Kitts suddenly and swiftly was removed from Rising Leaders with little explanation in February.

PANAMA CITY — Former Rising Leaders Academy Principal Tim Kitts filed a lawsuit against the charter school Monday claiming breach of contract after he was fired from his position.

Kitts suddenly and swiftly was removed from Rising Leaders with little explanation in February, less than a year after he took the position as principal.

On Feb. 6, Kitts said he met with Rising Leaders Board of Directors members Osama Albibi, Sarah Woods and an attorney to terminate his employment. A letter sent to Kitts by founder and President Suha Jaber followed, stated simply that they were no longer in need of his services and dating his termination on Feb. 7.

In the court documents, Kitts claims his dismissal violated the three-year contract he had signed with the academy, and that he was terminated without cause or under “any other circumstance provided in the Employment Agreement.”

The attached “Employment Agreement” contains several circumstances that would lead to Kitts’ termination if his actions endangered the school’s charter agreement with the district. There is also an item stating Kitts could be terminated immediately upon written notice for “any act of fraud or material misconduct by Tim Kitts.” The lawsuit alleges that Kitts’ firing did not fall under any of those requirements and, therefore, was illegal.

The attached “Employment Agreement” or contract, dated July 17, 2017, shows Kitts was hired for a three-year period at a salary of $9,000 per month, or $108,000 a year, with at least a 3 percent increase every year should he meet the goals set by the school. The agreement also contained a clause that, should the contract be terminated before the three-year expiration, Kitts would be reimbursed for any loans, cash advances or other payments made by Kitts either on account of the school or to the school itself.

Kitts is demanding relief for the lost wages and benefits he would have earned, along with his attorney fees. The amount is not named, but the documents say the damages would exceed $15,000.

Kitts is being represented by Attorney Shania Thorpe of Thorpe & Thorpe out of Tampa.

Kitts helped found the first charter school in Bay County, Bay Haven Charter Academy served as the CEO before resigning in March 2016 amid allegations of discrimination and harassment. A records request by The News Herald at the time produced an agreement between Kitts, the board and two North Bay Haven administrators that would see the two administrators drop harassment and discrimination complaints against Kitts if he left the academy. Kitts resigned shortly after the agreement was drafted.

Rising Leaders is a small charter academy located in the former Margaret K. Lewis School building on Lincoln Avenue. It has an “A” school grade.

Rising Leaders has not yet filed their response in court.