Newport Superintendent Kelly Middleton claims critical school audit defamed him

Aug 23, 2019 by

The leader of a Northern Kentucky school district that has struggled academically in recent years has filed suit against auditors who gave his district low marks, claiming they defamed him.

Newport Independent Schools Superintendent Kelly Middleton claims the audit included false statements from “disgruntled” employees involved in test cheating, was shielded from any appeal and hurt his reputation, including his ability to land educational speaking gigs.

The suit, filed Tuesday in federal court in Covington, names as defendants the Kentucky Department of Education, some of its officials and members of AdvancED, a company under contract with the department to perform audits.

The January audit “announced to the public that (Middleton) does not have the capacity to lead a school district,” the suit claims.

Last year, Newport’s elementary, intermediate and high schools were identified as among the bottom 5% lowest-performing schools in the state, which prompted the audit.

Auditors with AdvancED conducted classroom observations and interviewed or surveyed teachers, administrators and parents. The district received the lowest mark possible in every leadership category but one, in which it received the second-lowest mark.

Auditors reported complaints by staff that professional development activities were implemented without teacher input. Interviews also revealed district administrators failed to spend meaningful time in schools and failed to provide useful feedback to teachers, the report stated. Several district administrators corroborated this.

Source: Newport Superintendent Kelly Middleton claims critical school audit defamed him

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