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I was a teacher at the school when this happened, and I can confirm the facts as were written. Jerry Lewis made himself principal of the school (even though he did not have the training or state certificate to be one) while he was also the assistant superintendent. The morale and academics plummeted under him. All the years the Tempe school was Thomas J. Pappas we always earned a Performing label from the state, but when Jerry took over it became an Underperforming school... even though his focus was on teaching to the test. The assistant principal (who was the principal for many years until Jerry decided he wanted to be principal) spent the whole summer organizing and working at a Stuff-the-Bus back to school drive at the Chandler Fashion Square, and as soon as it was over they terminated her. Crazy thing is that through her contacts she brought in more funds for the school than what they paid her. Jerry did not like her constantly catching him spending donated funds incorrectly. One of the teachers who Jerry hired from his church decided to have a garage sale to raise money for a personal matter. She asked Jerry, and he instructed the woman in charge of donations to allow this teacher to take whatever she wanted. Later she posted on her Facebook page that she made over $1000 at the sale. When I asked Jerry about this later he said that it was the woman in charge of donations who authorized it, but everyone knows she wouldn't do so because we had never done so before. She also did not have the authority to allow teachers or staff to take donations. Jerry also told me that he had this teacher return the items, but the truth is she returned whatever did not sell. Jerry also said that allowing teachers and staff to take home items for their personal use was done long before he or Sequoia took over the Pappas schools. This is false, and nobody has ever at any of the Pappas schools taken donated items home to sell for their personal use. There have been a few occasions where a teacher needed help feeding her family between paychecks, and she was allowed to take a food box home. I was back east at an educational conference when this happened. I heard about it and sent an email to the superintendent of Sequoia concerning this and other issues related to Jerry Lewis. When I returned I found out that the superintendent sent my email to Jerry and told him that he wanted me terminated. I had a meeting with Jerry, and a few days later I resigned in disgust. In the two years I worked while Jerry was principal I saw favoritism, heavy-handed tactics, and a decline in academics. The behavior of Jerry is far worse than Dr. Dowling was accused of.
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Oct 5, 2011