In another setback for Fort Worth schools’ superintendent Melody Johnson, the Texas Education Agency this week cleared former Diamond Hill Elementary School math teacher Sharon Pate of the district’s charge that last spring she had changed the school’s Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test scores to reflect higher results for her students.

Johnson had recommended to the board in July that Pate be fired following a district internal investigation that she claimed pointed to Pate’s guilt. However, after appeals from her representative Larry Shaw, the head of the United Educators Association, and a number of teachers from her school who supported her, the board voted to delay action until the TEA investigation was complete.

TEA cleared her this week and Pate has been completely vindicated, said Shaw, who represented her through what he called an ordeal in which she was “under much pain.”


“This is huge,” said trustee Ann Sutherland when she heard the news. Sutherland had urged the board not to fire the teacher and she too feels vindicated. “The evidence just wasn’t there,” she said.

Teachers who spoke on Pate’s behalf last July said they believed the cheating there had been going on for years and that others had more access to the tests than Pate did, and more to gain from manipulating the results. The school’s principal resigned following the disclosure for undisclosed reasons.

Pate has been with the district for 17 years and is considered one of its outstanding math teachers. “When the administration did not get the Board to go alone with them, they assigned her as a math coach at another school,” Shaw said. “And even according to the administration, she is doing a great job,” he said. She will continue there for the rest of the year or be assigned to a new school, he said.

 “In my opinion,” Shaw said, “the administration should always wait until the [TEA] investigation is complete before trying to hang employees.” (See this week’s feature story “Whistle, Stopped.”)



  1. More proof that Johnson, DIckerson, Needham, Robbins, Moss, Sims and Jackson MUST GO. I am outraged that these minions extended her contract! Once again, a great job by Betty Brink and the Weekly.

  2. If Melody Johnson is not gone from this district by Christmas, our children and teachers will continue to suffer at her “personal attacks” on excellent teachers and staff at FWISD. She is a liability. When willl Christine Moss and T. A. Simms wake up to the reality that Johnson is emotionally disturbed. She continues to use malfeasance through employing Private Investigators through Office of Professional Standards (what a misnomer) to smear teachers and adminisrators. I hope Ann Sutherland, Carlos Vasquez and Juan Rangel will investigate the costs to the taxpayers for such underhanded and illegal standards as altering documents and hiring these PI’s to prove her twisted actions. MJ with all of the time your are taking away from your job as Superintendent indicates you are seeking jobs elsewhere. But then again who would hire such incompetence? Luckie

  3. More proof that Johnson, DIckerson, Needham, Robbins, Moss, Sims and Jackson MUST GO. I am outraged that these minions extended her contract! Once again, a great job by Betty Brink and the Weekly.

    The above is brilliant!
    Yes, it’s obvious! 66% of the board is incompetent!
    Let’s change the democratic process! It’s obviously not effectively managing the FWISD!

  4. To “Reality”
    These are the same 66% who got a driveway and walkway but claimed they “didn’t know where the concrete came from”. Watch as they sleep through sessions. Or ramrod what M.J. wants. Democratic process? All these people want is a school named after them! Most of us simply don’t make the time to watch what is going on with our school board. What happens? You wind up living in Fort Worth’s version of Bell, California. Maybe term limits for School Board would work – this sure isn’t. MJ must go!

  5. I’m guessing FWISD would probably rather the public not find out that there were several teachers who contacted more than one department in the district to ask them to look at past years’ tests, but these teachers were avoided or ignored by more than just MJ and district investigators. It took going public at the July board meeting and even contacting TEA directly to get people to wake up and pay attention to these requests. This ended up being part of what helped clear Pate, but the district never once paid any attention or made any effort to look into it further. Thank God that TEA is more interested in finding the truth than covering it up!

    “The administration should always wait until the TEA investigation is complete before trying to hang employees.” ——- Seems like following this suggestion would not only ensure due process and fairness for everyone, but would help with the budget crisis by cutting some of these jobs and saving wasted taxpayers money. It seems this isn’t the only botched investigation we’ve heard about lately, so since they can’t seem to manage a fair or complete investigation, save money and rely on those (TEA) who can!

  6. Total agreement with “and it hits the fan”. A certain Assistant Principal waited on the District for over six weeks after taking 15 documented teacher complaints. When he realized they had moved him for not shutting up and covering their tracks, he went to TEA. They fired him. Unfortunately, when he asked the Board to wait until the TEA investigation was complete, good old boy Ray Dickerson, Christine Moss, and Judy Needham (herself named in the complaints), shot him down. Teachers and administrators also repeatedly warned of the emotional meltdown of Ms. Spaniel. They too were ignored. Its all about making Melody look good.

  7. When you dealing with corrupted people you must expect this type of behavior and outcome.

    Employees could be tortured if they come forward with a complain or they have a different opinion. Melody portrait herself as a good listener and she has not found the magical wand to convey she is a person of trust. We pay more than a quart a million to Melody to establish and sustain a regimen that treat their employees like they are guilty without any proof.

    “Yes” board members, you are prolonging the suffering and putting the district at risk with this corrupted regime. Shame on you.

    If I am Ms. Pate, I would be looking for a great lawyer to suit the district for torture.

    Dismiss Melody and pay her two millions for the rest of her contract, this will be cheaper than the caravan of lawsuits that are coming. Morale and trust is on the floor in Fort Worth ISD.

  8. Why does a school district hire a private detective? Did the Board know about this? Parents and taxpayers did not. I though the District was watching pennies. What about those big shots driving FWISD vehicles home each day?

  9. can you also help expose the truth about Tyler Technologies and the crap that has been pushed down our throats with Munis and Connects!!! Who in their right mind approved this junk?

  10. Concerning Munis … the stories I could tell about that mistake. One of many the district made when I was employed there. Notice that the three people involved in trying to find Fwisd a new system have left. One in particular left due in part to that horrible decision. Upon leaving, he indicated that the district had purchased a glorified copy of Quickbooks to manage one of the largest corporations in FW. He was spot on. I wish the powers that be would have listened to him. We would have never been in the mess we are in today.