STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. -- The private school principal who gained national attention for a racially charged comment she made during a graduation ceremony has been fired, but still owns the school and will likely reap any financial benefit from it.
Dr. Heidi Anderson, chair of the board of directors at TNT Academy, wrote in a letter sent to the Gwinnett County NAACP that the board voted to dismiss school director Nancy Gordeuk:
In light of recent events, the board of directors of TNT Academy has moved to dismiss Nancy Gordeuk as principal. During the coming transition, we will continue to prioritize support for our most recent graduates. Moreover, we will continue our commitment to providing students with the best educational classes, transcription services, and academic credit recovery possible.
During last Friday's graduation celebration, Gordeuk accidentally dismissed attendees before the school valedictorian could give a speech. As people began filing out of the room, she asked them to come back, then said, "Look who's leaving, all the black people."
Gordeuk later apologized to parents in an email, saying, "The devil was in the house and came out from my mouth. I deeply apologize for my racist comment and hope that forgiveness is in your hearts."
Georgia NAACP President Francys Johnson said the organization is pleased with the board's decision.
"Beyond the inappropriate remarks, the former principal attempted to legitimize the bizarre episode by claiming 'the devil made her do it,'" Johnson said in a statement emailed to 11Alive News. "This is not just about Mrs. Gordeuk's comments. The NAACP would defend Mrs. Gordeuk's right as a private citizen to free speech. However, those entrusted with responsibility for our children must set a high standard marked by civility. That is obviously a test the former principal failed."
Michael Woodward, Education Committee chair with the Gwinnett County NAACP is skeptical about the board move to dismiss Gordeuk because she is still tied to the school as its owner.
The Georgia Secretary of State's office confirms Gordeuk still owns TNT Academy and renewed it as a business o April 1, 2014.
Woodward and the Gwinnett NAACP urged Shakel Forman, the parent of Donte Lambert, who graduated from TNT Academy last week, to file a complaint challenging the school's accreditation with the Georgia Accrediting Commission.
After learning Gordeuk will no longer serve as director, Forman said she's unsure about whether she'll file the complaint.
"I'm up in the air," said Forman.
She said she will consult with her son and the Gwinnett NAACP to determine what action she might take.
As for learning of Gordeuk's removal, Forman said, "I was shocked that it happened so fast."
TNT Academy is a non-traditional school for home-schooled students hoping to obtain accredited degrees.
Formon said he son paid $3,000 to attend the school for the year and had to pay an additional $300 for costs related to the graduation ceremony.