The Okaloosa County School Board voted Friday to uphold the firing of Andy Johnson, the program director of student services, discipline and athletics during Mary Beth Jackson’s tenure as school superintendent.
Marcus Chambers, who replaced Jackson as superintendent when she was suspended Jan. 11 by Gov. Ron DeSantis, called on Jan. 28 for the termination of Johnson and fellow district administrator Henry Kelley.
The School Board voted unanimously to go along with Chambers' decision at a board meeting held the same night the new superintendent announced the decision. Friday’s vote rejected Johnson’s appeal of the initial decision.
A three-hour hearing was held prior to the vote being taken, according to Okaloosa School District spokesman Steve Horton.
Johnson argued in pre-hearing motions that he suffered a substantial reduction in income and a blow to his character as a result of Chambers’s action. He also argued he had not been given sufficient notice of his firing.
Chambers said in requesting Johnson’s firing that “evasive and contradictory sworn testimony” he provided to a grand jury impaneled to explore dysfunction within the School District under Jackson had led to the decision.
The grand jury said in its final report that during his testimony, Johnson frequently answered questions by saying he could not remember details or events and that he sometimes gave inconsistent answers.
“While we do not find his behavior before the grand jury criminal, we do find it concerning and worthy of note in this report,” jurors wrote in their report.
Chambers said when announcing the firings that the School District “is moving in a new and different direction that will emphasize legal compliance, accountability and transparency.”
“These personnel decisions are consistent with these priorities and principles,” Chambers said in a statement.
Kelley has also appealed his termination. That appeal has not yet been heard.