published Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Hamilton County Schools superintendent suspends Signal Mountain principal without pay

Tom McCullough
Tom McCullough
Matt Fields-Johnson
Do you agree with the superintendent's decision to suspend Tom McCullough?

Superintendent Rick Smith has suspended without pay Signal Mountain Middle-High School Principal Tom McCullough just weeks shy of his retirement.

McCullough was notified Friday of the superintendent’s decision. The move is in response to the way McCullough handled a senior trip to the Bahamas, in which teachers and students were accused of drinking.

Six staff members and more than a dozen students were disciplined after returning from the spring break cruise.

McCullough did not want to comment on the situation, but did make a statement.

“The superintendent has broad powers over personnel in Hamilton County,” he said. “He has chosen to exercise those powers and suspend me, a veteran principal with many years of experience just prior to my retirement.”

The principal announced his retirement on Wednesday. His current contract runs until June 30.

McCullough said he’s unsure how the decision will affect his retirement and is still examining his options.

Smith was not immediately available for comment.

about Kevin Hardy...

Kevin rejoined the Times Free Press in August 2011 as the Southeast Tennessee K-12 education reporter. He worked as an intern in 2009, covering the communities of Signal Mountain, Red Bank, Collegedale and Lookout Mountain, Tenn. A native Kansan, Kevin graduated with bachelor's degrees in journalism and sociology from the University of Kansas. After graduating, he worked as an education reporter in Hutchinson, Kan., for a year before coming back to Chattanooga. Honors include a ...

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