Shaffer leaving SP

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 26, 2012

By Rupert Howell

South Panola School District Superintendent Dr. Keith Shaffer explained steps taken to terminate high school English teacher Marion Strickland during a Friday afternoon special meeting of the district’s trustees. At the same meeting, Shaffer submitted a letter of resignation effective December 31, 2012.

Strickland, 24, has been charged with enticing a child for the purpose of sexual activity in a criminal investigation that is ongoing. He is still being held at the Panola County jail.

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The teacher was questioned and arrested Wednesday afternoon, the same day Shaffer put him on administrative leave. Additional information provided by investigators allowed Shaffer to terminate Strickland Friday morning, Shaffer said.

Shaffer said his resignation had nothing to do with the Strickland incident and offered e-mails and correspondence to trustees dating back from August through this week, when he was offered a job with AdvanceED. The firm is a “global education accreditation” company known locally through its work with Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Shaffer sent an e-mail to school district staff Friday announcing his plan to retire.

Look for more details about Strickland’s arrest, and the school board’s plan to replace the superintendent, in Tuesday’s print and online editions of The Panolian.