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Principal and superintendent lied about credentials; State board moves forward with formal hearing

Posted at 6:28 PM, Aug 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-20 13:42:13-04

KIOWA COUNTY — A Colorado superintendent and principal who lied about her credentials may soon lose her license to teach in Colorado.

The Board of Education has just made a motion to move forward with scheduling a formal hearing to determine whether Yonda Leonard will lose all teaching abilities.

According to state records, Leonard lied about holding a principal's license and special education endorsement.

Some parents believe Leonard should remain in her current role while trying to obtain the necessary credentials, while others feel she needs to be dismissed.

"It's not fair to our kids to have somebody in there stating they have these licenses and they don't," Kathy Davis told News 5 Investigates last month.

Her grandchildren attend Plainview School and believes Leonard needs to be let go.

"This is not a good situation," she said. "She, in my mind, has lied to everyone in the community about what she has and what she doesn't."

However, there is a group of community members who support Leonard.

"I don't care if it says she has her licenses or not," parent Renee Wilson said. "To me, she is one of our best teachers and superintendents these kids can have and I don't think she needs to go."

Joanna Beck, another parent, agrees with Wilson.

"I could not imagine a better superintendent for Plainview School."

A group of parents met with Chief Investigative Reporter Eric Ross to voice their support, despite what a state investigation revealed.

Some parents believe Leonard's character outweighs any degree or certificate.

"Leave her alone because I know that woman has worked her tail off to get these licenses," parent Krystal Caddick said. "If she doesn't have them yet, she's fixing to or she's working on it so they need to just leave her alone."

Another resident who in attendance believes this entire situation is being blown out of proportion.

"Quit belittling her," Becky Sarabia said. "Quit trying to make her out to be this horrible person when she is not."

One parent tells KOAA 5 that Leonard has done more for her children than any other district.

Wilson says one of her daughters has special needs and claims Leonard has been an excellent mentor and role model for her.

"She got my daughter involved in basketball, in track and she played counselor for my daughter on her bad days," she said. "She was always there."

Leonard remains employed with the district pending a formal revocation hearing.

A criminal investigation is also underway, but we have no further updates on that case at this point in time.

"The opposing side needs to just let it go," Wilson said. "Let her get her licenses. She's working on it. Just let it go, drop it and stay out of it. They don't need to put their noses in her business and that's where I stand with it."

A hearing date is not yet known. We'll be sure to update you as new information becomes available.

You can review the meeting minutes for the State Department of education here.

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