The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


November 10, 2012

Board votes to fire Johnson Elementary principal


Board policy

The board majority contended that Lewis had attended an education conference on June 18-19, 2009, that reviewed the changes in the Alabama bid law, and that Lewis had knowingly violated board policy when he accepted a verbal low bid from Golden Rule Sign Company of Louisville, Ky., rather than seek written bids.

The superintendent described the financing of the sign through installment payments with the company as “a loan” and a policy violation, while Lewis said, “It was not a loan.”

Lewis’s attorney, Jake Watson of Huntsville, argued that Lewis hadn’t violated any board policies. After the meeting, he said the board previously had offered to let Lewis resign and be paid through the end of his contract.

Attorney action

Watson was given an allotted time to speak during the meeting. He was asked to follow the rules of order of the meeting after attempting to address the board members during another portion of the meeting.

After McGill asked him twice if he would follow the rules, Watson was escorted out by a Limestone County Sheriff’s Department deputy as the audience protested his ejection.

According to county school officials, Shoulders and Watson, Lewis had not been charged with a crime and was not being investigated for sexual misconduct.

Supporting Lewis

Tonnesha Lewis spoke about her husband’s character as did his other supporters, who described him as “creative,” “deserving,” “caring” and “a great leader.”

More than half of Johnson’s entire teaching staff stood up during the meeting to show their support to Lewis and wore bright pink T-shirts emblazoned with Lewis’ school motto for 2012-13, “One voice, one sound.”

“I have been married to him 16 years, and I have known him for 20 years,” she said. “I know him to be a God-fearing, good and caring man and father of two active young boys. I know his heart better than anyone, and I know he loves being principal at Johnson Elementary.

“I hope and pray you make your decision fair and right — it’s what the students, teachers and Casey deserve.”

Lewis, of Dallas, Texas, was a special education teacher for five years, an assistant principal at Tanner High School for two years and principal of Reid Elementary for two years. He became Johnson’s principal in July 1, 2009.

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