Stewart County Superintendent Leta Jo Joiner Will Resign After DUI Arrest, Sources Say

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According to sources, Stewart County Director of Schools Leta Jo Joiner will resign after a drunk driving arrest, but the public does not know when, specifically.

School board members last week formally accepted Joiner’s resignation and discussed the process of searching for a new director, sources said.

Joiner did not attend last week’s meeting. She submitted her resignation by letter, sources said, adding they do not know if the resignation is effective immediately or if she will remain as director until a set date.

Board members will now look locally for a new superintendent, sources said.

As The Tennessee Star reported, members of the Stewart County School Board appointed an interim director last month.

Members of the Tennessee School Boards Association recommended Stewart County School Board members appoint an interim director of schools now, regardless.

Tracy Watson, a retired school administrator, accepted the position as interim director of schools. Watson said she only wants to serve as interim director and will not accept a job as Joiner’s permanent replacement.

As The Star reported, authorities arrested Joiner and charged her with driving under the influence.

The Clarksville-based LeafChronicle.com said Joiner took the position in Stewart County in 2014.

Certain members of the Stewart County School Board waste taxpayer money by having not one but two school directors on the county payroll, county resident David Vance told The Star reported last month.

Vance said Board Chairman Billy Sexton had too much say in the matter, while board members didn’t have enough.

Board Member Gary Dacus indicated last month he had a problem with not knowing when Joiner will leave, and he did not want the matter to get “dragged out.” He also said he feared Joiner might take a full year of sick leave.

As the now-extinct Tennessee Watchdog reported in 2016, this is not the first Tennessee schools’ superintendent to have a brush with the law.

Jimmy Long of Humphreys County and Martin Ringstaff of Cleveland, faced allegations of gross sexual misconduct in 2015.

In Ringstaff’s case, someone anonymously posted sexually explicit online conversations involving Ringstaff— who was married — and a woman who isn’t his wife. Some of those conversations included graphic photos of Ringstaff’s private parts, as well as his plans for a lewd tryst in the school board parking lot.

Ringstaff told law enforcement and school board members he didn’t send those posts, but he reportedly came clean a few days later.

The school board fired Ringstaff.

Long, meanwhile, allegedly bragged about his sexual prowess and open marriage in front of his employees, according to a lawsuit filed by a former school system employee. The lawsuit alleged he embezzled taxpayer money.

In May, the Humphreys County School System settled with Long’s accuser for an undisclosed amount, according to the Waverly News Democrat.

Long was treasurer for the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents.

Ringstaff, meanwhile, served on TOSS’s board of directors and was the organization’s Southeast Tennessee Superintendent of the Year.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to chrisbutlerjournalist@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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