ALBERTA

Kimberley Sautner, Teacher Accused Of Paying To Change Daughter's Grade, Says She Acted Ethically

02/10/2016 11:29 EST | Updated 02/10/2016 11:59 EST

SASKATOON — A former Saskatchewan principal says she was "trying to be a good person'' when she offered to pay teachers to help improve her university-aged daughter's high school marks.

Kimberley Sautner, 44, testified Tuesday at a disciplinary hearing by the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation over accusations of professional misconduct.

Saunter was the principal of the high school in Wolseley, Sask., between 2008 and 2014, and is currently the principal at a Grade 1 to 9 school in New Brigden, Alta.

The hearing has been told that six months after she left her position at the school, Sautner sent text messages to English teacher Gayle Wheatley and another teacher.

She asked them to help get her daughter's Grade 12 English grade from 72 per cent to 80 per cent or above and offered to pay them $500 for their time.

"I was trying to be a good person."

Sautner testified she hoped at least one of the teachers could provide her daughter with extra work which could help upgrade her mark and offered to pay them because the task would go above and beyond the teachers' regular duties.

"I was trying to be a good person and compensate her for the time I thought she was going to put into it,'' Sautner said, comparing the money to a gift parents may give a teacher or coach for doing extra work.

She explained that at the time, her daughter was enrolled at the University of Lethbridge and was struggling with her first-year English course.

A faculty adviser told them the daughter had the option to either redo the course or skip it if she could provide proof she got an average mark higher than 80 per cent in Grade 12 English.

They chose to skip the course, but because the girl's high school mark was originally not above 80, Sautner said she contacted Prairie Valley School Division director of education Ben Grebinski to see what could be done.

She said Grebinski told her to "make it work.''

On Monday, Grebinski testified he didn't get any such call from Sautner.

Dennis Fisher, the lawyer for the STF, noted that Sautner asked the teachers to keep mention of the payment quiet and asked why she wrote them that she didn't expect a lot of work to be done.

Sautner said she did not want others to think she was offering a bribe but added she did not consider the situation unethical because her daughter was not in the class of either teacher.

The disciplinary board will now consider the evidence and compile a report. If found guilty, Sautner could lose her teaching certificate.

Brian Andjelic, superintendent of the Prairie Rose School Division in southeastern Alberta, said he couldn't comment on Sautner's ongoing employment status but said he will be reviewing the Saskatchewan ruling when it is released.

(CKOM, The Canadian Press)

Also on HuffPost

Teachers We Wish We Had