Phee Simpson Sues School District

POUGHKEEPSIE – Dr. Phee Simpson, the Poughkeepsie High School principal who was fired recently, is suing to get her job back. The lawsuit was filed four days prior to being terminated by the school board.Simpson had been employed by the district for 19 years and was promoted to the principal position in 2013. She served as principal until being suspended with pay by the board in January 2018.

The suspension was the result of an investigation by the board’s attorney that responded to allegations of several students graduating in 2017 under “questionable circumstances.”
The school district had filed charges under the New York State Education Law against Phee, who earned a PhD while serving the suspension.

After a mutually agreed upon hearing examiner weighed evidence and testimony from several district officials, including subpoenaed teachers, the hearing officer recommended immediate termination in a decision handed down on August 6, 2019.

Dr. Simpson, through her attorney Jennifer Carlson, Esq. is seeking to vacate the findings of the hearing officer and either “return her to her tenured position within the District or, in the alternative, remand the decision for the imposition of a new penalty,” according to court documents.

School Board President Dr. Felicia Watson has indicated that the district has initiated a search for a new executive principal at the high school.

Simpson’s attorney has called the hearing officer’s decision “arbitrary, capricious, and irrational” while also calling it “shocking to the conscience.”

According to Carlson, her client has had an unblemished career while employed in the district. The hearing officer’s decision found Simpson guilty of “misconduct, including neglect of duty” based upon the 41 charges brought against the former principal.

Neither Simpson nor Carlson returned calls seeking comment.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email