Accused McDowell High assistant principal had prior problems

Shosho

A letter from Charter Schools USA reveals its former principal Nick Shosho was accused of misusing funds at a school in Cary months before being employed by McDowell High School.

Shosho, now an assistant principal at MHS, is currently charged with two felony counts of larceny for allegedly taking money from McDowell High on two different occasions. He has been suspended without pay.

The letter dated June 15 is from Joel County, regional director for Charter Schools USA (CSUSA). It was sent to parents of students explaining why their principal, Shosho, chose to resign from Cardinal Charter Academy.

The letter in full reads:

“As policy CSUSA, does not release the reason for separation with any employee within the CSUSA network. In light of the confusion that has recently been created, CSUSA feels that it is in the best interest of the community of Cardinal Charter Academy to clarify the recent separation of Mr. Nick Shosho.

Mr. Shosho violated CSUSA policy by misuse of company funds and resources not for the benefit of the school. Mr. Shosho also failed to correct or report this issue that was within his direct control. Based upon these activities, a level of trust that is essential at a leadership level was eroded. After a conversation about these events, Mr. Shosho chose to resign.

We do not come to these decisions lightly and realize a strong leader is an essential component in a high performing school. We look forward to the continuing success of Cardinal Charter Academy.”

Colleen Reynolds, public relations counselor for CSUSA, said she could not comment on personnel information about Shosho, but did confirm his prior employment at Cardinal Charter Academy. She also said County was no longer the regional director.

On Monday, Oct. 30, the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office announced Shosho, 41, of 233 Cedar Drive in Nebo, was charged with two felony counts of larceny for allegedly taking money from McDowell High School on two different occasions. He was released from custody on a written promise to appear in court. He has a court date for Friday, Nov. 17.

Shosho was hired as assistant principal for the 2017-2018 school and was stationed in the Freshman Academy.

The sheriff’s office said the allegations came to light on Friday, Oct. 20 that money had gone missing from MHS. The missing funds, totaling $564, had been collected from students for a field trip and school dance. The bookkeeper was expecting the funds and never received them, sparking the investigation, deputies said.

Days after Shosho’s arrest, The McDowell News began to field calls and emails from parents in Wake County who asked to remain anonymous. The parents were abuzz after the news of Shosho’s arrest in McDowell, saying this is just one of several incidents involving money in the past.

According to parents, Shosho was escorted off the Cardinal Charter Academy property after choosing to resign in June.

“There were so many parents that liked him so much. When they forced him to resign and walked him out of the school, it was a shock. It was very unsettling to our school,” a Cardinal Charter Academy parent said by phone. “One of his assistants even walked out with him that same day because she felt it could not be true.”

After Shosho’s departure, parents said they heard speculation that money was missing from the school’s parent-teacher organization, but no charges were ever filed.

“I do not wish bad things on him, he is a nice person and he wins everybody over, but it seems like an ongoing problem,” the parent said.

Another parent from Hopewell Academy in the same area where Shosho was employed before working at Cardinal Charter Academy said there was a similar problem with missing money at that school prior to his departure.

McDowell County Schools Superintendent Mark Garrett said no red flags showed up on Shosho at the time of his hire. A background check of Shosho shows he pleaded guilty in 2007 and 2008 to four counts of writing a simple worthless check in Wake County.

“We take it seriously to get the right people and know who we are getting, but at the end of the day, some people just make bad decisions,” said Garrett. “Running a clean system is my commitment until I leave this chair.”

Garrett added he is proud of the steps taken to ensure the missing money situation was dealt with as quickly as possible.

“We are happy it was discovered,” he said.

On this suspension without pay, Shosho has 14 days to appeal the decision to the board. Termination proceedings are public record, and if no hearing is held, it will be announced at the December school board meeting.

Shosho did not return a request from The McDowell News for comment.

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