That's Nehnet Camalan, the former business manager for the now defunct voucher school Wisconsin College Prep Academy. Camalan was substitute teaching a math class; the photo was passed along to the Journal Sentinel by a former staff member.
Wisconsin College Prep announced in a letter on June 11 that it was closing its doors due to low enrollment and ongoing budgetary concerns.
Ali Yilmaz, the former executive director for the school, said in an interview Thursday that Camalan was terminated on May 30, but not because he was sleeping instead of teaching. He was let go because the school couldn't afford to pay his salary and benefits.
"According to him, he put his head down for one second and the student took a picture," Yilmaz explained.
It's been a tough road for the charter-turned-voucher school, which was located at 4801 S. 2nd St. near Mitchell International Airport.
Wisconsin College Prep was formerly known as the Wisconsin Career Academy. It was a sixth- through 12th-grade charter school under Milwaukee Public Schools, before the Milwaukee School Board terminated that contract.
The school then decided to apply to become a private high school and accept public funding through the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program. That was a financially questionable move considering that high school students are more expensive to educate than younger pupils, and that voucher payments amount to fewer public dollars per-pupil than charter school funding.
The school had about 165 students enrolled this year, Yilmaz said. He said about 32 seniors graduated and have been accepted to four-year colleges. He said there were "probably one or two" who did not have sufficient credits to graduate.
Yilmaz said enrollment has been difficult because of the school's far south-side location.
Former teachers say it was because of academic and other internal concerns, such as the fact that the school dropped Spanish this year and offered only Turkish as a foreign language. Yilmaz explained that the Spanish teacher quit and that the school couldn't find another teacher. He said Spanish was offered online instead.
The school had launched an aggressive marketing campaign last summer to try to attract students, and even offered to pay for transportation for pupils to get to the school.
But the numbers did not materialize.
In a confidential internal letter forwarded to the Journal Sentinel by a former staff member, Yilmaz told employees in May that the school could not sign contracts for the next year until enrollment numbers reached a certain number.
The letter advised that the matter was confidential, and that sharing information or "your assumptions about the school's future" with students, parents or other interested parties could result in immediate dismissal from work.
Yilmaz said Thursday that although the school was now closed, teachers would continue to be paid through the end of their contracts, which end in August.
Last year, the Journal Sentinel had questioned whether the school was linked to a reclusive Islamic cleric or otherwise had ties to Turkish schools nationwide that were highlighted in a 60 Minutes investigation.
Yilmaz denied the school was linked to that cleric, but he said Thursday that some of the school's materials were headed to Concept Schools, which are also headed by Turkish Americans and have faced similar scrutiny.
Concept Schools also rebuffs claims that they are "Turkish schools" or "Gulen Charter Schools."