Local News

Zebulon charter school headmaster dismissed from post

Posted March 29, 2012
Updated February 28, 2013

— The governing board of a Zebulon charter school on Thursday evening fired the school's headmaster amid claims by two female employees that he inappropriately touched them.

The board of directors for East Wake Academy met in a closed session for more than an hour before announcing its decision to dismiss Brandon Smith from the post that he held for a decade.

Smith, who had been on paid leave since March 14, has not been charged with any crime, but Zebulon Police Chief Timothy Hayworth said that the two women filed sexual battery complaints against Smith and that investigators are still getting information about other possible victims.

Smith and his attorney, James Hairston, have denied the allegations. They had no comment Thursday evening.

Edward Williams, an attorney for the board of directors, said parting ways was the best thing for the school.

"Brandon Smith is a fine school administrator," Williams said. "(But) at this time, the board has decided they are going to go in a different direction with new leadership."

Charlotte Kelly has a grandchild at East Wake Academy and said Thursday that she supports Smith.

"He was pretty much railroaded," she said, adding that she believes Smith is responsible for making the school great. "I see some outsiders, and a few insiders, trying to ruin that, and that saddens me."

Last week, police seized computers from Smith's home and office, and Hayworth said investigators are going through thousands of emails on the machines.

Brandon Smith Zebulon charter school headmaster fired

According to the search warrants, both employees claim that Smith inappropriately touched them, and one of them told authorities that he solicited her for sexual acts.

One woman told investigators that Smith sent her emails about the allegations and that her work email had been reset in an attempt to keep her from accessing the messages.

The allegations aren't the first for Smith. In the late 1990s, a female teacher at Githens Middle School in Durham, where he was principal at the time, claimed he made sexually suggestive comments, kissed her and grabbed her. Smith resigned from the Durham County school system in 2000.

Prior to working in Durham, Smith was an assistant principal at Enloe High School in Raleigh from 1990 to 1993, according to the Wake County Public School System.

It's still unclear why he left there.

61 Comments

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  • ashwednesday36 Apr 4, 1:17 p.m.

    The fact is that much of what will come out will have to be in court. It will involve the names of parents as well as students. Before any teacher can testify to any issues involving them it will require a subpoena. That way FERPA laws will not be violated.

  • ashwednesday36 Apr 4, 11:37 a.m.

    Oh, liar liar......that works. As I have said before, attack my specific claims and counter them......or shut up!!!! Mr Wilson can confirm what happened to him, Joe can, too. So can Ms Lu. As the old saying goers, every dog has his day....woof woof woof. I can....have....proven all that I have said here.....for now.....off the record.

  • sprotrusky Apr 3, 11:37 a.m.

    Ashwednesday- stop running your mouth and back it all up or shut up! blah blah blah blah ..we ALL get it.. you don't like the man, you don't like the board.. why don't you cut your affiliation with the school since it is so horrible? Everything you say IS heresay and rumors that we have all heard in different ways. . you were not there in ANY of the situations as they happened and none of those other than the ones directly involved know exactly what happened but I do know that a lot of what you have said in your rants are untrue .. get a life.

  • ashwednesday36 Apr 3, 8:56 a.m.

    . The BOARD SUPPORTED this whether they wish to admit this or not and these people can testify to this. There are many of these employees (LOL disgruntled) who have “documented” these meetings and incidents in ways you cannot imagine.

  • freeadvice Apr 2, 4:02 p.m.

    Ashwednesday - please move on - get back to work - wcpss is paying you a lot of money

  • ashwednesday36 Apr 2, 2:39 p.m.

    I totally agree that this school would suffer as would all connected to it. However, it appears that the board MAY have been complicit in covering up the actions of Brandon Smith. If Brandon was told of these complaints, say, Sunday evening and he (or the board) cut off the emails to both of these women on Monday morning in retaliation then there should, at the very least, be an investigation into those matters. Anyone ever connected with the school having similar experiences should be subpoenaed and offer testimony to establish this same type of bullying and intimidation pattern.

  • wtruth Apr 2, 11:01 a.m.

    Wow I really can't understand some of you!! Talking like we should close East Wake Academy for having chose Mr Smith!! So all of us parents, children and staff should be punished for what Mr Smith has done to the teachers!!! EWA is an excellent school and we can overcome all the negative stuff and still be a great school!! Some of you are talking like if if wasn't for Mr Smith we wouldn't be where we are today well you can look at that in many ways!! In a negative as well as a positive way!! It amazes me how you are still sticking up for him like he is a saint!! Look it is not just the 2 teachers it is several!! So when is enough goin to be enough? The school has had some really good teachers and lost them because of Smith and if it wasn't for some of the great teachers the school wouldnt be so great!!! We gotta stick up for our teachers they are who are teaching our students and if we don't stand behind them then who will!!!

  • ashwednesday36 Apr 2, 10:47 a.m.

    Not sure why this did no post yet.....here it goes again.....The women accusers had their emails locked out just after the report to the school board for EWA. Hmmmm, was that not something I posted some time ago and then the threats started of suing this and thats? IF these emails were locked (mind you typically the accused has their email locked when something oike this happens) the morning after these reports were given to the board then that mjst mean the board locked them.....or Brandon was warned ahead of the board and HE locked them or had them locked. My how the web weaves!!

  • ashwednesday36 Mar 30, 6:48 p.m.

    My prediction is that this is going to get awefully nasty. Some at EWA have attached their wagons to this star. I would suggest that these wagon chasers detach and get ready to go.

  • ashwednesday36 Mar 30, 6:46 p.m.

    So as a closing to the weekend. Bradon has yet to have his day in court. True! But think about it. The board, already under pressure, would not have fired this guy unless they knew something. I mean they may already be complicit in all of this. Zebulon is a very small community. It stands to reason that someone on the board knows someone at ZPD. Having Brandon suspended for over a week with pay and allowing it "to ride" was good for a time. So.....what changed? SOmeone knows something and they knew it was time to cut the cord.....just my prediction.

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