Accusations of bullying and intimidation by a principal in one of the country's fastest growing school systems, Prince William County, led to an "external review."
"It was extremely stressful. Numerous, numerous teachers left," said Michelle Smith, one of many teachers who left under principal Alfie Turner. Turner is currently principal at Ronald Reagan Middle School in Haymarket. Teachers there have complained of bullying and intimidation by Turner in a letter to administrators. "Teachers are belittled, told repeatedly that they are incompetent and unimportant," read the letter.
Former teacher Colleen LeMay spoke recently about it at a school board meeting.
"By spring of my first year of teaching I lived in terror of the principal I had adored."
Complaints have followed Turner to every school the Prince William County school system has moved her to. She was appointed principal of Coles Elementary in 2006 and in 2013 was moved to Potomac Middle School.
In 2015, she was moved to Ronald Reagan Middle School in Haymarket where complaints escalated.
The Prince William Education Association Board of Directors said in a letter to PWCS, "There has been a litany of concerns with this administrator, going back to the years of Coles Elementary, to Potomac Middle School and even up to grievances filed this last October. When such a mountain of evidence exists, it should be entered into the equation."
WUSA9 has spoken with several teachers from each school who say they left because of Alfie Turner's actions and behavior.
Michelle Smith lives in Maine now, but taught at Potomac Middle where Turner appointed her teacher mentor.
"Teachers who would come to me, and say, hey, I need this, and my job was to go to her (Turner), to relay this, she would then retaliate against them and me. Several people went to HR, talked to Mr. Bixby. I myself met with him."
Mr Bixby is the assistant superintendent of middle schools who sent a letter on March 2nd to parents. In it he explains that because "new issues emerged recently," an external review of the climate would start today at Ronald Reagan Middle School. He said it would be conducted by a qualified and experienced human resources expert with no ties to the school system. He also wrote that "a separate outside consultant will review the school's special education program."
Teachers who've left under Turner's leadership ship...like Michelle Smith who left in 2016...say the issues are not new.
"I left, quite frankly, because it was stressful. The environment was toxic. And that's a shame because I committed my life to teaching. It's a shame, because in the end, it's the students who lose out," said Smith.
Alfi Turner's daughter, who is also a teacher, defends her mother and says she is not a bully. Turner herself has not returned WUSA9's request for comment.
WUSA9 also reached out to Prince William County Schools to learn more about the external reviews, but received no response.