KFDM Investigates: Kirbyville principal Dennis Reeves wrote about challenges he faced
For the first time and only on KFDM, we are learning about some of the challenges the late Kirbyville High School Principal Dennis Reeves faced only weeks before his apparent suicide.
We obtained exclusive information in the form of online messages in Reeves's own words regarding his challenges at the district.
Kirbyville Superintendent Tommy Wallis and assistant superintendent Georgia Sayers say they confronted Reeves about an alleged affair moments before police say Reeves took his own life.
However, the lawyer for the Reeves family believes there was a coordinated effort long before that meeting to get Reeves out of the district so certain employees could benefit.
The outcome of the May 6 school board election did appear to sit well with Reeves.
Two incumbents who he highly respected lost and Reeves expressed his disappointment in this Facebook message to a friend May 9, three days after the election:
Well I might be moving forward somewhere else. Things are so uneasy right now. We feel like we just lost our two biggest advocates. ...
Reeves goes on to post:
They have a political machine going strong, setting up an empire I guess.
We talked to multiple people close to Reeves who believe what he described as a political machine consisted of board president Chad George and several others on the school board.
On May 23, the day of Reeves' apparent suicide, Wallis did not call 911. He contacted Chad George, who called his father, Kirbyville Mayor Frank George, who then finally called Kirbyville Police Chief Paul Brister.
The lawyer for the Reeves family Chip Ferguson claims the group manufactured Reeves' firing by alleging the principal had an affair with his former secretary Marcia Morgan, an allegation both had denied more than a year ago.
Two weeks before his death, Reeves messaged this to a friend:
I love KHS, but I am extremely tired. I've had to deal with more than just the standard politics. It's just too much. I inherited a problem and it just won't go away.
I like Dr. Wallis so far. Haven't gotten to know him well yet so I'm still nervous of how things are going to play out.
Sources within the school district tell us what Reeves described as the "problem he inherited" is Dustin Rutherford. According to court filings, Rutherford did not get along with Reeves.
Ferguson says Rutherford, a district employee, wanted Reeves' job. Ferguson also claims Kirbyville High School Counselor Amy Fountain sought the principal's job and that she pushed Morgan to report the alleged affair to Wallis.
Rutherford has not returned our calls or texts.
Fountain told us, "No, I have no comment at this time. Please don't call me back."
Ferguson questions the motivations behind this.
Why would you do something to a man who by all accounts was a good man, well respected man loved by the students? Ferguson asks.
The lawyer for the Kirbyville school district, however, claims it's nothing more than a conspiracy theory.
I think there is a fictional story being spun that is not supported by the facts," she said.
But some of Reeves' final Facebook messages make reference to what he calls the political pressure he must have been feeling. Still, he seemed to put his students first.
One of his posts read:
I'm probably sitting tight right now. There aren't any good jobs available. KHS is such a great place. And I love Kirbyville but dang the politics is something else.