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CMSD teacher resigns amid test-taking accusation

 

Darcel Gardner

Darcel Gardner

 

 

Sarah Fowler

 

A city school teacher indicted for fraud in connection with a test-taking scheme has resigned from her position with the Columbus Municipal School District.  

 

During a special called board meeting May 1, the school board approved Gardner's resignation. Her last day with the district was May 24. 

 

Gardner is currently in the midst of an ongoing litigation after being indicted by the U.S. Attorney's Office on four counts of fraud relating to a nationwide testing scam. She was placed on paid leave in September after being accused of paying someone to take her Praxis biology test in 2009 to gain her teacher certification. 

 

The indictment alleges Gardner paid Clarence Mumford Sr. of Memphis $1,000 to hire someone to take her April 25, 2009 exam. Gardner allegedly mailed Mumford her driver's license and money on April 22, 2009. 

 

She and 13 others were arraigned on the charges Sept.19, 2012, in Memphis. 

 

Gardner pleaded "not guilty" to the charges on Sept. 28, 2012, according to court records. Her trial date has since been delayed five times, with her attorney requesting continuances on two of those occasions.  

 

Currently, Gardner faces an Oct. 17 court date in Memphis. 

 

She had been employed with CMSD since January 2011 as a special education teacher at Columbus High School. She was on paid leave from September 2012 until her May 2013 resignation.

 

Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch. Follow her on Twitter @FowlerSarah

 

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