United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Statesville Division
MARLENE B. SCOTT, Plaintiff,
IREDELL-STATESVILLE SCHOOLS BOARD OF EDUCATION, Defendant.
Kenneth D. Bell United States District Judge
MATTER is before the Court on Defendant
Iredell-Statesville Schools Board of Education's
(“Defendant” or “the Board”) Motion
for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 41), which Plaintiff Marlene
B. Scott (“Scott”) opposes. The Court has
carefully reviewed the motion and considered the parties'
briefs and exhibits. For the reasons discussed below, the
Court will GRANT the motion and enter
Summary Judgment in favor of Defendant.
an employment discrimination dispute under Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964. Plaintiff is an African-American
educator who filed this action against Iredell-Statesville
Board of Education after she applied for and did not receive
any of the four administrative positions within the
Iredell-Statesville school system. Plaintiff alleges she was
more qualified than those who received the positions and was
not promoted because of her race.
Plaintiff's Work History
began her teaching career in 1995 at Catawba Middle
School. (Doc. No. 56, at 2). Her first job in the
Iredell-Statesville school system started in 1999 as a
teacher at East Iredell Middle School. Id. at 3.
From 1999 to 2005, Plaintiff also served as an Instructional
Facilitator at East Iredell Middle School. Id. at 3.
An Instructional Facilitator role is a leadership position in
the Iredell-Statesville school system that focuses on the
school's professional development and growth for
teachers. In 2005, Plaintiff became a Teacher/Instructional
Facilitator at Statesville High School and Troutman Middle
School. Id. She stayed in that position until 2009,
when she was hired at Troutman Middle School as an
Instructional Facilitator/Assistant Principal. Id. She
resigned from that position in 2011 and left the
Iredell-Statesville school system to become a principal at an
elementary school in Alleghany County. Id. In the
summer of 2014, Plaintiff applied for positions in the
Iredell-Statesville school system in an effort to be closer
to home. Id. While she was unable to find an
administrative position, Plaintiff was hired as a teacher at
West Iredell Middle School and remained there until 2018.
Id. In 2018, Plaintiff became the Assistant
Principal at West Iredell High School, where she remains
today. Id. Plaintiff received various recognitions
and awards for her performance during her career.
dispute with the Board began somewhere between the fall of
2014 and the fall of 2017 when she applied for numerous
administrative positions in the Iredell-Statesville school
system, but never received an offer. (Doc. No. 47, at 3).
Specifically, Plaintiff brings this suit over four of those
positions: (1) the principal position at Statesville Middle
School; (2) the assistant principal position at North Iredell
Middle School; (3) the assistant principal position at West
Iredell Middle School; and (4) the principal position at
Celeste Henkel Elementary School. Each of these positions was
ultimately filled by a white male or female.
The Board's Hiring Process
Board follows a three-step process when selecting candidates
for a specific school administrator position. (Doc. No. 47,
at 5). Initially, the job opening is posted on a public
online portal, through which both internal and external
candidates can apply. Id. At the first step, the
Board narrows the applicant pool by eliminating those who
fail to meet the baseline credentials. Id. At the
second step, the Board determines the school's specific
school administrator needs and develops particularized
selection criteria. Id. at 6. Such criteria may
include experience in a particular subject area, the ability
to strengthen relationships amongst staff, or prior
administrative experience. At the third step, the Board
selects the candidate it perceives is most qualified to meet
the school's particular needs. Id. To assist the
Board in making this determination, candidates who progress
to step three typically undergo two levels of interviews.
Id. at 7. The first interview is with employees at
the particular school, otherwise known as the
“school-level team.” Id. The
school-level team scores candidates based on their
qualifications and how well they perceive the candidate fits
the particular needs of the school. Id. These scores
then determine who the Board selects for the second level of
interviews. Id. Members of the Board conduct the
second level of interviews and candidates are once again
scored based on their performance, qualifications, and the
needs of the school. Id. This same process was the
process the Board used to select the four candidates for the
positions at issue in this case.
filed a charge of race discrimination with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) on
August 24, 2016. (Doc. No. 16, ¶ 27). She received a
“Notice of Right to Sue” letter from the EEOC on
January 26, 2018 and timely filed this action on April 4,
2018. (Doc. No. 1). In her initial complaint, Plaintiff
alleged claims of race discrimination for failure to promote
and retaliation under Title VII and 18 U.S.C. § 1983.
Id. The Board moved to dismiss Plaintiff's
initial complaint arguing that a number of Plaintiff's
failure-to-promote claims were barred by the statute of
limitations and the retaliation claims were beyond the scope
of her EEOC charge. (Doc. No. 9).
August 8, 2018, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint. (Doc.
No. 12). The Board moved to dismiss based on the same grounds
asserted in their previous motion to dismiss. (Doc. No. 14).
Plaintiff filed a second amended complaint on September 24,
2018, this time alleging only race discrimination under Title
VII for failure to promote Plaintiff regarding four specific
positions within the statute of limitations. (Doc. No. 16).
The Board answered on October 22, 2018. (Doc. No. 22).
Board filed the present motion for summary judgment on
September 3, 2019. (Doc. No. 41). At the same time, the Board
filed an unopposed motion to seal documents supporting their
motion for summary judgment. (Doc. No. 40). The Honorable
Magistrate Judge David Keesler granted the Board's motion
to seal on September 3, 2019. (Doc. No. 54). Plaintiff filed
her response to the Board's summary judgment motion on
September 17, 2019, along with a motion to seal a select
number of her supporting documents. (Doc. Nos. 56, 55).
Plaintiff filed her response, the Board filed a motion to
strike an exhibit entitled “Mediation Tapes” and
any reference thereto. (Doc. No. 59). The Board also filed a
motion to seal documents Plaintiff had filed in support of
her response in opposition. (Doc. No. 61). Plaintiff filed
two further motions to seal more documents she had previously
filed with her response. (Doc. Nos. 62, 63).
multiple scheduling attempts, the Court held a hearing in
Statesville on November 25, 2019 on the motion for summary
judgment, motion to strike, and motions to seal. At the
hearing, the Court granted the Board's motion to strike
(Doc. No. 59), as well as their motion to seal (Doc. No. 61).
As for Plaintiff's pending motions to seal, the Court
instructed the parties to confer and submit a joint motion if
they sought to seal any remaining documents. On November 27,
2019, the parties filed a joint Notice of Sealing Documents,
stating there were no remaining documents they wished to
seal. (Doc. No. 76).