Monday, July 12, 2010

John Q. Porter, Broad Superintendents Academy Class of 2006

NOTE: John Q. Porter is omitted from the alumni pages of the Broad Superintendents Academy Web site.

As John Q. Porter was completing the 10-month long Broad Superintendents Academy training in November 2006, he was working as a deputy superintendent for Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland (MCPS). In April 2007, he was hired to be the superintendent for Oklahoma City Public Schools. As he arrived in July to begin his work, he was quoted as saying, "You are really running a business," and "There are things that can be taken from business to run the school system."

Just seven months later, Porter was suspended amid accusations of financial mismanagement and poor job performance. He resigned from his OCPS position in March. This scandal resulted in MCPS discovering that Porter had engaged in questionable spending and financial practices (esp. conflict of interest) while he had been working there.

Porter now works for the for-profit EMO Mosaica Education, Inc., an Atlanta-based company recently described as running “…a global empire like a corporate giant from chic offices in Lenox Towers, overseeing classrooms from Atlanta to Abu Dhabi.” He is Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Mosaica Turnaround Partners, “a new division that works with school districts across the country to improve underperforming schools.”


NEW CONCERN OVER EX-OFFICIAL'S SPENDING, March 11, 2008, The Washington Post

In 2006, while he was a deputy superintendent of Montgomery County schools, John Q. Porter spent $11,722 on travel, dining, gifts for co-workers and other items he submitted as business expenses, according to a review of his corporate American Express card for the calendar year.

That's almost twice as much as the $6,932 that his boss, Superintendent Jerry D. Weast, submitted in the fiscal year that ended in June…

A successful entrepreneur, Porter was hired in 2000 as chief information officer and rose to deputy superintendent. In a June 2006 interview with District Administration, a magazine for school administrators, Porter confessed a weakness for fine dining -- "I try to find the top 10 in new cities I travel to" -- and fine things: "I like expensive clothes, expensive cars. I collect pens. I collect Rolex watches."…

A review of receipts from Porter and his staff employees in Montgomery reveals some large travel and dining expenses, although few have been challenged by education leaders here.

On June 5, 2006, Porter dined with his second-in-command, Executive Director Sherwin Collette, at Ruth's Chris Steak House in Bethesda for $597.08. The receipt, filed by Collette, does not indicate how many people were at the table or what was served. On May 8, the two men dined at Le Boeuf Angus, a steakhouse in Montreal. The tab: $300.99. Both were listed as business meals…

School system leaders maintain that Porter's service was unblemished when he left Maryland last year as a newly minted superintendent. Some of his activities have now come into question, however, by some school board members and community activists.

Most notable is Porter's involvement in Spectrum International, the document management company he founded in 1993. Porter remained owner of Spectrum after coming to work for Montgomery schools. He is still listed as its sole agent in state corporate records. Lately, community activists, parents and a weekly newspaper columnist have pressed for an investigation of Spectrum.

School system leaders say Porter assured them that he properly divested from active duty in the company, whose customers included school systems, when he went to work for Montgomery. But Porter was listed as the contact for the company as late as 2004 in a directory of the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce. Porter said yesterday that his name remained in some directories long after he gave up an active role in the company.

"That was completely inappropriate," Edwards said when asked about the listing. "Had we known about that, we would have taken appropriate action."

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- An investigation into former Oklahoma City Superintendent John Q. Porter is not over, authorities confirmed.

The Oklahoma County District Attorney and police are looking into the 21 allegations against Porter. School board members called a special meeting on Wednesday and voted 6-1 to accept Porter's resignation.

The criminal investigation centers on allegations that Porter misused school district funds.

The board agreed to pay Porter more than $325,000. Officials said Porter will be paid more than $71,000 for his time through June 2008 as well as more than $255,000 from an Oklahoma City Public Schools foundation account…

* * * * * *


After just seven months under a new superintendent, the Oklahoma City schools have been tossed into turmoil as school board members weigh whether to fire John Q. Porter, whom they hired unanimously for the post last spring.

Mr. Porter, a former deputy superintendent in charge of technology for the Montgomery County, Md., schools, is facing allegations that include improper billing of the Oklahoma district for some expenses, as well as complaints that he treated some district employees brusquely…

But within the first month of his arrival, three high-level administrators who had come from Memphis, Tenn., to work with Mr. Porter had resigned, signaling to some people that trouble was already brewing…

One of the complaints, listed as the first allegation in Mr. McCampbell’s report, is that Mr. Porter failed to use an open-bidding process before recommending that the school board approve a $365,000 contract with Wireless Generation to provide electronic reading assessments across the district. The devices were already in use in 11 Oklahoma City schools that are part of the federal Reading First program. The board approved the contract Sept. 4…

* * * * * *


Montgomery County school officials, school board members and parent activists have been asking questions about John Q. Porter, a former deputy superintendent in Montgomery who is fighting for his job as superintendent in Oklahoma City.

Porter, 56, was suspended last week by the Oklahoma City school board. Board members there alleged a number of improprieties: that Porter arranged a $365,594 contract with a technology company without the customary competitive bid; that he had improperly sought reimbursement from the school system for personal, first-class airplane tickets to Washington; that he had been reimbursed for apparent alcohol purchases at pricey restaurants; and that he had asked employees to perform personal tasks at his home…

The questions begin with the company Porter came from when he joined the Montgomery school system as chief information officer in summer 2000.

Porter started a document management company, Spectrum International, in the county in 1993, according to state corporate records. Spectrum did work with several school systems, including Montgomery, in the 1990s, Porter said in a 2002 interview with The Gazette, a community newspaper.

It was through that relationship that Porter came to the county school system, Porter said, first as a consultant, then as chief information officer and, later, deputy superintendent.

The question now, with Porter under scrutiny, was whether he adequately divested himself from that company when he started his school system job…

Two other aspects of Porter's work in Montgomery also are being questioned as a result of the Oklahoma City investigation.

One is his relationship with a New York high-tech firm. Oklahoma City school board members alleged Porter last year arranged a contract with Wireless Generation that "was not, but should have been, open to competitive bidding." The contract provided diagnostic reading software to Oklahoma City schools.

Porter told the Oklahoman newspaper last week that the program was in the school system before he arrived. He and his attorney did not respond to interview requests from The Washington Post.

Porter had a relationship with Wireless Generation in Montgomery, where, in 2005, the school system and the company announced a partnership to develop software that allowed teachers to assess the reading skills of primary-grade students on hand-held computers. Montgomery schools paid some of the costs to develop the software and collected royalties when the product was sold elsewhere.

County Council member Marilyn Praisner (D-Eastern County), a former school board member, wrote two memos critical of the deal in 2005, focusing on the school system's failure to use a competitive bid…

* * * * * *


Becoming an educator was not among John Q. Porter's goals after graduating from Catholic University of America in 1973 and receiving a law degree from Ohio State University.

"My goal out of law school was to go into business," said Porter.

He joined a Washington, D.C., law firm and took a job with Control Data in Minneapolis.

Porter later founded and was president and CEO of Spectrum International, an information services provider based in Maryland.

While serving as chairman of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce in Maryland, Porter became acquainted with the local school system superintendent. Through that relationship, Porter's company was offered a contract to help the district develop a strategic plan and Porter became chief information officer for Montgomery County Public Schools, a district in Rockville, Md…

Porter plans to use his business experience to operate the school system.

"You are really running a business," he said. "There are things that can be taken from business to run the school system."

* * * * * *

As is the modus operandi of the “Broad Effect” (see description in left-hand bar), another Broad-trained leader was installed in the Oklahoma City public school district with John Q. Porter. This was John Scanlan (Class of 2007) who only stayed in OCPS for that one year, then headed north to join Jean-Claude Brizard in Rochester.


  1. Why does this behavior seem to be a pattern with graduates from the Educational Broad Institute students. Look at CMS's school district.

  2. When you investigate the background of Robert Bobb in Richmond Virginia where he was city administrator for nearly 20 years, you will find a criminal. Ask the former mayors of Richmond Virginia and former city council members. He even used public funds to support a private swim team that his son participated.