CHARLESTON – A trial date has been set for former George Washington High School counselor Mary K. Eller’s defamation lawsuit against the Kanawha County Board of Education and its principal.

Jury selection was scheduled to begin Aug. 21, with the trial beginning the following day.

Eller claimed she was defamed and presented in a false light by the school’s principal, George Aulenbacher. She also claimed she was wrongly suspended for a month in 2015 and subsequently became the subject of an e-mail from Aulenbacher.

In her lawsuit, Eller claimed that Aulenbacher wanted her to retire beginning in 2010, when he became principal at George Washington.

Eller filed her lawsuit in August 2015 in Kanawha Circuit Court. She alleged that since 1965, except for nine years she was raising her own children, she had worked for the school board and that she had been at George Washington the last 30 years.

In February 2015, Eller claimed she was wrongfully suspended, but was able to return the next month. The reason for her suspension was unclear.

Eller claimed the school board and Aulenbacher defamed her and injured her professional reputation by saying she hurt the chances of 11 students from graduating.

She is seeking compensatory damages, special damages and punitive damages. She is represented by James M. Cagle.

The defendants are represented by Lou Ann Cyrus.

The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Joann Tabit.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 15-C-1544

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