By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Former Tupelo choral director Calvin Ellis and his attorney addressed Tupelo’s school board for about 20 minutes each during a specially-called meeting on Monday morning.
Their addresses essentially served as a closing argument to a personnel hearing concerning Ellis’ termination. The board will deliberate on their statements, on the hearing’s transcript and on a report made by hearing officer John Compton.
The school board is expected to meet again on Wednesday and may announce its decision at that time. The board will decide on whether or not to uphold the administration’s Oct. 28 decision to fire Ellis.
Ellis was given a list of 23 charges after his termination, and his lawyer, David Butts, sought to establish Ellis’ innocence during the hearing, which lasted for 10 days over December, January and February.
Monday’s statements by Ellis and Butts were given in executive session because they involved the names of students and others. Each addressed the media afterward.
“I think it went very well,” Ellis said. “I had a great opportunity to speak before them, and I felt they were receptive.
“I wanted to convey that there has been a lot of time, energy and love invested by me in the Tupelo Public School District. Although I made some mistakes, I felt I wasn’t afforded an opportunity to speak about these mistakes and improve. My message was I felt there was more in me for these kids in Tupelo. I think I have more to offer them.”
Said Butts: “There is nothing here Calvin Ellis should have been fired over. Maybe there were things he should have been counseled over. Why wasn’t he afforded that procedure?”
See Tuesday’s Daily Journal newspaper for more information.