Redenbaugh: Teacher shouldn't have gotten recommendations

Published: May. 26, 2009 at 7:30 PM EDT|Updated: May. 28, 2009 at 3:07 PM EDT
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Jessica Bailey Wishnask (Source: WPD)
Jessica Bailey Wishnask (Source: WPD)

Reported by Lynda Figueredo - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

PITT COUNTY, NC (WECT) - A Pitt County school teacher resigned after being arrested in Wilmington over the weekend.

According to the Wilmington Police Department, 27-year-old Jessica Bailey Wishnask of Leland was arrested and charged with indecent liberties with a minor.

Police say a patrol officer spotted a suspicious vehicle at Grace Street and North Fifth Avenue.  As he approached the car, the officer found Wishnask in "intimate contact" with a 15-year-old boy.

"Apparently these allegations are serious, they concern us," said  New Hanover County Schools Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, Dr. John Welmers Jr.  "We hate that a student was involved. So it is making us look at what we do, and how we do it, and those sorts of thing when we work with teachers."

According to Welmers, Wishnask was a 7th grade language arts teacher at Williston Middle School prior to working in Pitt County.

Valita Quattlebaum said Wishnask was suspended in October and November of 2008 and resigned from Williston Middle School Dec. 31, 2008 for personal reasons.

Wishnask received a recommendation letter from her references in New Hanover County when she was hired as an 8th grade language arts teacher at Pactolus Elementary School.

Mayo said Wishnask began teaching in Pitt County February 2 and resigned Monday, May 25.

Board member Elizabeth Redenbaugh said the board has a responsibility to make sure someone with two suspensions does not receive a recommendation letter from the district.

According to neighbors, Wishnask moved out of a home in Leland shortly after she resigned.  She and her husband are in the middle of a separation and have a young daughter together.

Wishnask currently lives in Greenville, North Carolina.  District Attorney Ben David said more charges are pending.

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