Woodlawn High School in Mebane announces new principal; former principal still suspended with pay after accusation

Justin Melrose, Sarah Winkelmann and Emily Mikkelsen

19 minutes ago

MEBANE, N.C. (WGHP) — Alamance County Schools Has New Principalalthough its former principal remains on the district’s payroll following a suspension.

The Alamance-Burlington School System Board of Education on Monday named Clarence Garrett Jr. as principal of Woodlawn High School.

Woodlawn High School Principal Thomas William Kazimir (courtesy of the Alamance-Burlington School System)

The school district confirmed that the previous principal of Woodlawn Middle School, Thomas William Kazimir, 53, of Mebane, remains suspended with pay after being fired. accused of failing to report crimes against a minor.

Kazimir and William Michael Jackson, 55, of Haw River, a former teaching assistant at Woodlawn, were charged in connection with the molestation of a student.

Kazimir has worked in the district since 2000, first as a teacher, then in 2013 he was hired as vice principal, and in 2023 he became the school principal. He has been suspended since June 13.

Jackson is facing charges of child abuse and assault on a child under 12. He had been working in the school system since 2020, and his last day on the job was June 13.

Introducing Director Clarence Garrett Jr.

Garrett, the new principal, is an Alamance County native with 19 years of experience in education. ABSS hired him as a technology teacher at Graham Middle School in 2005.

Garrett earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and a master’s degree in executive leadership studies from Gardner-Webb University.

Most recently, he served as principal of NL Dillard High School for two years and was named the Caswell County Schools Principal of the Year for 2023-2024.

Previously, he served as assistant principal at Caswell County and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools for four years.

Prior to his administrative positions, he served as a teacher of special needs children, a seventh-grade math teacher, and athletic director at Broadview Middle School, and taught science at Swann Middle School in Guilford County.

“I look forward to bringing my leadership experience and dedication to educational excellence to Woodlawn Middle School,” Garrett said. “As a product of ABSS, I am committed to supporting a positive and productive school environment.”

Woodlawn Child Abuse Investigation

The charges against Kazimir and Jackson stem from an investigation that began April 26 into alleged abuse of a female student, according to the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office.

Court documents say Jackson grabbed the student by the neck and began applying pressure, causing bruising.

Following the suspensions, the Alamance-Burlington School System released the following statement:

Alamance-Burlington Schools regrets to announce that the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office has announced that two Woodlawn Middle School employees have been charged with misdemeanor offenses in connection with an incident at the school.

Teacher’s Assistant William Jackson was charged with 1 misdemeanor count of child abuse and 1 misdemeanor count of assault on a child under 12. Principal Tom Kazimir was charged with 1 misdemeanor count of failure to report a crime against a minor.

After 10 months of employment, Mr. Jackson’s last day of employment for the 2023-2024 school year was June 13. Principal Kazimir is currently suspended from his duties, but without pay, pending an investigation by the district and law enforcement.

Today we are notifying the staff and families of students at Woodlawn High School of this very disturbing news.

Woodlawn Middle School administrators and staff will continue to provide full support to students and their families, while ABSS will continue to fully cooperate with the Sheriff’s Office to ensure that all of our employees adhere to our highest priority of student safety.

FOX8 asked ABSS how they plan to hold staff and administrators accountable for keeping children safe. A district spokesperson said in a statement:

“This year, regular professional development sessions with principals and staff have focused on district expectations and legal guidelines regarding reporting any incidents involving students to administrators and SROs, as well as the consequences for not following established policies and procedures. We will continue to reinforce this important information to ABSS staff and hold everyone accountable for their role in ensuring student safety.”

The charges relate to six ABSS employees charged in connection with offences against children over a 13-month period.

In May 2023 Southern Alamance High School teacher charged with two counts of indecent behavior with a student and two counts of indecent behavior with children. Then, a few months later, the deputy principal of the same school was charged with one case of sexual intercourse with a student. None of them are employed in the district.

In late 2023, the principal of Eastlawn Elementary School was charged with a sex offense. Months later, the vice principal was charged with failing to report the incident. The principal of Eastlawn School was suspended, and the vice principal resigned, effective June 30.