Arizona’s Drunk, Drugged, Naked Educators Finally Disciplined

Arizona educators accused of everything from coming to class without clothes to being high on a variety of drugs, faced disciplinary action on Monday by the State Board of Education.

In the majority of the cases, the Board accepted the recommendations of investigators:

Ryan Robert Raths

Ryan Robert Raths holds a Standard Elementary Education, K-8 certificate, which expires on November 22, 2016.

On or about January 6, 2016, in Maricopa County Superior Court of Phoenix, AZ, Ryan Robert Raths pled guilty to one count of Sexual Assault and two counts of Attempted Sexual Assault. Sentencing occurred on or about March 11, 2016. Mr. Raths was sentenced to six years in the Arizona Department of Corrections penal system. He will be placed on lifetime probation upon release and required to register as a sex offender.

This conviction constitutes unprofessional conduct pursuant to A.R.S. § 15-550 and warrants the immediate and permanent revocation of his Arizona teaching certificate.

Recommendation to the Board: It is recommended, that pursuant to A.R.S. § 15-550, the State Board of Education permanently revoke any and all certificates held by Ryan Robert Raths, and that all states and territories be so notified.

Murat Ahmet Alev – Substitute

Murat Ahmet Alev holds a Substitute certificate, which expires on August 18, 2016.

On or about January 11, 2016, in Maricopa County Superior Court of Phoenix, AZ, Murat Ahmet Alev pled guilty to three counts of Attempted Sexual Exploitation of a Minor. Sentencing occurred on or about February 11, 2016. Mr. Alev was sentenced to ten years in the Arizona Department of Corrections penal system. He is required to register as a sex offender upon release.

This conviction constitutes unprofessional conduct pursuant to A.R.S. § 15-550 and warrant the immediate and permanent revocation of his Arizona teaching certificate.

Recommendation to the Board:It is recommended, that pursuant to A.R.S. § 15-550, the State Board of Education permanently revoke any and all certificates held by Murat Ahmet Alev, and that all states and territories be so notified.

Alden Edward Young – Catalina Foothills High School | Catalina Foothills Unified School District

Alden Edward Young holds a Substitute teaching certificate that expires on October 1, 2019.

On March 20, 2014, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department discovered Mr. Young with his fifteen year old student from Catalina Foothills High School (C.F.H.S.) alone together in his personal vehicle. The vehicle was parked in a secluded area at 1:17 a.m. The teenage student was with Mr. Young past the 10:00 p.m. curfew. The deputy did not suspect any sexual activity occurring between Mr. Young and the student prior to his contact. However, Mr. Young was arrested for Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor.

On October 20, 2014, Mr. Young was interviewed by the CFHS Principal regarding the incident and he admitted to participating in the inappropriate conduct. Mr. Young was subsequently placed on administrative leave and later terminated by the school district.

On October 7, 2014, in Pima County Consolidated Justice Court, Mr. Young was acquitted of his criminal charge.

On March 10, 2016, Mr. Young surrendered his teaching certificate to the Investigative Unit.

Recommendation to the Board: It is recommended that the State Board of Education accept the voluntary surrender of any and all certificates held by Alden Edward Young, and that all states and territories be so notified.

Angel Roman Verdugo – Herrera Elementary School | Phoenix Elementary School District

Angel Roman Verdugo held a Standard Elementary Education Certificate, K-8, which expired on October 1, 2012.

Mr. Verdugo was a teacher at Herrera Elementary School in the Phoenix Elementary School District from 2005 through 2007. On or about September 11, 2009, the Board received a report of allegations of inappropriate conduct with students on or about June 2006. Two parents notified the District in August 2009. Phoenix Police Department conducted an investigation. No charges were filed. Mr. Verdugo did not accept a contract for the 2007-2008 school year and as a result his termination was presented to the Governing Board as a resignation.

Mr. Verdugo was certified in Pennsylvania and worked as a lecturer in education at Holy Family University and at Kensington High School, both located in the Philadelphia School District, Philadelphia, PA. He was disciplined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Professional Standards and Practices Commission on or about April 25, 2013, resulting in a revocation of his teaching credentials due to allegations of sexual misconduct with a male student.

During the Board investigation, Mr. Verdugo was informed that a complaint would be filed against his teaching certification. Subsequently, Mr. Verdugo chose to voluntarily surrender his certificate. On March 11, 2016, the Board Investigative Unit received Mr. Verdugo’s notarized affidavit in which he surrendered his certificate.

Recommendation to the Board: It is recommended that the State Board of Education accept the voluntary surrender of any and all certificate(s) held by Angel Roman Verdugo, and that all states and territories be so notified.

Grant L. Turley – Chino Valley High School | Chino Valley School District

Grant L. Turley holds a Supervisor Certificate, Principal Certificate, and a Standard Secondary Education 6-12 Certificate, both of which expire January 4, 2019.

On or about May 12, 2015, the State Board of Education received a complaint alleging Mr. Turley was observed taking pictures of students in an “odd” way. Mr. Turley’s computers were inspected. Mr. Turley had external drives attached to his computer which contained image files of female students in suggestive poses, and pornography. The female students were not aware they were being photographed.

On March 2, 2016 the Board Investigative Unit notified Mr. Turley of the intent to file a complaint seeking disciplinary action against his teaching certificates. Mr. Turley chose to voluntarily surrender all of his teaching certificates.

Recommendation to the Board: It is recommended that the State Board of Education accept the voluntary surrender of any and all certificates held by Grant L. Turley, and that all states and territories be so notified.

Lilian Houston

Lilian Houston holds a Standard Cross Categorical Special Education certificate, Standard Early Childhood certificate, Standard Elementary Education 1-8 certificate and a Principal certificate, all of which expire on March 14, 2021.

On or about March 3, 2016, the Investigative Unit received a complaint alleging Ms. Houston left a bruise on the arm of an autistic child and antagonized another autistic child by “flickering” shaved ice on his face.

On March 15, 2016, the Board Investigative Unit notified Ms. Houston of the intent of the Arizona State Board of Education (“Board”) to file a complaint seeking disciplinary action against her teaching certificate. Ms. Houston chose to voluntarily surrender her teaching certificate.

Recommendation to the Board: It is recommended that the State Board of Education accept the voluntary surrender of any and all certificates held by Lilian Houston, and that all states and territories be so notified

Humberto R. Gutierrez – Substitute

Humberto R. Gutierrez held an Emergency Substitute teaching certificate, which expired on July 1, 2015.

On June 1, 2015, the Arizona Department of Public Safety notified the Investigative Unit that Mr. Gutierrez was arrested on May 29, 2015, for Felony Armed Robbery – with a Deadly Weapon, Felony Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Felony Endangerment and Felony Threat-Intimidate.

On March 6, 2016, the Board Investigative Unit notified Mr. Gutierrez of the intent to file a complaint seeking disciplinary action against his teaching certificate. Mr. Gutierrez chose to voluntarily surrender his teaching certificate.

Recommendation to the Board: It is recommended that the State Board of Education accept the voluntary surrender of any and all certificates held by Humberto R. Gutierrez, and that all states and territories be so notified.

Steve M. Grant – Dysart Unified School District

Steve M. Grant held a Provisional Career and Technical Education teaching certificate, which expired on March 13, 2016.

On February 1, 2016, Dysart Unified School District notified the Board Investigative Unit that Steve M. Grant had breached his employment contract with the district.

During the Board investigation, Steve M. Grant was notified of the intent to file a complaint seeking disciplinary action against his teaching certificate. Steve M. Grant chose to voluntarily surrender his teaching certificate.

Recommendation to the Board: It is recommended that the State Board of Education accept the voluntary surrender of any and all certificates held by Steve M. Grant, and that all states and territories be so notified.

Douglas A. Cline – Laguna Elementary School | Flowing Wells Unified School District

Douglas A. Cline held a Standard Elementary Education, K-8 Certificate and a Principal Certificate, both which expired on September 16, 2015.

Mr. Cline was a teacher at Laguna Elementary School in the Flowing Wells Unified School District (“FWUSD”) from July 1, 1990 through October 25, 2013. On or about October 21, 2013, the Investigative Unit received a report from FWUSD alleging that during the 2012-2013 school year, Mr. Cline, who served as Treasurer for the Laguna Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization (“PTO”), made six withdrawals from the Laguna PTO’s credit union account totaling $6,300.00. The withdrawals were made by writing checks to his wife, a retired certified teacher. The financial irregularities were discovered when a new treasurer was elected by the Laguna PTO. Mr. Cline subsequently returned the funds.

Mr. Cline resigned on or about October 16, 2013. The Governing Board approved his resignation on or about October 22, 2013.

During the Board investigation, Mr. Cline was informed that a complaint would be filed against his teaching certification. Subsequently, Mr. Cline chose to voluntarily surrender his certificate. On February 22, 2016, the Board Investigative Unit received Mr. Cline’s notarized affidavit in which he surrendered his certificate.

Recommendation to the Board: It is recommended that the State Board of Education accept the voluntary surrender of any and all certificates held by Douglas A. Cline, and that all states and territories be so notified.

Douglas Eugene Clapp – Peoria High School | Peoria Unified School District

Douglas Eugene Clapp held a Standard Secondary Education Certificate, 7-12, which expired on March 21, 2014.

Mr. Clapp was a teacher at Peoria High School in the Peoria Unified School District from August 1984 through May 2012. On or about February 27, 2012, Mr. Clapp was arrested and charged with two counts of Fraudulent Schemes, one count of Theft and five counts of Forgery. On or about July 3, 2013, in Maricopa County Superior Court, Mr. Clapp pled guilty to one count of Solicitation to Commit Forgery, a Class 6 Felony.

The conviction was the result of allegations of embezzlement from the football fundraising program over a three year period.

Mr. Clapp was placed on paid administrative leave on January 27, 2012. He was on paid administrative leave from January 27, 2012 through May 25, 2012. The district did not renew his contract for the 2012-2013 school year.

During the Board investigation, Mr. Clapp was informed that a complaint would be filed against his teaching certification. Subsequently, Mr. Clapp chose to voluntarily surrender his certificate. On February 19, 2016, the Board Investigative Unit received Mr. Clapp’s notarized affidavit in which he surrendered his certificate.

Recommendation to the Board: It is recommended that the State Board of Education accept the voluntary surrender of any and all certificates held by Douglas Eugene Clapp, and that all states and territories be so notified.

Christopher M. Rice – Cienaga High School | Vail Unified School District

Christopher M. Rice holds a Standard Secondary Education 7-12 certificate, which expires June 20, 2019.

While employed at Cienaga High School, Vail Unified School District, Mr. Rice gave rides to a 16- year old female student (Student “A”) in his personal vehicle on multiple occasions, gave rides to Student A to and from school/work including late at night, stopped at his residence with Student A on multiple occasions, was in contact with Student A through text messages outside of school hours, and never informed Student A’s parents about these activities he engaged in with Student A. Mr. Rice’s actions constitute unprofessional conduct.

The Negotiated Settlement Agreement consists of a 3 year suspension of any and all certificates, with the following conditions:

  • Participate and successfully complete a State Board of Education approved course or seminar which addresses boundary issues.
  • Furnish a letter of successful completion to the Board certifying he has successfully completed the course or seminar addressing the issues that led to the conduct described above.

Recommendation to the Board: It is recommended that the State Board of Education accept the negotiated settlement agreement, with conditions and suspend any and all certificates held by Christopher M. Rice, for 3 years from today’s date, with the above listed conditions, and that all states and territories be so notified.

Donna M. Colson – Stevenson Elementary School | Douglas Unified School District

Donna M. Colson holds a Standard Elementary Education K-8 teaching certificate, which expires on February 19, 2018.

Ms. Colson was a teacher at Stevenson Elementary School (“Stevenson”) located in the Douglas Unified School District (“DUSD”) Douglas, Arizona.

On September 20, 2013, staff at Stevenson observed Ms. Colson behaving erratically and slurring her speech while on campus. Staff notified DUSD Superintendent Sheila Rogers and DUSD Assistant Superintendent Gloria Lopez regarding the observations and asked Ms. Colson to submit to drug testing. Ms. Colson agreed and was transported to a medical facility where she submitted to the drug testing.

On September 20, 2013 Ms. Colson was reassigned to home by Superintendent Rogers.

The drug test results were positive for cocaine. On September 27, 2013, Assistant Superintendent Lopez issued a Notice of Intent to Impose Discipline to Ms. Colson. On September 27, 2013, Ms. Colson submitted a letter of resignation to DUSD.

On or about January 30, 2014, the Investigative Unit notified Ms. Colson that a complaint would be filed against her teaching certificate. The Investigative Unit sent Ms. Colson the complaint via USPS certified mail. Ms. Colson responded to the complaint notification and entered into negotiations and agreed to the terms of the proposed settlement agreement.

The Negotiated Settlement Agreement consists of a two-year suspension, with the following conditions:

● Ms. Colson shall participate in a counseling, therapy, or treatment program which addresses substance abuse issues. Any such counseling, therapy, or treatment program must be approved by the Board staff.

● Ms. Colson shall furnish a letter of proof of successful completion to the Board certifying she has successfully completed the substance abuse treatment addressing the issues that led to the conduct.

Recommendation to the Board: It is recommended that the State Board of Education accept the Negotiated Settlement Agreement, with conditions and suspend any and all certificate(s) held by Donna M. Colson, for 2 years from today’s date, with the above listed conditions, and that all states and territories be so notified.

Catherine Mary Ballman – South Mountain | Phoenix Union High School District

Catherine Mary Ballman holds a Standard Secondary Education 7-12 certificate, which expires on April 15, 2017.

Ms. Ballman was a teacher at South Mountain campus, in the Phoenix Union High School District (“PUHSD”), located in Phoenix, Arizona. On August 7, 2014, the State Board Investigative Unit received a report from Phoenix Union High School District (“PUHSD”) alleging that:

  • On August 1, 2014, while on the South Mountain campus, Ms. Ballman was receiving in-service training on the PUHSD Drug-Free Workplace Policy, including the district’s policy on non-medical use or abuse of drugs.
  • After the in-service training, three South Mountain administrators smelled alcohol on Ms. Ballman’s breath. MDC-Mobile Drug Collections (“MDC”), a mobile testing company, was called to respond to the South Mountain campus to test Ms. Ballman’s blood alcohol content (“BAC”).
  • Ms. Ballman voluntarily consented to being tested and an MDC technician performed a breathalyzer test on Ms. Ballman to determine her BAC. The test results showed Ms. Ballman’s BAC was 0.178 at 12:11 a.m. and 0.173 at 12:29 pm.
  • On August 1, 2014, Ms. Ballman was placed on paid administrative leave by PUHSD.

Ms. Ballman tendered her resignation to PUHSD on December 9, 2014, with an effective date of March 22, 2015. Her resignation was approved by the PUHSD Governing Board on January 8, 2015. On or about October 6, 2015, the Investigative Unit notified Ms. Ballman that a complaint would be filed against her certificate. The Investigative Unit sent Ms. Ballman the complaint via certified mail. She entered into negotiations regarding a settlement agreement. She agreed to the terms of the proposed settlement agreement.

The Negotiated Settlement Agreement consists of a two-year suspension of any and all certificates, with the following conditions:

  • Participate in counseling, therapy, or a treatment program which addresses substance issues. Any such counseling, therapy or treatment program must first be approved by the Board staff.
  • Provide a letter of proof of successful completion to the Board certifying completion of sufficient counseling, therapy, or treatment addressing the issues that led to the conduct described above.

Recommendation to the Board: It is recommended that the State Board of Education accept the Negotiated Settlement Agreement, with conditions and suspend any and all certificates held by Catherine Mary Ballman for two years, from today’s date, with the above listed conditions, and that all states and territories be so notified.

Related article: Douglas Exposes Dangerous Failures Of State Board Of Education

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