By Gordon Anderson |

The lead administrator at MINA Charter School in Sanford, Dr. Shawn Williams, has been suspended pending an investigation into unspecified “(human resources) and financial matters,” according to the attorney for the school’s board of directors.

Attorney Lisa Gordon Stella of Raleigh confirmed Tuesday in response to a request for information that Williams had been suspended with pay but cited personnel laws in declining to disclose the reason. She didn’t say when the suspension began or provide any other details, but other sources have confirmed it has now been a matter of weeks. The school had not made any prior announcement about the suspension.

“The school has no further comment at this time,” Stella said by email Tuesday.

The Rant has also requested other public documents including minutes and agendas from recent meetings, some of them reportedly called on an “emergency” basis. They have not yet been provided. The most recent minutes from meetings of MINA’s Board of Directors publicly available on the school’s website as of this writing are from February 2021, more than two years ago. Charter schools in North Carolina are public schools subject to the same records law as any other public body.

Reached for comment, Williams declined, citing the advice of his attorney.

Williams, a former chairman of the Lee County Board of Education, was instrumental in starting MINA as its first board president in 2019. He vacated that position when he became the school’s second lead administrator. Unlike the Lee County Board of Education, which oversees the county’s traditional public school, the members of MINA’s board are self selected rather than elected by the public. The school, one of three charters in Lee County, opened in 2020.

Further complicating matters, the school’s board appears to be dealing with some kind of internal strife. On May 15, three board members – Artheresa Best, Williams’ brother Robert Williams, and Shawn Williams’ wife Joyce – were removed from their positions at an emergency meeting, but reinstated two days later due to what Robert Williams told The Rant were “procedural issues” with the meeting. Robert Williams said he and the other temporarily removed board members have not been given any concrete reasons for their removals or for Shawn Williams’ suspension.

A Zoom meeting of the MINA Charter School Board of Directors is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday.