JACKSON, MS (WLBT) – An Atlanta newspaper article about the termination of two principals who sold their books to the school district included Jackson's current superintendent, who is also an author.
Wednesday afternoon Dr. Lonnie Edwards held a news conference at district headquarters to address any appearance of wrongdoing.
Just days after marking his two years at the helm of Jackson Public Schools, Superintendent Edwards made a presentation to his staff and the media that he hoped would shed light on the Georgia educator book sale controversy.
It included his 1996 appearance on the Sally Jessy Raphael Show where he was featured as an educator who helped disabled student Nancy Johnson Miller come out of her shell.
Miller was born without fingers said she was coaxed by Edwards her fifth grade P.E. teacher to ignore her condition and interact with other students.
That national appearance led to his writing the book A Teacher's Touch: Reaching Beyond Boundaries.
He describes it as an inspirational and motivational book for teachers.
Thirteen years later the two principals, Dr. Yvonne Sanders-Butler and Dr. Annette S. Roberts were investigated and fired for using school funds to purchase their books.
The two women are sisters and Pickens, Mississippi natives who worked for Edwards in the DeKalb County School System.
Two other principals, who also sold their books, were demoted and had their salaries cut.
"So they said selling books. We're not the only author that has been through DeKalb county. Lonnie Edwards sold books and whenever they said Lonnie Edwards sold books, it became an issue," Edwards stated.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution article claimed Edwards sold more than 12,000 copies.
He said district librarians purchased 130 copies to put in all DeKalb county school libraries, but he maintains they were bought by groups and individuals and not the school system.
"I've made every effort to be transparent with you and to let you know. Am I involved with any unscrupulous activity with book selling or forcing anybody to buy my book because of my role as superintendent? No," added the J.P.S. Superintendent.
The report claims that three Georgia educators earned almost $100,000.00 in book sales to district schools.
In 1997 the district praised his work and appearances in various national publications.
Edwards was assistant superintendent when he left in 2004 and said he has no connection with and no comment on the recent firings.
The educator and author said he's not aware of his book being in any of the Jackson Public School libraries.
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