for the possibility of a breach with the writing prompt."
She said she decided to do conduct an internal probe because the state has refused to provide its own findings until the final report is released later this month.
"The department repeatedly told me they couldn’t give me much information until the written report came," Sifferman said. "I was not willing to wait for it."