The Metro Nashville Public Schools board on Tuesday voted 4-4 on a recommendation to terminate Sherrie Martin from her position as a teacher at Lockeland Design Center.
The recommendation the board received charged Martin with several counts of unprofessional conduct and asked for the board's vote to certify that the seven charges were true in which case Martin would be provided a hearing before an impartial officer. Since the vote at Tuesday’s board meeting was a tie, the charges will not go against Martin and she remains employed by MNPS.
The board heard from a number of individuals speak on behalf and in support of Martin, who has been a teacher for 18 years and who was named the 2010-2011 teacher of the year at Hattie Cotton STEM Magnet School.
Testimonies presented before the board highlighted Martin's dedication to her students.
Meredith Robinson said her son, who had Martin for second grade last school year, always felt protected and loved by his teacher.
"As a parent I have observed Ms. Martin's interactions with her students many times in the classroom," Robinson said. "She is consistently professional and firm, while maintaining a warm and approachable manner. She is a top-notch teacher."
Other supporters of Martin said that their children excelled in her classroom and some even improved their reading levels while under her.
After Martin's supporters spoke, two of the allegations against Martin were explained before the board.
One allegation claimed that on March 13 Martin was observed shouting instructions to her students about an assignment and that one of the students came up to her asking her assistance with a math problem and that Martin said to the student in a loud and demeaning tone, "don't you come over here looking at me. What did I tell you to do? Go."
Another of the allegations explained during the meeting was from a teacher who was in Martin's classroom on May 1 while Martin administered the SAT 10. The other teacher reported that during the test, Martin repeatedly checked messages and was working on her cell phone while she was reading the questions, which made her miss her place and ask the questions incorrectly, confusing the students. The report went on to say that when students asked her to clarify a question, Martin was hostile toward them and accused them of not paying attention to the test questions.
Also during the meeting, Sharon Chaney, director of Advanced Academics presented for the board a layout and explanation of the Cambridge Programme, which is set to be implemented and authorized at Cane Ridge, McGavock, Overton and Whites Creek this fall.
Chaney said the Cambridge International Examinations program is an examination board with an assessment group. The Advanced International Certificate of Education courses are designed for juniors and seniors in high school. The International General Certificate of Secondary Education courses are for freshman and sophomores.
“The students who step up and take these courses are expanding their audiences in wonderful ways,” said Chaney.
She said there would be increased funding for teacher training for the program but that in IGCSE there are not required student exams so there are not required fees per student. In the AICE program would need to be funded based on how many students there are in the courses.
Chaney also estimated that an ideal number of AICE diploma students would be 50 in each school by the time the students who start the program are seniors. For the first year, the projected combined cost of the program in the four schools is $99,000.