The principal of South Hagerstown High School was placed on paid administrative leave Wednesday, but the superintendent of Washington County Public Schools said he could not discuss details of the move.
Timothy Dawson was “placed on paid administrative leave today,” Superintendent Clayton Wilcox wrote in an e-mail response to an inquiry from The Herald-Mail. “Beyond confirming that he is on leave, I am not at liberty to discuss the matter further.”
“Sherry Hamilton, who is his designee, is serving as acting principal,” Wilcox wrote.
Hamilton is the assistant principal of Curriculum and Instruction at the school, according to its website.
School system spokesman Richard Wright referred to Education Article 6-202 of the Annotated Code for the State of Maryland when asked for what reasons, in general, a schools employee could be placed on administrative leave.
“On the recommendation of the county superintendent, a county board may suspend or dismiss a teacher, principal ... or other professional” for misconduct in office, insubordination, immorality, incompetence or willful neglect of duty, Article 6-202 states.
Under board policies on personnel separation, the Washington County Board of Education’s Web Documents page states, “The Superintendent of Schools shall recommend to the Board the dismissal, suspension, or separation of any certificated employee for cause in accordance with the provision as established” in Article 6-202.
A copy of any allegations has to be sent to the individual, who has 10 days to request a hearing, Article 6-202 states.
Dawson did not immediately return a phone call to a telephone number believed to be his.
A telephone message to Board President Justin Hartings was not returned.
Dawson was hired as principal at South High in the summer of 2011 at a salary of $126,000, the school system’s director of Human Resources and Professional Learning reported at the time.
Before coming to Washington County, Dawson was principal of Baltimore City College, a magnet high school in that city, The Herald-Mail reported at the time of his hiring. Dawson stepped down from that position in August 2010 but retained the title of principal, the Baltimore City Public School’s Human Capital Office reported at the time.
During the time between leaving Baltimore City College and being hired at South High, Dawson worked on his doctoral thesis, The Herald-Mail reported in 2011.
Dawson had been with the Baltimore City School system since 2005. Before that, he was a principal and assistant principal at middle and high schools for Miami-Dade County Public Schools in Florida.
With almost 1,300 students, South High is the largest high school in Washington County, just edging out North High, according to the school system website.