Volusia elementary school principal removed following an internal investigation

Shantell Adkins (Image: Ortona Elementary School)
Shantell Adkins (Image: Ortona Elementary School) (WKMG 2019)

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Former Ortona Elementary School principal Shantell Adkins was removed amid an under internal investigation, Volusia County School District officials said.

Superintendent Dr. Scott Fritz made the decision to remove Adkins from his position, according to a statement from the district.

A recorded message was sent home to Ortona Elementary School families on Monday informing them of the leadership change.

Dr. Katie Dyer will serve as acting principal, according to that message.

District officials confirmed Adkins’s removal happened after a recent professional standards investigation.

According to documents obtained by News 6 through a public records request, Adkins was accused of making unprofessional comments toward several staff members and contracted employees.

A Nov. 20, 2019 “letter of caution” from Robert Ouellette, the manager of the Office of Professional Standards, to Adkins stated that evidence did not exist to support disciplinary action, however, warned his actions “seriously reduce your effectiveness as an employee” and “constitutes poor judgment.”

“Please be aware that future substantiated incidents of unprofessional behavior may result in disciplinary action to and including termination of employment,” the letter read from the office of professional standards said.

According to a complaint received by the district in September, a worker at Ortona Elementary School said Adkins would ask her personal questions about her “baby daddy” and made comments about her weight.

Multiple employees alleged Adkins, who is married, was involved in an inappropriate relationship with a teacher.

Another employee told investigators, Adkins told her to walk around the campus more to lose weight.

A school counselor described “a hospital work environment” and said Adkins accused her of reporting him to professional standards telling her, “karma is a (expletive)," according to the investigative report.

In a Sept. 18, 2019 email to the office of professional standards an employee wrote she felt “threaten and harassed," after two conversations with Adkins that happened on the previous day.

“I am very concerned about what this might lead to and I am really trying to be as professional as I can be when dealing with this ridiculousness,” the email read.

Following the office of professional standards investigation, Adkins was ordered to attend a professionalism in the workplace training. He completed the training on Dec. 6 and was removed from the school this week.