Ex-Moss Point principal, convicted felon is assistant principal at Jackson high school

Kate Royals

The Clarion-Ledger

Harold Gater/The Clarion-Ledger
Provine High School
Harold Gater/The Clarion-Ledger Provine High School

An assistant principal at Provine High School pleaded guilty to felony embezzlement in the 1990s and is currently facing a discrimination lawsuit in federal court.

Spurgeon Banyard, who came to Jackson from Lafayette Parish in January, has a checkered past, according to court documents and media reports.

In addition to pleading guilty to embezzlement in 1998, Banyard was removed from his position as Moss Point High School principal in 2011 following allegations of extortion, bullying, insubordination and abuse of authority by several employees, a local news outlet reported. The allegations included that he yelled at and use profanity with female employees and asked teachers for money in exchange for a recommendation.

Jackson Public School District spokesperson Sherwin Johnson said he would not comment on personnel matters or individual employees when asked about the district's decision to hire Banyard.

Banyard denied the accusations against him in Lafayette Parish, where former Carencro Middle School employee Sandra Stevens filed a civil lawsuit against him including alleged harassment and unwanted advances.

"It's not true," Banyard said, before referring all questions to his attorney Tonya Smith.

A call to Smith was not immediately returned Friday morning.

The Advertiser in Lafayette reported Banyard resigned from the school in April of last year after the state suspended his teaching certification when officials discovered a felony on his record. Banyard's trial date is scheduled for November.

The State Board of Education can deny educator licenses due to revocation or suspension of the license in another state or having a felony on record.

Banyard's LinkedIn page also says he worked in Jackson Public School District as a "teacher and coach" from 1998 through 2003.