ASD reviews hiring policy after interim principal had felony conviction

ASD reviews hiring policy after interim principal had felony conviction

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Tennessee's Achievement School District said it's reviewing hiring policies for charter school operators after an interim principal was found to have a felony conviction.

Through an anonymous tip, the Achievement School District learned that interim principle of the charter school Lester Prep had a felony conviction that they weren't aware of.

According to court documents from Missouri obtained by WMC Action News 5, Koai Matthews was convicted and sentenced to probation for conspiracy and counterfeiting in 2006.

The school that hired him knew of the conviction, but didn't report that to the school district, which they are not obligated to do under state law.

"I want to underscore the fact that everything that was done in the hiring of Mr. Matthews was legally sound, it was according to policy," said Robert "Bobby" White, Chief of External Affairs at ASD.

Matthews is keeping his job, and he spoke on camera only to WMC Action News 5 about his past.

"Ultimately, I made a bad decision," Matthews said.

Matthews said he's always dreamed of being a principal and teaching others. He says he uses his experiences as a teaching tool for his students.

"It's because I've walked the shoes that my students walk on a day-to-day basis," Matthews said. "Life is about choices, the more educated you are, the more choices you'll have."

White says the miscommunication will be a teaching tool for all Tennessee charter schools. The board of education is reviewing the situation and could make changes to the way charter schools are required to report instances such as this to their school districts in the future.

"We're not disagreeing with the hiring of certain individuals, we just want to be informed on who those individuals are," White said.

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