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Principal resigns during probe

NORCROSS - The principal of Beaver Ridge Elementary School tendered her resignation Friday, nine days after Gwinnett County Public Schools launched an investigation related to her judgment in handling a student discipline matter, an official said Monday.

Esther Adames-Jimenez will leave the school at the end of June, school district spokeswoman Sloan Roach said. Her resignation letter states, "the time has come to pursue other professional interests," Roach said.

The school system was notified March 18 of an incident involving a student who brought to school a pen that had the capability of emitting an electric shock, Roach said. Adames-Jimenes reportedly directed the child to use the pen on himself. Several staff members who witnessed the situation reported the incident to human resources.

"Chief Human Resources Officer Dr. Frances Davis conducted the investigation, concluding that the principal's action reflected poor judgment and was a violation of the district's disciplinary procedures," Roach said in a statement. "Dr. Davis provided direction to Ms. Adames-Jimenez to exercise appropriate judgment when disciplining students and to follow district policies and procedures."

The investigation's findings did not warrant a report to any other agency, Roach said.

Adames-Jimenez did not report to school during the investigation, which is routine, Roach said. She returned to Beaver Ridge Elementary on Monday.

In light of the resignation, the district has designated Betty Dominy, a former Gwinnett principal who now serves as executive director for school improvement and principal mentor, as interim principal to work with Adames-Jiminez and the school through the end of the year to aid in the leadership transition.

Last May, Adames-Jimenez was warned by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission for issuing bookmarks with relaxation and test-taking tips to students taking standardized tests and for allowing students to eat snacks and drink water during the exam, said Gary Walker, director of the PSC's Educator Ethics Division.

A warning notifies an educator that his or her conduct is unethical, but no sanctions are taken against the teacher's certificate, Walker said. The Georgia Professional Standards Commission is the state agency responsible for the preparation, certification and continued licensing of public educators.