Former Sequoyah High School football coach Brent Scott, shown here during a 2007 game, has filed a wrongful termination suit, along with former Assistant Athletic Director Dale Miller, against the Cherokee Nation. In October, the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association ruled Scott and eight SHS football players ineligible to participate with the team for rules violations regarding summer camps. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

2 terminated Sequoyah employees file suit

Larry Grigg, former Sequoyah High School boys basketball coach and athletic director, instructs his players during a 2007 game. Grigg was recently terminated from Sequoyah Schools along with former Assistant Athletic Director Dale Miller and former Sequoyah football coach Brent Scott. Scott and Miller have filed wrongful termination suits. TRAVIS SNELL/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Larry Grigg, former Sequoyah High School boys basketball coach and athletic director, instructs his players during a 2007 game. Grigg was recently terminated from Sequoyah Schools along with former Assistant Athletic Director Dale Miller and former Sequoyah football coach Brent Scott. Scott and Miller have filed wrongful termination suits. TRAVIS SNELL/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY TESINA JACKSON
01/15/2013 08:37 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Former Sequoyah High School employees Brent Scott and Dale Miller have filed a wrongful termination lawsuit in Cherokee Nation District Court against SHS Superintendent Leroy Qualls and the CN after receiving notifications of their firings on Dec. 7.

“They were given a 30-day notice and their employee ended on Jan. 7,” former Principal Chief Chad Smith, the plaintiffs’ attorney, said.

According to court documents filed on Dec. 21, the plaintiffs allege Qualls, who signed the termination letters, violated their rights to due process by “terminating their employment without cause.”

Qualls declined to comment due to the pending litigation.

Court documents state that Qualls did not consult or get the consent or approval of the SHS board of education to terminate the plaintiffs as required by CN law and that he breached employment agreements with the plaintiffs by failing to perform in good faith.

“They have a constitutional right to due process and pre-termination hearings,” Smith said.

Scott, who was the head football coach; Miller, the former assistant athletic director; and former Athletic Director Larry Griggs, who is not part of the suit, were placed on administrative leave after the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association declared in October that 12 football players played during the season while ineligible. The OSSAA decision forced Sequoyah to forfeit all nine regular season victories, its district title and its spot in the Class 3A football playoffs.

Scott was scheduled to appear before the OSSAA board on Jan. 9 for a reinstatement hearing, but it was continued to February.

The OSSAA declared the players and Scott ineligible in October because in the summers of 2009 to 2012 Sequoyah paid for players to attend sports camps, a violation of OSSAA rules. Eleven of the 12 players were later reinstated to play the next season’s sports. However, quarterback Brayden Scott, Brent’s son, was not reinstated.

Scott was hired as head football coach on Aug. 9, 2004. Miller was hired on March 16, 1992, and Grigg was hired on Aug. 4, 1997.

Smith said Scott and Miller aren’t currently working. The Cherokee Phoenix attempted to contact Grigg but was unsuccessful.

Smith also filed a temporary injunction motion, which if granted, would prohibit the school “from terminating the plaintiffs employment until their case may be heard on the merits.”

The temporary injunction hearing was scheduled for Jan. 2 but was continued until Feb. 6.

“We should have a full hearing on whether Qualls had the authority to fire them,” Smith said. “My request is to keep them (Miller and Scott) on the payroll.”

Nothing has been scheduled in another wrongful termination case filed by three other SHS former employees against the CN administration.

Plaintiffs Geary Don Crofford, Teresia Knott and Louie Jackson filed a suit on Nov. 2 in the District Court against Principal Chief Bill John Baker, Chief of Staff Chuck Hoskin Sr. and Education Services Director Dr. Neil Morton after being laid off during a June reorganization of the school.

“We intend on winning all of these cases,” CN Attorney General Todd Hembree said. “The Sequoyah High School employees that were laid off and/or terminated, we did so within the Cherokee Nation policy, procedures and law and we look forward to winning these cases.”

Crofford, former dean of academics; Knott, former dean of leadership; and Jackson, former dean of students, were laid off along with five other Sequoyah employees. Two of the eight employees have been rehired in different positions at Sequoyah.

“They have the right to file their suit,” Hembree said. “I’ve never begrudged anyone from having their day of court when they think they have been wronged, but in this instance they haven’t been. It was a decision that was made, like I said, in accordance with the policies and procedures of the Cherokee Nation, but I don’t think any more or less of them for bringing their day in court.”

tesina-jackson@cherokee.org


918-453-5000, ext. 6139

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Education

BY STAFF REPORTS
08/27/2014 12:54 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation and Northeastern State University’s College of Liberal Arts are collaborating to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Cherokee Constitution. There will be a celebratory symposium at 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 28 at NSU-Tahlequah’s University Center Ballroom. The Cherokee Nation Color Guard will kick off the event. Following, there will be panels discussing the history of the tribe’s 1839 Constitution. Keynote speaker, Dr. Miriam Jorgensen, will speak during lunch. Jorgensen is a lecturer for both University of Arizona and Harvard University’s Executive Education programs in Native American Leadership. She also works at George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University as an adjunct professor in Community Development with American Indian Communities. For more information, email Dr. Diane Hammons at <a href="mailto: hammonsa@nsuok.edu">hammonsa@nsuok.edu</a>.
08/11/2014 12:23 PM
BY STAFF REPORTS TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Indian Youth Wrestling organization based in Tahlequah is selling T-shirts to raise money for club expenses such as new singlets and equipment. Cost per shirt is $15 plus $5 for shipping, with an additional option to donate more. The organization’s goal is to sell 50 shirts by Aug. 15. Customers should receive their shirts in the mail around Aug. 29. To place an order, go to the booster.com website and search for IYW or type in <a href="http://www.booster.com/iyw" target="_blank">www.booster.com/iyw</a> to be taken directly to the ordering page. Booster.com will ship anywhere around the world. The organization has set out to provide its children with a strong work ethic, resilience and a sense of responsibility for their own destiny as well as lasting inner-strength and confidence. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.facebook.com/IndianYouthWrestling/info" target="_blank">www.facebook.com/IndianYouthWrestling/info</a> or email Jillian Girty at <a href="mailto: jillian.girty@cn-bus.com">jillian.girty@cn-bus.com</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
06/10/2014 08:45 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Applications are being taken by Cherokee Nation Career Services to fill open slots for the 2014 fall semester Registered Nurse Scholarship Program. Applications will continue to be taken until all openings are filled. Applicants must already be accepted to an associate of applied science in nursing degree program and currently enrolled full time in their respective program. Students attending private and/or proprietary schools such as Tulsa Tech, ITT, University of Phoenix and Brown Mackie are also not eligible to apply. Students needing to meet general education requirements as well as students pursuing a bachelor’s of science in nursing and/or master’s of science in nursing should contact the College Resource Center for funding assistance at 918-453-5465. For questions or to request an application, email RN Scholarship Manager Jan Grogan at <a href="mailto: jan-grogan@cherokee.org">jan-grogan@cherokee.org</a> or call 918-207-3873.
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/20/2014 08:44 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – On May 13, six students graduated from the Cherokee Nation Immersion Charter School. The graduating sixth graders are the third class to graduate from the school, where students speak only Cherokee while they learn grade level state standard curriculum. The students also learn to read and write the 86-character Cherokee syllabary. “We’re making history every day with these children, since there are very few programs out there we can compare to in terms of bilingual education and preservation of a native language,” Principal Holly Davis said. “These students are doing something very unique so that our next generation will carry on our tradition and language.” The graduating students are Liam McAlpin, Alexis Kelley, Hondo Kirk, Sinihele Rhoades and Daylon Dunn, all of Tahlequah, and Solomon Winn of Briggs. “Now I can talk to most of the elders, and they’re really happy when I talk to them in Cherokee,” Rhoades said. “It’s good for them to know that people are still trying to learn the language and keep it alive.” Kelley said she shares what she learns with her family. “My mom is always asking me to teach her, and I think it’ll be fun to teach others, too,” she said. The school also graduated 10 kindergarten students in an earlier ceremony on May 13. Those students will start the first grade at the immersion school this fall while the graduating sixth-grade class will takes courses on the Sequoyah School campus.
BY STACIE GUTHRIE
05/20/2014 08:24 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – On May 6, Cherokee students attending schools within the Cherokee Nation’s jurisdiction competed in the tribe’s Small Business Assistance Center’s Entrepreneurship Day, which promoted young CN citizens in making plans and ideas for their own independent businesses. The event took place at Sequoyah High School’s gym, The Place Where They Play, and consisted of students from fifth to 12th grades. Fifth through eighth grades competed in one category as ninth through 12th competed against each in another. SBAC entrepreneur development Manager Stephen Highers said the event is geared to helping students get creative when trying to create businesses. “Basically, what they done is they have created an idea for a potential business that they would like to see,” Highers said. “They have set up a display board to show off their businesses. They’ve created a business plan, and they are presenting those business plans and those display boards to the judges, who are then going around and choosing the winner, choosing who they think is the best one.” SHS junior Sharon Stanley and sophomore Serena Schaffler won first place in the ninth through 12th grade category with their business idea, Eclectech. “Our business is Eclectech. Our motto is simplicity with efficient design. We’re a software company,” Stanley said. “Basically, technological people know that Windows is better than some of the others (operating systems) in their experience and from a lot of my experience Windows 98 is one of the best ones.” When Stanley and her partner Schaffler began their projects, nearly three weeks before the event, they decided they wanted to make something that anyone of any age could understand and use. “What we did was we modeled a software off of Windows 98 and Windows XP and we morphed it into our own design,” said Stanley. “It has the simplicity to where you can work with different types of documents that you need to. You have all of the advanced things that Apple and Android and Windows can bring to technology but they’re in a simplified format that way people of any age can understand them.” Cash Wright, a sixth grade student from Vian Middle School, took home the first place prize in the fifth through eighth grade category in Tahlequah with his business Cash’s Awards & More. His business makes awards for any occasion and can do so in wood or other materials. The second Entrepreneurship Day event took place on May 13 at Rogers State University in Claremore. This is the first year the event has expanded to include competition at a university. Hannah Hart, a seventh grade student from VMS, took home the first place prize in the fifth through eighth grade category with her business Double H Basketball. Her business allows her to work as a coach who helps students improve their basketball skills. Meredith Brown and Trevor Petors, 10th grade students from Bartlesville Middle School, took home the first place prize in the ninth through 12th grade category in Claremore with their business Sweet 16 for a Cure. It offers DJ services for “Sweet 16” parties with a fraction of their earnings going to cancer research. All of this year’s winners received cash prices to help start their business. First place winners from both categories at each event received $400. Second place winners received $300. Third place winners received $200. Fourth place winners received $100, and fifth place winners received $50. Also, at each event, a grand prize winner was selected from both categories and received $700. The grand prize winner at Tahlequah was Kaycee and Kylee Haning, seventh grade students from VMS, with their business Kaycee and Kylee’s Canine Service, which takes in stray animals and puts them up for adoption. They also work with a local veterinarian to get the animals vaccinated. The grand prize winner at Claremore was Alex Bailey, a seventh grade student from Locust Grove Middle School, with his business Kids Classifieds. His business works online to link youths to elders or others within the community who need help with home projects and are willing to pay the youth for services. In years past, winners received either televisions or laptop computers. Highers said the events’ main sponsor was the Nation’s Tribal Employment Rights Office, which gave $6,000. “They sponsored the prize money that went out to the students both in Tahlequah and in Claremore. Without the support of TERO, we would not have been able to offer the prize money to the students to help start and further develop their business ideas,” he said. Highers said he enjoys the Entrepreneurship Day events and believes it’s important to get Cherokee students involved in the process of creating their own businesses. “I think this is a hugely important program to the Cherokee Nation because it instills entrepreneurship at a early age,” he said. “I think that is important to the tribe especially as we move forward because it’s important to have entrepreneurs out here in northeast Oklahoma that are making a difference and starting their businesses and they are being the economic engine that is moving the Cherokee Nation forward.”
BY STAFF REPORTS
05/14/2014 08:32 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – According to the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, 28 Cherokee students were awarded Gates Millennium Scholarships for the 2014-15 school year. High school seniors receiving the scholarships who are Cherokee Nation citizens are Grant Harrison, Sallisaw High School (Okla.); Zachary Sharp, Gans High School (Okla.); Emily Smith, Locust Grove High School (Okla.); Shaylee Rowland, Muskogee High School (Okla.); Brett Allen, Muskogee High School; Meagan Jackson, Pryor High School (Okla.); Chance Blount, Sallisaw High School; Randilyn Thompson, Sand Springs Charles Page High School (Okla.); Kaitlyn Sweatt, Sapulpa High School (Okla.); Cade Chlouber, Shawnee High School (Okla.); Kakiley Workman, Stilwell High School (Okla.); Rebecca Miller, Stilwell High School; Brandon Doyle, Stilwell High School; Colby Luper, Sequoyah High School in Tahlequah; Grant Neugin, Sequoyah High School; Collin Vann, Sequoyah High School; Jordan Wagnon, Sequoyah High School; Sarah Ferrell, Tahlequah High School; Colby Brittain, Tahlequah High School; Montana Hefner, Tahlequah High School; Joshua Holcomb, Tahlequah High School; Kelsi Morrell, Tulsa Lighthouse Christian Academy (Okla.); Hartley Russell, Tulsa Thomas Edison Preparatory High School (Okla.); Ryan Pendleton, Tulsa Thomas Edison Preparatory; Christopher Compton, Oklahoma City Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics; Jordan Connell, Irrigon High School (Ore.); and Joel Martin, Toldeo High School (Wash.). One student claiming Cherokee ancestry but not registered as a CN citizen who received the Gates award is Chase Hall of Rogers High School (Ark.). The scholarship program is funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that was established in 1999, according to a release from GMSP. It provides “outstanding low income African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American and Hispanic American students with an opportunity to complete and undergraduate college education in any discipline they choose.” “Continuing Gates Scholars may request funding for a graduate degree program in one of the following discipline areas: computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health or science. The goal of GMS is to promote academic excellence by providing thousands of outstanding students, who have significant financial need, the opportunity to reach their full potential,” states a release from the GMSP. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.gmsp.org" target="_blank">www.gmsp.org</a>.