Hartland High School Administrator Tracey Sahouri Could be Reassigned as Teacher
Charges are for improperly administering the MEAP test and not about the underage drinking case, school board president says.
Hartland High School Assistant Principal Tracey Sahouri could become a teacher next school year, as the Board of Education decided to consider non-renewal of her administrative contract.
The board's action on Monday dealt with charges against Sahouri regarding her alleged misconduct in administering MEAP tests, and not with the underage drinking case against her husband, which was dismissed in December, said School Board President Kevin Kaszyca.
in July, Sahouri and her husband Raed Sahouri were accused of knowingly allowing underage drinking at their child's graduation party at their home in Argentine Township. The school district was very supportive of Sahouri during the case, Kaszyca said. The accusations about the MEAP testing and the current board action are a completely separate issue, he said.
The board unanimously voted to consider not renewing Sahouri's administrative contract. It determined there is sufficient reason to consider it, the resolution said.
Superintendent Janet Sifferman said charges against Sahouri on the MEAP testing are the results of her investigation and an investigation by the Michigan Department of Education.
According to the investigation in October, Sahouri, who was then principal of Creekside Elementary School, unwrapped the exams a week before they were to be given to students, organized them by class and kept them locked in her office.
Sahouri was reassigned to Hartland High School in November.
At the meeting, Sahouri's attorney Tom Pabst commented on the issue.
He said that it was his understanding that other Hartland administrators adminster the MEAP in the same way Sahouri did, Pabst said.
He called it "selective enforcement" that Sahouri was disciplined and others were not. He said he believes the board's action has to do with the underage drinking case.
These previous charges were totally false, and Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton dismissed them, Pabst added.
Sifferman and Kaszyca said it is not true other Hartland school administrators improperly administer the MEAP.
Charges on MEAP misconduct include Sahouri's alleged sharing of secure test items from the testing book with certain staff, the board's resolution read. In addition, she is accused of impeding the Michigan Department of Education's investigation into the matter and placing improper pressure on school staff in regards to the investigation. Sahouri was untruthful during HCS' investigation, the charges continued.
The Board of Education could vote, at a future meeting, to make Sahouri a classroom teacher. She began her career in the district as a special education teacher and has worked for Hartland Consolidated Schools (HCS) for at least 15 years, Sifferman said. In addition, Sahouri was an assistant principal at the middle school before becoming principal at Creekside Elementary School.
"It's a very sad time," Sifferman said.
Sahouri is certified as a K-12 special education teacher. Regarding where Sahouri could be assigned as a teacher in the district, Sifferman said administration makes decisions on the school district's staffing needs near the end of May.
Pabst asked the board to "take a cold, hard look at her file," and to "do the right thing — dismiss this motion."
"She's a credit to this school system," he said.
His words were met with applause from the audience, many of whom spoke on Sahouri's behalf. Many of the speakers, including Sahouri's husband, Raed Sahouri, commented on how Sahouri supports the district's "3 R" goals of Reason, Respect and Responsibility.
Parent Diane Rhodes said what the board is doing is "totally uncalled for," and Sahouri is an outstanding administrator who has done nothing wrong. In addition, Rhodes believes the board should apologize to Sahouri.
"She deserves total respect," Rhodes said.
Keith Van Houten is a parent in the school district whose children had Sahouri as a principal at Creekside Elementary. Van Houten echoed statements supporting Sahouri. One of his sons has a medical issue, and Van Houten said Sahouri took a lead role in supporting the family and developing a plan for the boy's education.
"She thought of everything," he said.
Parent Michelle Gonzalez said Sahouri has shown "an extreme amount of tolerance" for "everything everyone's put her through in the media."
"I completely admire her," Gonzalez said. "I've never seen my child blossom the way he did during the time he had with her."
Kaszyca said the board has another regular meeting scheduled in March, in which it will decide on administrative contracts in the school district. It could consider non-renewal of Sahouri's administrative contract at this time, or Sahouri has 30 days to ask for a separate meeting. She can choose whether the board considers the issue in public or closed session, he said.