WISE — A Wise County teacher and past president of the Wise County Education Association, the local affiliate of the Virginia Education Association and National Education Association, retains the confidence of the Wise County school division and will remain in her classroom following last week's indictment on a charge of embezzling money from the teachers union.
Elizabeth Ann Wade, 59, was indicted by the Wise County Grand Jury last week on one count of embezzling money or property belonging to the VEA's Cumberland Mountain UniServ (District 1) between May 18, 2010 and Oct. 2, 2012.
The indictment charges Wade of misappropriating a little more than $10,000 from the WCEA. Wade served as treasurer of the WCEA from August of 2009 to July 2012 and president of the local teachers union affiliate until November of 2012. Cumberland Mountain UniServ, a district office of the VEA in Lebanon, alerted the Virginia State Police late last year of concerns of possible irregularities in the group's financial records relating to the WCEA.
Doris Boitnott, director of Cumberland Mountain UniServ, was on medical leave as of Monday but the office forwarded a prepared statement on her behalf.
"As required by our duties to our VEA members, Virginia law and upon advice of counsel, we reported irregularities we found in the books and records kept by Mrs. Ann Wade," reads the statement. "The loss was recovered and additional safeguards were implemented to protect our association members. Any further action will be determined by the prosecutor's office."
The case is currently being handled by Lee County Commonwealth's Attorney Shawn Hines because of a recusal by the Wise County prosecutorial office because of personal acquaintance with Wade.
Wade, of P.O. Box 238, Wise, has been active in WCEA affairs for several years and is well known in the local communities where she lives and works. She is a science teacher at EHS in Coeburn.
On Monday Wise County School Superintendent Jeff Perry said the school division is willing to give Wade the benefit of an otherwise sterling teaching record.
"At this point in time the (EHS) principal has related to me that Ann Wade has been a faithful employee for several years and we feel the best situation for Eastside High School is to keep her in the classroom," he said.
The school division and school board has leeway involving teacher conduct, Perry said.
"Basically the policy states we do have the ability to do a wide range of actions against any employee indicted for that particular allegation, but it doesn't require we have to do anything. So there is some discretion to allow the administration to make certain decisions and have some discretionary power about that. There are certain things I can't answer on a personnel issue, as you know, but I can say at this time (Wade) is employed and working in the classroom, and has been," he said.