A Corinth Holders High School teacher won’t seek renewal of his teaching contract after being arrested and charged with taking indecent liberties with a 16-year-old female student.
Johnston County Schools’ spokesperson Terri Sessoms confirmed that James McNamara, 25, of Raleigh had requested that his contract not be renewed.
The social studies teacher and wrestling coach was suspended with pay from his teaching position March 7 after the young woman accused McNamara of inappropriate conduct.
“Mr. James McNamara has made a request that his contract not be renewed and the superintendent has accepted his request,” Sessoms stated in an email.
McNamara announced his decision on a Facebook page entitled “We Believe in you, Coach Mac!!!.” With more than 1,700 members, the page was started in early March to serve as a discussion group in support of the teacher’s innocence.
“It is very clear that my continued employment in Johnston County Schools would be almost impossible due to the circumstances that currently exist,” McNamara wrote in a statement that his mother, Diane McNamara, posted for him.
“This by no means is an admission of guilt. (Superintendent Ed Croom) has accepted my decision and will allow me to stay on paid leave through the end of the year,” He continued. “I simply feel it is for the best for everyone involved to move on and concentrate on the criminal aspect of this case. This will also allow Johnston County Schools to focus on other matters that need their attention.”
McNamara emphasized that he did not resign and that the school system hadn’t terminated his contract. Rather, he made the decision not to seek renewal of a future teaching contract.
As a relatively new teacher, McNamara is considered a “probationary” employee, meaning his contract with the school system is only good for one year at a time, according to the system’s personnel policy.
The renewal of probationary teachers is an annual occurrence.
State law prescribes a process that would have given McNamara an opportunity to get his job back if school system leaders had opted not to renew his contract.
McNamara wrote that moving on from his career in Johnston County Schools would be the best decision for his family and his fiancé. His mother, who defended her son during the school system’s investigation, is also a Johnston County Schools employee.
“I am getting married in a month and I feel it is time to close a terrible chapter in my life,” McNamara wrote.
By Rebecca Putterman