It’s important to know the people taking care of the safety and education of our children. That’s why school districts do background checks on their employees. So as parents, we should know as much as we can about the number one person in charge of our children, Superintendent Pete Lewis.
Last Position Held before Colville: Superintendent in Fairbanks, Alaska
June 9, 2014 Lewis was FIRED from Fairbanks North Borough School District
Fairbanks School Board President Haas went on to say Mr. Lewis had knowledge of:
- 1. significant allegations of employee misconduct towards students
- 2. failed to ensure others took appropriate action; and
- 3. took inappropriate action himself.
The superintendent’s unwillingness to perform his duties or inability to do them exposed students to harm and the district to legal vulnerability, the board said. Despite inappropriate student contact, Fowlkes received a glowing recommendation, Haas said.
Lewis allowed an employee to routinely work mornings and nights without being paid, putting the district out of compliance with federal wage and hour laws, Haas said, and fostered an attitude of disrespect toward the board that has permeated down to other staff members, Haas said. Link
Mr. Fowlkes has been convicted of 3 counts of sexual abuse of a minor and is now serving time in jail. Fowlkes has also been charged with seven counts of sexual abuse of a minor regarding allegations made by a student at Hutchinson High School in 2014. The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District has agreed to pay $920,00 to the family of this student.
Here is a video of the Fairbanks School Board Director talking about the Investigation of Claude Fowlkes III and showing her concern that the Colville School Board did not contact them for information about Mr. Lewis before hiring him. Link to Video
June 11, 2014 Pete Lewis was HIRED by Colville School District as their Interim Superintendent (only two days after he was fired from Fairbanks).
December 2014 Pete Lewis was HIRED by Colville School District as their Superintendent. Normally a school district will keep an Interim Superintendent for a full year before hiring them full time. It is a curious thing that our Board chose to hire Mr. Lewis early.
Here is an excerpt from an article posted in the Alaska Dispatch News:
A week later, the board said the suspension took place in connection with the official handling of allegations against a tutor at Hutchison High School. The tutor, 34-year-old Claude Fowlkes III, was arrested in late March on seven counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor.
More information from this article by JuneauEmpire.com
How did Fowlkes receive an evaluation that said he “always observed appropriate boundaries” at the end of a school year in which he was placed on administrative leave for inappropriate Facebook conversations with a student and was later reported by staff to have made contact with the same student despite an order not to do so? Were the right hand and the left hand really so in the dark as to what the other was doing?
If so, it’s clear that the district’s process for reporting and accounting of complaints against staff is in need of serious reform. A series of complaints and reports like those leveled against Fowlkes over the course of several years with the district shouldn’t have left the principals of both Tanana Middle School and Hutchison apparently unaware of his history.
Here is another excerpt from the Newsminer.com showing Claude Fowlkes III conviction:
A Fairbanks jury on Tuesday found former tutor and instructor Claude Fowlkes III guilty of three counts of sexual abuse of a minor for forcing a boy to have sex with him in 2010.
For more information please see my previous posts:
More Information about Mr. Lewis:
First things Mr. Lewis did when he became Interim Superintendent:
– Met with the Board.
– Met with the Teachers Union (gave them everything they wanted).
– Met with Staff.
– Did not meet with the public since he became full Superintendent until the meeting regarding the transgender policy and procedure, but it seems like the public forced him into that meeting.
– He hired a new administrator, Curriculum Director for approximately $95,000 per year, but at a later budget meeting, he told the attendees they had no budget for curriculum because they have no intention of purchasing any this year … ?????
– Fired teachers. (Didn’t the board promise to hire more teachers when the levy was up for re-newal?)