Conflicting reports issued as to whether Calhoun Schools are under investigation

Jean Massey, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE), told The Journal this morning (Wednesday) that the Calhoun County School District is under investigation for “testing irregularities.” Calhoun County School officials say they were told differently by other MDE officials.

The alleged investigation involves Bruce Upper Elementary fifth grade science teacher Nikki Necaise, who resigned Friday, April 20 for what was stated at the time as “personal reasons.” Raven Hawkins, testing coordinator for Calhoun County Schools, said Necaise’s teaching license was pulled by MDE forcing her immediate resignation.

Sup. Jean Ann Casey said two investigators from MDE showed up in Calhoun on Friday with no prior notice to the district to meet with Necaise. She explained the investigation involves another school district’s teachers with whom Necaise is acquainted.

Hawkins said they were informed by investigators that they were led to Necaise by personal emails confiscated from a teacher in another county.

“This is a year-long investigation involving several counties and Calhoun’s only involvement was the questioning of this one teacher (Necaise),” Hawkins said. “This had nothing to do with testing in Calhoun County. We were told (Necaise) knew of information in this other district and failed to report it as is required.”

“I asked (the MDE investigator) what does this mean for our school district and was told ‘your district doesn’t have anything to worry about,’” Sup. Casey said. "We were told they weren't investigating our district."

Necaise has been allowed to continue her bus route since resigning as a teacher because it is a separate contract. Her teaching license is expected to be restored in 2019 if she continues to assist MDE with its investigation of the other unnamed school district.

Jessica Hardin, a certified sixth grade teacher in a non-tested area, was moved to Necaise’s room to finish the year and help those students prepare for final tests. A substitute teacher was placed in Hardin’s sixth grade class for the remainder of the school year.

BUES Principal Julia Aron sent a letter home to parents of children in Necaise’s room as district protocol requires noting the change in classroom teachers.

Sup. Casey and Hawkins both said they have requested further explanation from MDE why different sources have given conflicting information.