QUESTION: A teacher at a private school in Gibsonville was recently arrested, and she appears to have prior convictions. Don’t they do any kind of criminal background checks for teachers? Do they require teachers to have a state teaching license?
ANSWER: Karen Caldwell Stallings, 41, white, female, of 662 Williamson Avenue, Elon was charged on October 31 with three felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses and three felony counts of uttering a forged instrument, according to a record of her charges that has been filed in the Guilford County court system. She is currently scheduled to appear in Guilford County court for those charges on December 5.
The case file lists the alleged victim as a private school in Gibsonville, Greater Vision Academy, but it doesn’t specify whether Stallings was or is currently employed there. Greater Vision Academy is a private religious K-12 school located at 485 Brightwood Church Road in Gibsonville.
Stallings was also charged on October 31 on what appears to be an outstanding charge of felony identity theft, for an alleged offense that occurred on September 18, 2019, according to that court file, which lists the alleged victim as Lorraine Vasquez of 354 Talley Street in Troutman. Stallings is also scheduled to appear in Guilford County court for that charge on December 5.
Court documents show that Stallings was also charged in Alamance County on October 31 with two counts of felony identity theft and one felony count of obtaining property by false pretenses. Her Alamance County court file lists the date of the alleged offense as September 9 of this year and the alleged victims as: Tadd Grandstaff of 2148 Gun Drive, Burlington; Palmetto Solar of Charleston, South Carolina; and Goodleap, LLC of Roseville, California. Stallings was currently scheduled to appear in Alamance County district court for those charges on Wednesday, November 22.
Stallings had previously been charged in Alamance County on June 1, 2018 with felony embezzlement. Her court file listed the alleged victim in that case as Jarred Wiedenroth of 5525 Dunallie Drive in Fuquay-Varina. That charge was dismissed without leave and without a plea agreement by Alamance County assistant district attorney Kevin Harrison on March 16 of this year because a law enforcement officer and a representative from a Kohl’s store never responded to a subpoena to testify at trial, according to the case file.
Greensboro police had previously charged Stallings with felony embezzlement in April 2016; she pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of misdemeanor larceny in October 2019 and was given 12 months’ unsupervised probation, according to her court file for that case.
The state Department of Non-Public Education (DNPE), which oversees private schools in North Carolina, recommends, but does not require, criminal background checks for private school employees, including teachers.
By comparison, public charter schools are required by law to do criminal background checks similar to those conducted by N.C. public school systems.
State law does not require state teaching licensure for private school teachers, according to DPNE.
Greater Vision Academy, which offers kindergarten through grade 12, received $538,827 in state-funded opportunity scholarships to offset the costs of tuition during the 2022-23 school year, according to the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA), which oversees the scholarship program.
Greater Vision Academy’s enrollment figures were not available from the NCSEAA or the DPNE.
Greater Vision Academy charges $400 per month in tuition and approximately $625 per year in registration, curriculum, activity, and testing fees, according to the school’s website. The school charges a separate fee for participation in varsity sports teams. Greater Vision Academy is located at 485 Brightwood Church Road in Gibsonville.
Statewide, were approximately 126,768 students enrolled in a total of 884 private K-12 schools as of the 2022-23school year, the latest period for which the figures are available.
The Alamance News has twice attempted to contact Greater Vision Academy by phone. There was no answer; nor was there a voicemail message system.
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