WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Keokuk Teachers Accused of Fraud; State Board Seeks License Surrender

Feb 21, 2018

Two teachers at Keokuk Middle School are accused of fraud by the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners (BOEE). The board is asking the two to surrender their teaching licenses.

The BOEE received complaints about Ehren Wills and Kay Slusher on December 15, 2016. The website for Keokuk Middle School lists Wills as a Social Studies teacher and Slusher as an 8th Grade Language Arts teacher.

The BOEE, in response to the complaints, initiated an investigation into Wills and Slusher. The focus of the investigation was June 2015 – May 2016, which is when Wills was taking online classes while working toward a Master’s Degree through Hannibal LaGrange University in Hannibal, Mo.

“[Wills’] colleague Kay Slusher completed assignments for [Wills], and [Wills] submitted Slusher’s work as her own for credit,” wrote the BOEE in its Statement of Charges against Wills.

“Investigation further revealed that [Wills] advanced on the Keokuk Community School District’s salary schedule during the 2016-2017 school year because she represented that she had earned a Masters Degree.”

The Statement of Charges against Slusher is similar.

“[Slusher’s] colleague, Ehren Wills, took online classes through Hannibal LaGrange University in order to earn her master’s degree from June 2015 through May 2016. [Slusher] completed assignments for Wills and Wills submitted [Slusher’s] work as her own for credit.”

Slusher and Wills are each accused of: 

  • Fraud
  • Falsifying or deliberately misrepresenting or omitting material information regarding qualifications or degrees when applying for employment or licensure
  • Falsifying or deliberately misrepresenting or omitting material information submitted in the course of an official inquiry or investigation.
  • Converting public property or funds for the personal use of the practioner
  • Failing to use time or funds for the purpose for which they were intended

Wills is also accused of:

  • Falsifying any records or information submitted to the Board in compliance with the license renewal requirements imposed under 282-Chapter 20.

The BOEE has ordered both teachers to go before an Administrative Law Judge on June 13-14, 2018. The hearing will take place in Des Moines and could include witness testimony and the presentation of evidence.

The BOEE said the “matter may be resolved by surrender of your license or an agreement to accept a lesser sanction.”

Tri States Public Radio sent an email to several representatives of the Keokuk School District seeking comment on the allegations and the employment status of the two teachers.

School Superintendent Christine Barnes replied, stating that the district is aware of the claims and that it does not have a comment on the personnel matter at this time. She did not provide any details about the status of the teachers or if they face any sanctions.