NEWS 8 INVESTIGATES
FORT WORTH –– The embattled executive director of Prime Prep Academy resigned Thursday amid a flood of parent, student and staff complaints and after apparently losing the support of the taxpayer-supported charter school’s flamboyant frontman, NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders.
In a resignation letter released Thursday, D.L. Wallace wrote that he informed Prime Prep’s board chairman, local attorney T. Chris Lewis, three months ago that he was quitting. Wallace writes that he and Lewis agreed Wallace would continue to work, minus his $128,000 annual salary, to help “ensure a smooth school opening.”
“Therefore, once these start up operations [were] in place, I then focused my attention on advising, consulting, training, and assisting at the request of other members of the school leadership team,” Wallace wrote.
A statement from Chairman Lewis on Prime Prep’s website thanked Wallace for his service to the school, which is in its second year of operation.
“Prime Prep Academy has been extremely fortunate to have Mr. D. L. Wallace a part of this organization,” Lewis wrote. “Although Mr. Wallace had drastically scaled back his involvement this year, he was always readily available any time the organization needed him.”
In his resignation letter, Wallace said he was stepping down to “focus on spending more time with my family and in ministerial work.”
Wallace’s wife, Chazma Jones, helped prepare Prime Prep’s 2011 charter application to the State Board of Education, and until recently, sources said, was in charge of many of the school’s operations, including signing checks. Some of those checks were to Wallace, according to copies obtained by News 8 through the Texas Public Information Act.
The Texas Education Agency told WFAA last month it was investigating the arrangement.
"I truly appreciate the contributions co-founder D.L. Wallace has made," Sanders wrote in a text message to News 8 on Thursday. "We will focus wholeheartedly on the vision of being the best academic institution in the Metroplex."
Earlier this week, Sanders told News 8 he was planning the ouster of Wallace, a longtime associate and business partner, over complaints of poor academics and lax leadership at the school.
Last month, Prime Prep briefly fired Sanders, who is a coach at the school, after he allegedly assaulted a school administrator at a heated staff meeting. Sanders, who denies he committed any crime, was then rehired.
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