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For Immediate Release
May 7, 2004

State Teacher Certification Board Suspends North Greene Teacher's Licenses

(Springfield) - The State of Illinois Teacher Certification Board Friday voted to suspend a North Greene teacher's certificates following a finding that the teacher had compromised the integrity of a state assessment last year.

The State Teacher Certification Board accepted the findings of fact by the hearing officer involved in the proceedings against Cary Knox, the test supervisor for the Prairie State Achievement Exam at North Greene High School

The findings revealed:

  • Knox had copied an exam booklet and distributed the exam to faculty members just prior to the administration of the PSAE in April 2003.
  • Knox was also found to have lied about his involvement in the October 2002 PSAE administration.
  • Knox, was test supervisor for the administration of both the April 2003 and October 2002 test dates, but did not read the Supervisor's manual of instructions.
  • Knox's actions "constituted an intentional, willful and reckless disregard of his duty to protect the security of the standardized testing program."
  • Knox's actions in following the directive of Principal Mark Keller at North Greene High School do not absolve him of responsibility in implementing improper procedure in administering the standardized testing program.

The actions, in violation of Illinois state code, prompted Illinois State Superintendent Robert Schiller to seek revocation of Knox's teaching certificates.

While the Teacher Certification Board accepted the findings of fact, the 16 members who were present rejected the hearing officer's recommendation for revocation. And, instead, the Certification Board decided to suspend Knox's Secondary Teaching Certificate for five years (July 1, 2004 - June 30, 2009) and suspended his Elementary Teaching Certificate for six months (Feb.1, 2004 - June 30, 2004).

"I am grateful that the board agreed that Mr. Knox was involved in compromising a state assessment," Schiller said. "I commend all the people who helped solidify these findings and results. I remain concerned that the board's action today does not set forth the right example for all students and teachers who respect the integrity of the state assessment process. I would have liked to have seen stronger consequences for someone who compromised that process."

The final written decision is scheduled to be adopted by the Certification Board at the June meeting, after which either the State Superintendent or Knox will have 35 days to seek an administrative review of the decision.

Under an agreement reached last year, Keller surrendered his administrative certificate and agreed to a one-and-a-half year suspension of his teaching certificate until June 30, 2005.

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777