By Mike Kruzman & Jon King /

A Livingston County charter school and its founder are being sued by a former principal who says he was fired for intervening against illegal practices.

A lawsuit has been filed by James Reese against Light of the World Academy, in Pinckney, and its founder, Kathy Moorehouse. Reese says he was hired by educational consulting firm Global Psychological Services (GPS) in August of 2015 to be a 20-hour part-time principal at the Academy. He was working 40-hour weeks by the 2017-18 school year. Reese’s complaint states that in his time there, he was accountable for making sure the Academy operated in accordance with state and federal law. He claims that the Academy failed to meet minimum education standards since its inception as a public charter school in 2015, his first year there.

The Montessori school had been operating as a private school since 2002 inside of Shalom Lutheran Church in Pinckney when it made the switch to a public charter school, authorized by Grand Valley State University. The complaint accuses Moorehouse of violating state testing requirements with the “obvious intent to buoy test scores.” Reese claims she gave answers to students and provided re-testing to those who failed. His complaint states that the Academy and Moorehouse were unhappy about his intervening to end those practices. Reese also opposed their plan to interject religion into a spring graduation ceremony, but that the Academy and Moorehouse went along with it anyway. He claims for these reasons, the Academy and Moorehouse caused GPS to terminate his employment in June of 2018.

Reese is suing the defendants on two counts: Tortious Interference with a Contract, and Interference with a Business Relationship. He is asking for economic damages, including past and future lost wages and benefits, non-economic damages, and costs and attorney fees in whatever amount over $25,000 he is found to be entitled.

WHMI reached out to Moorehouse for comment, and received the following response; “James Reese, former principal of Light of the World Academy (the “Academy”), filed a lawsuit against the Academy after his employer, GPS Solutions, LLC (“GPS”), the educational management company for the Academy at that time, did not renew his contract. The Academy denies Mr. Reese’s allegations that it or anyone affiliated with the Academy interfered in any way with Mr. Reese’s employment at GPS. As this litigation is still pending, we have no further comment at this time.” Grand Valley State University, as the school’s authorizer, was also offered a chance to comment and declined.

A mediation hearing is scheduled for December 6th in Livingston County Circuit Court, with a jury trial currently scheduled to begin February 1st.