Jeff Davis read out the apology at a staff meeting this afternoon, telling them he was “embarrassed to have let you down”.
Jeff Davis read out the apology at a staff meeting this afternoon, telling them he was “embarrassed to have let you down”.

Top principal apologies for tirade and ‘nuff-nuff’ crack

THE embattled principal of a strife-torn Gold Coast private school has apologised to staff after explosive recordings emerged of him swearing and calling teachers "nuff-nuffs" who can "barely pass Year 12".

Hillcrest Christian College head Jeff Davis read out the apology at a staff meeting this afternoon, telling them he was "embarrassed to have let you down".

The Baptist Church-run school has been rocked by months of turmoil including unproven bullying allegations against Mr Davis, the suspension and exodus of senior staff and controversy over $600,000 in loans to a company set up to commercialise a reading program.

Mr Davis can be heard venting his frustrations in video and audio recordings with the reading program's creator, Joe Mamone, in a Current Affair story last night, following a series of exclusive reports by The Courier-Mail.

Mr Mamone claims to have legally terminated a licensing agreement with Hillcrest before it announced the $1 million sale of the I Love Reading program to a Hong Kong company earlier this year, in a deal which is yet to settle.

In a phone conversation, Mr Davis is heard losing his temper at Mr Mamone after he tells the principal to "calm down".

"Why would I want to f------ calm down?" Mr Davis explodes.

"You don't seem to understand what I'm talking about, you don't listen to me.

"You friggin' well listen to yourself and not me!"

Mr Davis also appears rattled in a video recording of a meeting where Mr Mamone issued the principal with a noticed terminating the licensing agreement.

"It's costing me my career," an exasperated Mr Davis says.

In another recording, Mr Davis is heard telling Mr Mamone that the original reading program had not achieved the desired results.

"And the problem I've got is that I'm dealing in the real world where every nuff-nuff who teaches prep had got an OP (overall position) 25, and can barely pass Year 12," he says.

In audio obtained by The Courier-Mail, Mr Davis told staff that the ACA story "is not a representation of who I am and I'm embarrassed to have let you down and to have brought you and this community into this state of disruption".

"I sincerely apologise for what I said about prep teachers and assure you that in the full context of what was said, it was not referring to our amazing staff, not only in our prep team but also across the whole college," he said in a prepared statement.

"I made a throwaway comment to Joe which was inappropriate, irrespective of the context of the conversation we were having, and for that I am sorry.

"I apologise for you hearing a small sound bite of me losing my temper with Joe."

 

Jeff Davis flees A Current Affair reporter Chris Allan at Varsity Lakes last week. Picture: ACA
Jeff Davis flees A Current Affair reporter Chris Allan at Varsity Lakes last week. Picture: ACA

 

Referring to reports of a police probe into allegations of misuse of funds at the college, Mr Davis said the school board chairman had been told by the Gold Coast CIB that there was no investigation into any aspect of Hillcrest Christian College under way.

Police said today an investigation was under way after officers received a report, but on Thursday clarified that a formal complaint had to be filed for an investigation to commence.

Mr Davis told staff that Friday was the last day of school for the year.

"And despite the distractions external to the college, our children have experienced another year of tremendous gains and successes based on your efforts and they have the right to finish the year knowing that they are loved and cared for by all of us," he said.

"I pray that you do that tomorrow. I also pray that the next season of 2020 will be one without the distractions that we've experienced this year, and together we will build Hillcrest Christian College into a God-honouring community centred on Christ."

Staff then laid hands on Mr Davis and prayed for him.


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