The head of the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School in South Hadley has been fired following his arrest on drug charges.
"Last night, George Simpson was terminated by our board of trustees for cause," said PVPA chief financial officer Marcy Conner.
Simpson, now former head of Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School - or PVPA - was pulled over last month by Reading Police, who said that he was in possession of heroin and methamphetamine.
This comes as a shock to many former employees of Simpson, who worked in Los Angeles and Boston before coming to South Hadley.
Simpson lists the president of Spellbound Pictures in Los Angeles as a reference. He told Western Mass News he worked with Simpson on a project, and that "it's a total surprise. I'm shocked by it... We worked with [Simpson] on a musical at the school and it was one of the best experiences we've ever had with an educator."
Former co-workers said that they are saddened by the news and this remains a shock.
"There's been several meetings, several decisions being made, there was a task force that was convened to make a recommendation to the board," Conner added.
Conner told Western Mass News that recommendation was made last night and voted on, ultimately terminating Simpson's employment.
"We do have a very supportive community here at PVPA and we're hoping to move forward from this and continue with our jobs of educating our students," Conner explained.
The board named Brent Nielsen as interim head of school, as officials look into potential changes in hiring protocol and for a permanent replacement.
According to court documents obtained by Western Mass News, Simpson's January arrest in Reading was not his first run-in with police.
The report reads that back in September, Simpson pulled "onto Route 5 south heading north the wrong way in Agawam...the vehicle refused to stop and continued north on Route 5 in the southbound late traveling approximately 50 miles per hour."
Simpson was then arrested for operating to endanger and refusing to stop for police.
We reached out to Simpson for comment and have not yet received a response.
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