Principal resigns amid probe at former school

The principal alleged to have been involved in "inappropriate relations" on the campus of Spirit Creek Middle School last school year resigned Friday, Richmond County Superintendent Dana Bedden said.

Gracewood Elementary School Principal Sharon McAlevy informed faculty Friday that she would be resigning effective immediately, Dr. Bedden told The Chronicle . She was not asked to resign.

Pete Garland, a retired Richmond County principal, will serve as interim principal of Gracewood for the rest of the school year.

Mrs. McAlevy's letter of resignation, dated Thursday, cited personal reasons.

An internal affairs investigation is continuing into the allegations, Dr. Bedden said, and while he would not elaborate, he said they are sexual in nature. He said he is unsure how many people might be involved or how often sexual acts might have occurred.

None of this would interest the school system had it not been alleged that it occurred on school grounds, Dr. Bedden said.

On Oct. 10, Ronnie V. Collins, the former school public safety officer assigned to Spirit Creek, was fired as a deputy from the Richmond County Sheriff's Office for not being truthful during his interview to get that job.

Mrs. McAlevy was transferred from Spirit Creek to Gracewood for the start of this school year.

The investigation began in early October. Dr. Bedden wouldn't speculate on how long it would take, saying that with each interview more people are implicated as witnesses.

The investigation is uncovering a story that sounds like something you would read in a newspaper or see on TV, he said.

A call to Gracewood Elementary late Friday afternoon seeking comment wasn't answered. Neither was an e-mail sent to Mrs. McAlevy's school board account.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.