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Burges principal says ex-EPISD chief of staff accused of wrongdoing was in difficult position

By Maria Garcia, MariaG@kvia.com.
Published On: Apr 03 2013 08:25:06 PM CDT
Updated On: Jan 15 2014 06:58:52 PM CST

El Paso Inc.

Terri Jordan, former El Paso Independent School district chief of staff

EL PASO, Texas -

One of the reinstated El Paso ISD principals told ABC-7 former Interim Superintendent Terri Jordan was "in a difficult position" when auditors allege she covered up a systematic cheating scheme.

Jordan was the Chief of Staff of former Superintendent Lorenzo Garcia, now a convicted felon serving a three and a half year prison sentence for setting up a scheme that cheated some low-performing students out of an education. The school board named her Interim Superintendent after Garcia's arrest in June 2011.

 According to a Texas Education Agency-mandated audit that the district paid $800,000 for, Jordan was aware of wrongdoing. The audit, conducted by Weaver and Tidwell LLC, states Jordan knew how serious the cheating was at Bowie High School since June 2010. She was also aware of grade manipulation, according to the audit.

When the district's Internal Auditor first identified the cheating problems in an August 2010 audit, he gave Jordan a Corrective Action Plan (CAP). It contained steps and solutions to stop the cheating.

The Weaver audit states Jordan ignored the CAP and didn't implement it until May 2012, after Garcia had been arrested and the district was under public scrutiny to take action.

"I consider her a friend. She was my principal at Franklin and my department chair at Austin when I first started teaching. I believe she was put in some difficult positions. And people don't understand - with Garcia, it's like you're going to do this or you're going to get gone and so if you have a family and you need to provide - you better start playing the game," said Burges High School Principal Randall Woods on Wednesday.

The audit states the culture of corruption continued even after Garcia's arrest, when Jordan was at the helm of the district.   "People were put in difficult places trying to clean that mess up. And I think one: I want to thank Terri for putting up with it all. I think she was in a no-win situation because community is going to look for blood and they're going to have a sacrifice but under the circumstances she did the best she could."

ABC-7 went to Jordan's home to ask about the allegations but no one answered the door. The Weaver audit states she resigned in lieu of termination in December, when an earlier draft of the audit was released to the district.

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