published Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Suspended Ooltewah principal to retire

Ooltewah High School Principal Mark Bean has submitted retirement papers in the midst of a central office investigation.

Superintendent Rick Smith suspended Bean and Ooltewah Assistant Principal Beverly Hollingsworth last week while officials investigated a claim of "unprofessional conduct" between the two. But Smith said Bean elected to retire while the inquiry wraps up.

Bean is a 31-year teaching and coaching veteran of the school system. He served as Ooltewah's principal since 2009. Before that, he was principal at East Ridge High.

"Mark added a lot and did a great job both at Ooltewah High School and East Ridge High School," the superintendent said. "This is an unfortunate situation, both for the people involved and the school."

Hollingsworth remains on an unpaid suspension, but will be reassigned as a classroom teacher at another school, Smith said.

"She would like to continue to work," the superintendent said.

Another assistant principal, Jim Jarvis, is serving as Ooltewah's interim principal. Smith said he wants to name a permanent principal and assistant principal next week.

A Times Free Press review this week of personnel files, publicly available under Tennessee law, showed positive evaluations for both Bean and Hollingsworth throughout their respective teaching careers.

Contact staff writer Kevin Hardy at or 423-757-6249.

about Kevin Hardy...

Kevin rejoined the Times Free Press in August 2011 as the Southeast Tennessee K-12 education reporter. He worked as an intern in 2009, covering the communities of Signal Mountain, Red Bank, Collegedale and Lookout Mountain, Tenn. A native Kansan, Kevin graduated with bachelor's degrees in journalism and sociology from the University of Kansas. After graduating, he worked as an education reporter in Hutchinson, Kan., for a year before coming back to Chattanooga. Honors include a ...

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