Two top South-Doyle High School administrators will return to work – a little more than three months after they were placed on suspended leave with pay and a few days after the school year comes to a close.
The duo – principal Tim Berry and assistant principal/athletic director/head football coach Clark Duncan – will return May 23.
However, Berry will serve 10 days on administrative leave without pay from May 9-13 and May 16-20; and Duncan will receive three days on leave without pay from May 18-20.
Further, the two must attend an "intensive individual training and on reporting requirements" class conducted by the school system and Knox County Sheriff's Office.
They will be allowed to attend the South-Doyle High School graduation rehearsal and the graduation ceremony, according to letters sent Monday to each of them by KCS Superintendent Jim McIntyre. They can sit on stage for graduation, be introduced and shake hands with graduations.
However, they cannot serve as a speaker, participate in the program or hand out diplomas.
The last school day for students is May 19 and the last day for teachers is May 20.
Berry’s contract runs through June 30 and Duncan’s runs through May 27.
The contracts are automatically renewed if the administration takes no action, according to school spokeswoman Melissa Tindell.
McIntyre initially placed Berry and Duncan on administrative leave in February, pending an investigation into allegations they didn’t perform their “essential responsibilities and duties.”
At issue was how much they knew about Kelsey McCarter, the wife of a former South-Doyle assistant football coach, allegedly having sex with a former student.
In the wake of the suspension, Justin McCarter, Kelsey’s husband, resigned from his position as an assistant football coach.
Authorities late last month arrested Kelsey McCarter after a grand jury charged her with six counts of statutory rape and one count of exploiting a minor.
The Knox County District Attorney General’s Office also reviewed the actions of Berry, Duncan and Justin McCarter, focusing on “their conduct in the aftermath of the allegations concerning” Kelsey McCarter.
Prosecutor said they looked into the trio since “this conduct related to state law requiring the immediate reporting of child sexual abuse to DCS of law enforcement officers.”
District Attorney General Charme Allen at the time said “after a careful review of the evidence in this case” she was not going to pursue criminal charges against them.”
Berry, a former principal in Loudon County, has been with KCS since July 2011 and earned a salary of almost $103,000. Duncan has been with the school system since 1981 and earned $86,640.
McCarter, who resigned Feb. 4, joined KCS in 2008 and earned $15,400.
SDHS assistant principal Sherry Smith was appointed acting principal.
The school system began conducted its own investigation into the matter on April 26, according to the 3-page letters McIntyre sent the two returning administrators.
Duncan was told on Jan. 27 that Kelsey McCarter had sex with a former student and that he posted a message on Facebook that "South-Doyle was about to be lit up."
Duncan told Berry and the two met with the former student and his mother.
Berry told Duncan he would write up the information and call the state's Department of Children's Services.
However, he didn't until the following day and only at the urging of the Becky Wuethrich, the manager of discipline and investigation for KCS, according to school documents.
Regarding Duncan, who received three days suspension without pay, McIntyre wrote:
"I understand that you relied on what you believed to be the assurance of your direct supervisor that he would make this required report. While this does not absolve you from this reporting obligation, I have taken this dynamic, as well as your many years of service in (KCS), and the fact that there was no immediate harm to the students involved, into account in determining appropriate discipline."
McIntyre, who suspended Berry for 10 days without pay, said the principal failed to report the information "in a more expeditious manner to DCS."
McIntyre told both of them: "I deem your actions inappropriate, serious in nature and unprofessional."