Mayflower principal fired in June asks for hearing

By Tammy Keith Originally Published August 1, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated July 31, 2013 at 10:27 a.m.
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MAYFLOWER — The Mayflower high school principal who was fired in June has appealed the decision and asked for an open hearing with the board, Superintendent John Gray said Monday.

The hearing date has not been set, Gray said.

In June, Gray said he asked Jeff Cagle, the high school principal, to leave the district.

“We politely asked him to move on; it wasn’t working out,” Gray said at the time.

Gray said he sent a certified letter to Cagle but would not reveal its contents.

Cagle’s contract was due to be up on June 30, Gray said.

It was a decision Gray said he made, and no board action was needed.

He said Cagle had 30 days to appeal the decision, which Cagle has done via a letter from the Little Rock law firm Jack Nelson Jones & Bryant. The firm also has an office in Malvern.

Gray said Cagle asked for the hearing before the school board to be open, but Gray said that could change when the meeting starts.

Jeff Pipkins, middle school principal, is serving as interim high school principal.

He will be left in place until the resolution of Cagle’s case, Gray said.

“We can’t do anything until after the hearing,” Gray said.

Gray said the school’s attorney is Bill Brazil of Conway.

Cagle was hired in 2012 by the Mayflower School District. His last administrative position prior to Mayflower was as high school principal in the Carlisle School District.

Cagle was fired in 2002 from the Palestine-Wheatley School District for allegedly performing a strip search on six students to find missing money, according to an Associate Press article.

He was principal of the district’s high school in Palestine but was filling in for the principal in Wheatley, the article states.

A subsequent Associated Press article states that Cagle filed a lawsuit in St. Francis County Circuit Court against the school district for breach of contract. That lawsuit was dismissed in May 2005, according to a spokesman for the circuit clerk’s office in Forrest City.

Gray said he knew about Cagle’s firing in Palestine but didn’t pay much attention to it because it was a long time ago, and he “got good references on that.”

Gray said he couldn’t give details on why he fired Cagle, but that the 2002 incident had no bearing on his decision.

Cagle’s profile on Linked In, an online professional network, listed him as Mayflower High School principal as of Tuesday. It makes no mention of his Palestine position.

He lists his employment from 2002-2008 as a sales manager for MetLife.

His profile also lists him as having received a master’s degree from Arkansas State University and having attended the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in pre-med from 1985-86.

In June, Cagle answered the door to his Conway apartment, but he would not confirm whether he’d received a termination letter from Gray.

“All I’m going to say is I’ve got a contract for next year,” Cagle said.

At a meeting in June, the Mayflower School Board hired Gary Logan as assistant Mayflower High School principal. Logan was a Mayflower Elementary School teacher. He replaces Karen Hoskins, who took a job as K-12 principal in the Guy-Perkins School District.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0373 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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