What Could A School Psychologist Have To Hide?

During last month’s Montgomery County School Board meeting something rare popped up when the consent agenda was approved.

Catherine Bailey, wife of McNabb Middle School principal Larry Bailey, is the district’s Lead Psychologist (or just “School Psychologist”, depending upon the day). Her name appeared as part of the accounts payable report wherein she requested $250 in reimbursement for a psychology license certification. Upon realizing she worked for embattled superintendent Joshua Powell’s illegally-hired wife, Anna, we started to dig a bit deeper.

Line number four:


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Here’s what her office, headed by Anna Powell, looks like:


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  • Director of Special Projects — Anna Powell
  • Special Education Consultant — Dena Amburgy
  • Lead/School Psychologist — Catherine Bailey
  • School Psychologist — Julie Phillips
  • School Psychologist — Savannah Benningfield
  • Occupational Therapist — Megan Turner
  • Occupational Therapist — Megan Floyd
  • Occupational Therapist — Lindsay Maples (Rison)
  • Physical Therapist — Kerry Covington


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That office handles special education — where students are allegedly placed to remove them from testing, driving up test scores, increasing funding for the district for their alleged special needs, driving up Medicaid billing for therapies they may not need, yadda yadda — and it appears to have been Joshua Powell’s number one priority.

During our investigation we stumbled upon a couple damning emails handled by Bailey, her husband, Powell’s wife, teacher Brandy Holley and Powell’s right-hand, Cindy Kincaid. They’re from Mike Owsley of ELPO essentially telling them that they don’t have to testify before the Education Professional Standards Board.

Take a look:


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Unreal, isn’t it? Trying to get out of testifying against Joshua Powell, whose EPSB hearing started back up on Thursday, February 26.

Note: ELPO is still representing Powell before the EPSB despite the school board asserting a conflict of interest exists (because ELPO wasn’t employed to represent Powell but the board as a whole). ELPO, according to members of the school board, wasn’t supposed to be providing legal advice to random school district employees.

There were a couple more emails she exchanged with EPSB:


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Then she stopped responding, stopped communicating with EPSB, went MIA.

What on earth could Catherine Bailey possibly have to hide?

We checked with the Public Protection Cabinet’s Board of Examiners of Psychology to see what was up. Despite not appearing as licensed on the Cabinet’s license verification portal, she appears to have obtained her license to practice as a psychologist in Kentucky in November 2014:


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This means she had been hired as Lead Psychologist and was practicing as a psychologist in the district for more than a year without a license. In order to practice as a psychologist, which she was, and to bill Medicaid for services (which Powell told the board would pay for her position), she needed to be licensed. Click here (Warning: External PDF Link) to access the state regulations for psychologists.

Here’s proof that she knew more than a year before getting licensed in Kentucky that she needed a license:


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It appears that she at the very least was inquiring about billing Medicaid in Kentucky without proper licensure.

All of this means Joshua Powell once again violated an agreed order with the EPSB from a mountain of scandals in his previous school district in Union County. Hiring people who aren’t qualified (licensed) is a major problem.

Note: She did have a certificate from EPSB, which is required in addition to state licensure:


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This would be unbelievably surprising but it’s not the first or even the tenth time something like this has happened in Montgomery County.

Another note: Those 671 pages of nonsense Jacqui Johnston sent us? They were in response to an open records request for “Medicaid” — she claimed that neither she nor technology director Brett Higgins could find any email or documentation involving Joshua Powell — the superintendent — containing the term “Medicaid” for a number of years.

Unsettling and beyond suspicious, isn’t it? That the superintendent wouldn’t have any documentation involving the term “Medicaid” despite receiving services from the Kentucky School Boards Association related to Medicaid billing, despite having psychologists and other therapists who bill Medicaid, despite having an illegally-hired wife in charge of the department that handles so many Medicaid services. You can jump to your own conclusion but it’s clear someone (or multiple someones) is working to hide Medicaid-related information.

To make matters worse, a source within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services tells us under the condition of anonymity (in fear for their job because they’ve already received threats) that they have evidence children within Montgomery County Schools are having therapies billed to Medicaid that they aren’t receiving. In one case, a child supposed to receive therapy is instead walked around a gymnasium by a teaching aide, not a licensed therapist. In another case, a child is alleged by the district to receive therapy but the child’s family says the child has never met with anyone. Our CHFS source tells us complaints have been filed but there has been no visible movement yet.

Sources in state government tell us Bailey was directly involved in the hiring of Anna Powell, going so far as to design rubrics for her hiring. Joshua Powell had given her a district leadership role, which explains her pursuit of a Director of Special Education certificate:




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Here she is trying to buy an $8,000 robot:


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If anyone doubts she was hired and paid as a psychologist:


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Yep.

For anyone doubting she has been directly involved in billing, hiring and supervising other psychologists.

Billing:


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Hiring:


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Supervising:





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You can see for yourself that she was so involved in district administration that Joshua Powell considered her a part of his “cabinet” (which isn’t a thing, he just wanted to sound important).

She was also deeply involved in budgeting and finance:






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She was heavily involved in the district’s questionable Chinese language program:


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BONUS

This is how involved Joshua Powell was in everything related to Bailey:


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He was attempting to get her into an MSU program.

More proof she was deeply involved with Medicaid:


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Fun stuff with the Baldrige Program:


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Baldrige, as you’re probably loosely familiar, is a program pushed by Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday and Joshua Powell. Holliday has relatives in the employ of Baldrige.

We reached out to Bailey for comment but have received no response.

Still wondering what Bailey has to hide?

Apparently a lot.