Jennifer Ortega

About Jennifer Ortega

Reporter and Fill-in Anchor on the weekends. Jennifer Ortega joins our team all the way from South Florida. She's worked for CBS 12 and Hola Tv in West Palm Beach. Although she's a long way from home, she's excited to be a part of the WCBI News Team.

Video: Superintendent Liddell Speaks

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) -After days of talk “about her”, Columbus Schools Superintendent Martha Liddell is speaking for herself. The spotlight was put on Liddell after a series of articles in the Commercial Dispatch in Columbus. Then came a closer look at what some say are some missteps that could have hurt her ability to lead and harmed the district’s image with the public.

Tuesday (6-11) night’s Columbus School Board meeting, included a closed executive session where a personnel matter was discussed for 3 and 1/2 hours. When it was finally over, School Board President Currie Fisher announced that no action would be taken. Superintendent Martha Liddell is ready to set the record straight.

“I can tell you Jennifer that when I took this job there was one thing that I said to the Board of Trustees and that hasn’t changed in my view. I’m going to work tirelessly day in and day out to make sure that Columbus School District moves in a positive direction. The item agenda on the item last night was personnel matters, that’s what was stated and I’m assuming that’s what was covered. As superintendent of this School District I’m dedicated,” said Liddell.

There have been claims concerning the illegal use of school district money and personnel for a personal Christmas party. Liddell says those claims are false.

“That is not true at all and I would like to explain what happened. I appreciate the opportunity with WCBI to do that. Columbus School District is one of the few school districts in the state that uses contracted services. I hired Aramark to do a catering event and paid every dime of what I was owed, what I owed them and the rest of it, I assume is just misinformation, mis-communication,” added Liddell.

“There’s some claims about the costs and the days you’ve traveled?

Great question, glad you asked that, I was sharing earlier every school administrator and teacher we are required to have so many professional development hours per year, guess what to renew our license. The year prior to becoming superintendent, the year of my interim-ship. It was a very difficult year. We all know I inherited a really bad situation financially and academically. I didn’t take a day of vacation,” said Liddell.

Liddell says that the days she took off were to make up for the days of vacation she didn’t use.

“After all the publicity, do you feel like you’ve lost some of the support of the public? Parents in particular?

I feel like I’ve gained support, if you were here last night you would see,” added Liddell.

Tomorrow we’ll have Part 2 of Superintendent Martha Liddell’s interview including talk about improper days off for school personnel, and if she believes there’s a vendetta against her.