CMSD officials tight-lipped on Craig Shannon firing


Craig Shannon

Craig Shannon


Cherie Labat

Cherie Labat



Zack Plair and Mary Pollitz



Craig Shannon, deputy superintendent for Columbus Municipal School District, is reportedly facing termination. 


Multiple sources, both within the school district and with otherwise direct knowledge of the situation, confirmed off-the-record to The Dispatch that Shannon was given a notice of termination late last week and he has appealed that decision to the CMSD Board of Trustees. 


Superintendent Cherie Labat is recommending Shannon's termination, sources said. 


Shannon's appeal affords him a hearing before an impartial hearing officer within 30 days, after which the board will review the evidence presented and either affirm or overturn the termination. He will remain on the district's payroll at least until the hearing begins, sources said, but he is not working for the district pending the appeal. 


CMSD trustees voted to grant an appeal hearing for an employee termination during an executive session Tuesday and hired Starkville attorney Dolton McAlpin as the hearing officer. 


Board President Jason Spears, however, would not confirm if the hearing was for Shannon. Labat has declined several requests for comment on Shannon's employment status or who is performing Shannon's tasks in his stead. 


The Dispatch's attempts to reach Shannon have been unsuccessful, and the district discontinued service to his school cell phone after Tuesday's board meeting. 


Shannon has worked at CMSD for 10 years, including a stint as Columbus High School principal before becoming deputy superintendent. The board appointed him interim superintendent in February -- in the wake of former superintendent Phillip Hickman's firing. He served in that capacity until Labat's arrival in June. 


Shannon's firing comes as the district's assistant superintendent, Pamela Lenoir-Barr, announced her retirement effective Oct. 31. 


Lenoir-Barr has worked for the district as Stokes-Beard Elementary principal, and in 2013 became director for accountability and compliance.




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