How Well Does Colville Know Superintendent Pete Lewis?

Lewis

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

  • “… he exhibited a total failure of leadership leading up to the sexual abuse of a student on school property.” (Link)
  • “demonstrated an inability or unwillingness to perform the duties expected of a superintendent, which has resulted in potential liability to the district …” (Link)

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.

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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

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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.

*****Heidi Haas Video

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

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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.

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Superintendent Pete Lewis Fired from Previous Position in Fairbanks

Fired_stamp_commons.wikimedia.orgThis post is informational for the good people of Colville. I believe it is important for this community to understand as much as we can about our new Superintendent. I find it important for people to know that Mr. Pete Lewis was fired from his last position in Fairbanks, Alaska for

“significant allegations of employee misconduct towards students”

handcuffs-294516_640To put it more bluntly, an employee named Claude Fowlkes III was arrested for allegedly raping a student multiple times on campus.

Prior to this, Mr. Lewis was made aware of multiple complaints that Mr. Fowlkes was grooming students. The action Mr. Lewis allegedly took was to transfer Mr. Fowlkes to another building without informing the principal of his past behaviors. This action by Mr. Lewis is what allegedly led to the rapes and to Mr. Lewis’ own firing.

Here is an excerpt from a Fairbanks article written on the KSL.com website  http://www.ksl.com/?nid=157&sid=29870313

The board cited a “total failure of leadership” by Lewis in the investigation and retention of employees, including Claude Fowlkes III, 34, a tutor at Hutchison High School who was arrested in March and charged with six counts of abusing a student at the school.

“Significant allegations and observations of ‘grooming’ and other alarming behavior with students were either not understood or were not dealt with in a serious manner,” Haas said in a statement signed by all board members.

Problems began at Fowlkes’ previous assignment at another Fairbanks school, Haas said, but the Hutchison principal was not made aware of them, Haas said.

Fowlkes from 2008 to 2014 was the subject of at least three complaints regarding conduct toward male students or minors. He violated district policy and engaged in inappropriate behavior with a male student at Tanana Middle School, the board said, but remained employed.

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 [by Mr. Lewis], Haas said.

You can find links to more informative articles at the bottom of this page.

5222712198_a24e1ba298_b_flickr.comQUESTIONS

– Do you as a parent feel our school board was honest with us in every way?

– Why did the school board hire Mr. Lewis two days after he was fired from Fairbanks, AK?

– Why did our board feel the need to rush in a superintendent to our district that had been fired for “significant allegations of employee misconduct towards students”?

– Should this community have been properly informed of Mr. Lewis’ past mistake before he was hired?

– Did our school board do a thorough hiring process, or was Mr. Lewis rushed in? (See post ‘Questionable Interm Superintendent Hiring’ https://colvilleparents.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/questionable-interim-superintendent-hiring/ )

– Did our school board skip the steps in their own policies that require them to inform the public of a superintendent or interim superintendent search? (Once again, see “Questionable Interim Superintendent Hiring post). If so, why?

– Did our school board rush Interim Superintendent Pete Lewis into a permanent position without a proper Superintendent search (according to school policies) before the public could be informed of Mr. Lewis’ past? (See post ‘Superintendent Hiring Procedures’ https://colvilleparents.wordpress.com/2014/11/26/superintendent-hiring-procedures/ )

– Do you, as a parent, feel comfortable with Mr. Lewis in charge of your children?

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Safety Forum for Gun Incident at Fort Colville

Police-badge-_wcyb.comOn February 7, 2013 two fifth grade students planned to carry out a plot to kill classmates at the Fort Colville Elementary school. Luckily, a fourth grade student saw one of these boys with a knife and reported it to an adult averting the disaster. The school district called the police and the parents of the intended victims, but the rest of the school district remained uninformed for at least 4 more hours.

I found that many parents learned about the incident through the noon report on KCRK-FM 92.1. The school district did send out a recorded message on the school messenger system several hours later.

Why didn’t the school inform every parent immediately? My personal theory is because they wanted to make sure they kept the kids in school until they received a full day’s pay for them before they notified the parents. I believe students needed to be in school until 12:30  for the school to be paid a full day.

Were all the people in charge of making the decision to postpone notifying the parents in agreement? The superintendent, all principals and all school board directors. Any principal has the authority to make the decision on their own.

Did our administrators put their budget before the safety of our children? It’s easier to see the totality of this if we

Kitchenfire_flickr.comput it in more simplistic terms. What if your kitchen had a small fire in it at 8 o’clock in the morning, but the babysitter chose not to tell you until you arrived home in the evening? Even if the disaster was averted, you should have been notified. Am I wrong?

Did the school also make an effort to withhold the details from the public? Most of the relevant information we received was from the media – and much of it was days or weeks later. Would you like to hear from the radio station on your lunch hour that there was an incident at your home hours earlier? And then days later, you find out important details about how it started, again from the media? If the situation is wrong for a babysitter and one child, then it is exponentially wrong for a school district with thousands of children. I believe the school district should have been up front and open with us.

What happened after the incident? They had a “Safety Forum” on February 13, 2013 at the Colville High School Auditorium. This would appear to be open, honest and pro-active in their duties for keeping our children safe, but let’s look at the details to find out. Continue reading

Safety Forum Lists Sorted Highest to Lowest Votes

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THIS POST IS INFORMATION PERTAINING TO THE POST TITLED

“SAFETY FORUM FOR GUN INCIDENT AT FORT COLVILLE”

This is a list of votes from the safety forum sorted highest to lowest. My main goal is to provide the raw data so people can come to their own conclusions.

Vote/Listing Number/List Definition

35    9.1       Strengthen character education

30    18.4      No armed teachers

25    7.1       Rachel’s Challenge*

22    9.8        Let school staff who are interested carry a firearm

19    9.2        No armed teachers or volunteers

19    18.1       Metal detectors

17    2.4       Increased mental health

16    8.3       Quicker response to smaller issues to avoid “BIG” ones

16    14.4      Be real with kids about what to look for, what to do, dangers, consequences

13    5.5       Administrators – enforce policies and procedures. Hold families, students and staff/district accountable. 0 tolerance

11    15.5       Rachel’s challenge

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Safety Forum Photo’s

THIS POST IS INFORMATION PERTAINING TO THE POST TITLED

“SAFETY FORUM FOR GUN INCIDENT AT FORT COLVILLE”

In order for me to give an honest view point of the Safety Forum held February 13, 2013, I need to show you the charts the community created through a brainstorming session. People listed items they thought were important safety items. After a certain amount of time, the brainstorming session closed and every participant was given several dots to use to place their votes. You can see the dots on the charts.

I am including the photo’s and a listing beneath each one because some of them are difficult to read. Each photo is numbered and named with a word or two from the top of the chart to help with discussion specifics. I have listed the votes for each item on the left and I have numbered each item so that it can also be recognized in a discussion. In some cases I have included two photo’s to help you see the text on the charts.

1 Communication

1 Communication

0      1.1       Communication – website – more info

0      1.2       Reality from kidding “I’ll kill him”

1      1.3       Government agencies already being paid doing security

0      1.4     Law enforcement familiar with all schools floor plans in stevens county

4      1.5     Why were specific kids targeted?

1      1.6     Fort Colville – No open house, no come see the school meet the teachers – no security to enter even the incident

2      1.7     All teachers on same level of communication to students across the district in each school.

1      1.8       Mental/social health concerns Continue reading