According to a press release provided by Assistant District Attorney Mickey Thacker, Judge David Smith on Thursday sentenced Nelson to a 10-year probated sentence, with the conditions that Nelson pay instantly on the sentence day the full restitution amount of $10,127.50 to the victim, the Bartow County Board of Education, for monies received by Nelson on behalf of the BCBOE for the rental of the Woodland High School Performing Arts Center.
Additionally, Nelson will be required to pay a $1,000 fine, complete 100 hours of community service work and not seek to re-instate his State of Georgia teaching certificate or obtain employment with the school system while serving on probation.
In September 2010, The Daily Tribune News reported Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Jerry Scott said Nelson, who was 50 at the time, was charged with numerous counts of theft by conversion in connection with the theft of about $11,000 during an approximate three-year period.
“He was charged with 11 counts of felony theft by conversion for converting funds that were intended for the Bartow County School System to his personal use,” Scott said. “He just took funds that were intended for various functions and put them into his personal account — [donations] and fundraiser money.”
Nelson was booked in the Bartow County Jail pending a bond hearing.
Superintendent John Harper declined to comment due to the pending case against the former teacher employed by the system from Aug. 14, 1995, to January 2010.
Nelson, who previously served as Woodland High’s choral director and Fine Arts Academy coordinator, resigned Jan. 7, 2010 — an action Harper in January said precluded termination proceedings.
“The board was prepared to pursue having a hearing,” Harper said in January 2010. “You can’t dismiss anyone under contract unless there is a hearing. All that was being contemplated, and the final decision had not been made on that, and then we subsequently got the retirement, so all that ceased.”
— Former DTN reporters Jon Gargis and Brande Poulnot contributed to this report.