A Knox County Schools administrator on leave without pay was reprimanded two years ago for letting some operations slip so badly that the state issued a warning.
Don Lawson, director of Career and Technical Education and a nearly 30-year employee who started in the maintenance department, was put on paid leave July 21. Then, on Aug. 23, he was put on unpaid leave, school records show.
10News obtained a copy of his personnel file on Tuesday.
Lawson was paid $101,000 annually as of last year, according to the school system. He oversaw CTE, the training center that focuses on technical and vocational skills.
A July 21 letter to Lawson in his file does not specify why he was being put on leave.
In April 2015, KCS chief academic officer Dr. Elizabeth Alves wrote a two-page letter reprimanding Lawson.
She wrote that school administrators had been caught off guard two months before because the state had designated Knox County Schools as "high risk" after a review of Lawson's department.
A state monitoring team that looked into CTE found several pages of "missing inventory and/or improperly tagged inventory." It also identified purchasing procedures that were wrong and teacher licensure deficiency, the letter states.
Some of the system's programs, the review showed, also failed to meet "quality program" indicators.
"In an effort to fully understand the context of this monitoring visit, we requested information from the state regarding previous monitoring visits, and learned that we have been cited for similar issues over multiple years," Alves's letter states.
As the boss of CTE, it was Lawson's job to ensure his program met state expectations. He'd failed to do that, the letter states.
"You are hereby directed to work with your immediate supervisor to correct our district response, to provide detailed documentation to support the remediation of all identified deficiencies and to develop a plan that will prevent any and all deficiencies for the 2015-16 school year," her letter states.
It's not clear from the personnel file whether the missing equipment, which included projectors, Apple TVs, Dell flat screen monitors and some 25 iPads were located.
In November 2013, Lawson was reprimanded for failing to evaluate his staff people, despite warnings and deadlines.
"By your own admission, you have failed to comply with the duties outlined in the Knox County Schools Director of Career and Technical Education Job description," a letter from Jon Rysewyk, executive director of innovation and school improvement states.
It continues: "You are hereby directed to follow all policies, procedures, and rules established by the school and Knox County Board of Education. Failure to follow directives in the future could result in further disciplinary action, including a recommendation to the superintendent for your termination."
Lawson started in the mid 1980s in the maintenance department. He also was a custodian. He took a leave of absence to finish his degree in the early 1990s at the University of Tennessee so he could become a teacher in Knox County.
He eventually was promoted to oversee CTE.
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