Walker County superintendent of schools Damon Raines on Friday afternoon, Sept. 18, released a prepared statement regarding Lori Vann, principal at Cherokee Ridge Elementary School.

More than 150 parents, students and teachers showed at a school board meeting Tuesday evening, Sept. 15, demanding answers to why Vann was not at the school, with many believing she had been forced to resign.

Vann, who is 52, has been an educator for about 30 years.

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Raines's prepared statement:

“Ms. Lori Vann, current principal of Cherokee Ridge Elementary School, made contact with the Superintendent the morning of September 12th. Ms. Vann requested immediate vacation time to begin the process of retirement. After the Board Planning Session on Tuesday, September 15, I scheduled a meeting with Ms. Vann to discuss the current situation and to clear some of the confusion being portrayed on social media and throughout the community. The meeting took place on Thursday, September 17 at 2:00 p.m. Prior to that meeting, the only information the members of the Board of Education or the Superintendent could legally share was her request for vacation. During this meeting Ms. Vann expressed her desire to return to Cherokee Ridge Elementary, as her retirement plans did not appear to be a viable option this year. Ms. Vann has a statement that she will present at a scheduled faculty meeting to assure the faculty and staff understand the facts surrounding her recent vacation time and her choice to postpone her wishes to retire and to return to school in her normal capacity.

“At no point was Ms. Vann asked to resign. At no point did the Superintendent make a recommendation to the Board regarding termination of her employment.

“Our goal has been and will continue to be to assure our students are focused on academic progress and their achievement levels while continuing to prepare them for graduation and a successful future.”

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