Lee resigns from Concordia Parish schools

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 29, 2000

VIDALIA, La. – James Lee, who was named principal of Ferriday Junior High after being ousted as Concordia school superintendent last year, said Wednesday he is resigning.

&uot;I just felt like it was time, since I’m still being treated for the blood clot in my leg and I’ve been out of the mix so long,&uot;&160;Lee said.

&uot;I thought it was in the best interest of everyone concerned. I really made the decision at the start of school, but it was just a matter of when.&uot;

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Lee said he is taking his life &uot;one day at a time&uot;&160;and does not have any specific plans for the future just yet. Still, he said he has entertained the idea of &uot;staying involved in education, … just at a different level.&uot;

Lee said in May 1999 that if he retired, he would probably teach college part time.

Lee said his resignation, which he has given to current Superintendent Lester &uot;Pete&uot;&160;Peterman, will be effective as of Jan. 3 and will be on the agenda of the school board’s next meeting.

Although he was named principal of the school in summer 1999, Lee was diagnosed with a blood clot in his leg earlier that year and has been under a doctor’s case ever since.

As a result, he has been on extended sick leave and has not worked at the school since his appointment. Meanwhile, Dorothy Parker has served as acting principal.

Lee started working for the system in 1968 as a substitute teacher at his alma mater, Sevier High School in Ferriday. He then taught algebra and science before being appointed assistant principal of Ferriday Junior High in 1977 and principal of Vidalia Junior High in 1978.

Lee became superintendent of the system in January 1992. But his last term as superintendent ended June 30, 1999 following months of rumors and speculation.

First, the school board voted in February 1999 not to renew his contract as written. In April of that year, the board voted 5-4 not to offer Lee a contract. But late School Board member Eddie Coleman pointed out that May that the board did not vote to add the item to the agenda before acting on it — which meant that it wasn’t a legal vote.

Finally, in June of that year, the board once again voted 5-4 not to accept any contract Lee or his attorney submitted for approval.

Then in May of this year, Lee announced that he had received a $381,149 settlement from the School Board.

The amount included $201,208 for a four-year contract as principal of Ferriday Junior High.

It also included $85,380 in other retirement-related benefits, $44,561 in severance pay and $50,000 to make up for the difference between his superintendent’s salary and his salary as principal, Lee said.