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She says she's known as the "troublemaker" for Montgomery Public Schools. Dr. Lesa Keith, a former teacher at Lee High school with 30 years of service in the district blew the whistle on the grade changing allegations within the system last year.
Now she's reacting to the new drama with the school board and superintendent after the system's leader resigned under pressure.
"I really thought the board was going to keep her [Supt. Barbara Thompson]. I was shocked," Dr. Keith explained.
Dr. Keith says she believes the problems within Montgomery Public Schools will persist with or without Thompson.
"The problems are systemic just like they said and it's going to take years to fix this," Dr. Keith explained, "and just getting rid of a superintendent? No, because you've got a board and you've got principals who have been strategically located by our superintendent that will carry this out with our without her," Dr. Keith added.
As the whistleblower, Keith says she witnessed grade changing and had stacks of evidence to prove it.
"This has been hidden. I came forward the year before," Dr. Keith said.
Her decision to come forward prompted the investigations and ultimately the fall of the superintendent. "I've met with every investigator they had," she says.
"And the fact that this came out a year ago and we know have entered another year, yes I think that state should step in because our current board there's not a trust factor there. You cannot trust that they are going to put somebody that knows what they are doing," Keith explained.
So can the district, and even the board, truly move forward? Dr. Keith says the citizens of Montgomery should help with that progress.
"Let's face it, we are not going to get rid of that board. We don't have the funds to start city schools and the only way to truly get a true picture of a great superintendent is what the people elect and then you can blame the people and not the board," Dr. Keith added.
Keith says she's been asked to serve on the local school board, but she really wants a seat on the state board so she can help to prevent what has happened within MPS from happening again or in other districts.
WSFA 12 news has reached out to Barbara Thompson for comment but she has not responded.
Many on the board and in the community credit Thompson for moving the system forward in some areas. Her successes include expanding the Advanced Placement offerings, the magnet programs, several elementary schools achieved Torchbearer status as well as consolidation of some facilities.
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