Monday, March 21, 2011

Kimberly Olson, Broad Superintendents Academy Class of 2005

Kimberly D. Olson, Colonel, USAF (retired), is currently the Executive Director of Grace After Fire, an online social support network for women veterans. She does not work in the field of public education.

NEV. SCHOOL FINALIST FACED AIR FORCE CHARGES; April 23, 2009; Reno Gazette-Journal article re-published in Air Force Times 
Washoe County School District officials said Wednesday that a former Air Force officer who pleaded guilty and was reprimanded on charges related to a war profiteering case in Iraq remains a candidate to become superintendent of the district.

Kimberly D. Olson, human development officer at the Dallas Independent School District since 2007, is among four finalists for the Washoe job.

While a colonel in Iraq in 2003, Olson was accused by Pentagon investigators of establishing a U.S. branch of a South African security firm and helping it win more than $3 million in contracts. The firm provided protection for senior American and British officials and private war contractors including subsidiaries of Halliburton Co.

According to Air Force documents, Olson denied abusing her position and avoided a court-marshal by pleading guilty to conduct unbecoming an officer and failure to obey an order or regulation. She was reprimanded and resigned from the service with an honorable discharge and no reduction in rank. She also was banned from receiving further government contracts for three years.

Olson could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

School board President Barbara Clark said the board learned about her guilty plea weeks ago. Clark said Jim Huge, president of the company paid $29,000 for the job search, told board members he had interviewed Olson’s former commanding officer and Olson “had stepped forward to take the blame” for things that happened on her watch…*

When questioned about her guilty plea by someone in the audience at a Reno public meeting Tuesday night, Olson said: “I’m accountable for what I did and it’s all out there for the public to see.”

Olson is the second of the four superintendent finalists discovered to be the subject of controversy.

Hector Montenegro, an education consultant the Dallas suburb of Arlington, resigned as superintendent there after less than six months after questions arose over his acceptance of honorariums from nonprofit groups that do business with the district.

The other finalists are:

• Lawrence W. Fryer, Jr., chief operating officer of the Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland and formerly a senior managing consultant for IBM Global Business Services.

• Edmond T. Heatley, superintendent of the Chino Valley Unified School District in Chino, Calif.

Clark said the board will narrow the field to one or two after discussing the interviews conducted this week.

[NOTE: Fryer and Heatley are Broad Superintendents Academy graduates]

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…The board is being assisted in the selection process by Bay Area executive search consultant Jim Huge.*

Malone and the other finalists are scheduled to visit Reno next week for interviews.

The other finalists are Prince George's County Public Schools CEO Lawrence W. Fryer Jr., Chino Valley Unified School District Superintendent Edmond T. Heatley, Oakland Unified School District State Administrator/Superintendent Vincent Matthews, education consultant Hector Montenegro, who is from Arlington, Texas and Kimberly D. Olson, who is the chief development officer for Dallas Independent School District….

[NOTE: Fryer, Heatley, and Matthews are Broad Superintendents Academy graduates]

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When Jay Garner arrived as the first U.S. administrator in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, he chose a highly decorated Air Force colonel named Kimberly D. Olson as his right arm because he considered her among the best America had to offer.

One of the first female pilots in the Air Force, she was a hard-charger with an unblemished reputation for honesty, a high profile in the Pentagon and a commitment to the U.S. goal of creating a democracy in the Middle East.

Today, Olson is at the center of accusations of audacious impropriety in the corruption-plagued reconstruction of Iraq.

She is accused of profiting from the post-invasion chaos by using her position to benefit a private security firm that she helped operate, according to interviews and government documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Pentagon investigators allege that while on active duty as one of the most powerful figures in Iraq, Olson established a U.S. branch of a South African security firm after helping it win more than $3 million in contracts to provide protection for senior U.S. and British officials, as well as for KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton Co.

Olson, 48, has spent more than a year fighting the charges. In military proceedings last year, she denied abusing her position to enrich herself or the security company, but agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges. She was reprimanded and allowed to resign from the Air Force with an honorable discharge and no reduction in rank. Olson was also banned from receiving further government contracts for three years. She is appealing the ban…

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Memorandum in support of the proposed debarments of Kimberly D. Olson, et al. October 24, 2005, issued by the Department of the Air Force, Office of Deputy General Council excerpt:
1. The conduct of MTS-USA and Olson is of so serious and compelling a nature that it affects their present responsibility to be Government contractors or subcontractors and provides a separate basis for their debarments, pursuant to FAR 9.406-2(c)…

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* IMPORTANT NOTE: Jim Huge operates a firm hired by school districts for conducting superintendent searches (Jim Huge & Associates). Huge and representatives of similar firms (Carl Davis of Ray & Associates, and Jerry Chapman of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates) have been presenters at training sessions of Broad Superintendents Academy participants.

Chris Cerf, Broad Superintendents Academy Class of 2004

In February 2007, Christopher Cerf was a newly hired deputy chancellor in the New York City school system when he was asked at a public forum to describe his financial interest in Edison Schools Inc., a for-profit education company he once headed.

"I’d be delighted to do that," Cerf replied, according to a published account of the meeting. "I have no financial interest in Edison of any kind. Zero."

Asked by the president of a parents group when he had relinquished the shares, Cerf said he would be "delighted" to provide his financial disclosure form.

Then he clammed up.

What Cerf declined to volunteer is that he had given up the shares just the day before.

In fact, Cerf was under no obligation to rescind his stake in Edison. But his unwillingness to fully answer the question that day would lead to unflattering headlines, public criticism and an investigation by the school system’s Special Commissioner of Investigation.

Four years later, the man who represents perhaps the most important nomination of Gov. Chris Christie’s tenure is again facing questions about his openness, imperiling his confirmation as education commissioner at a time when the governor has made education reform one of his top priorities…

Separately, state Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Essex) says Cerf lied to him in a conversation, contending the acting commissioner denied having close ties to Newark Mayor Cory Booker, with whom Rice does not get along. Cerf has long had an interest in the Newark schools and has been described as an informal adviser to Booker on education issues.

In a series of telephone interviews and in dozens of e-mails to Star-Ledger reporters and editors, Cerf said he has done nothing inappropriate, bristling at the suggestion he would ever leverage public office for private gain. He also denied misleading Rice, saying the two have had several "open and candid conversations about a range of issues."…

Asked about Booker, Cerf declined to characterize his relationship with the mayor.

Christie has accused Rice of playing politics with the nomination, and a spokesman for the governor said Christie stands firmly behind his pick…

[Cerf]…studied history at Amherst College, graduating near the top of his class, before landing his first and only teaching job at the prestigious Cincinnati Country Day School, a private prep school in Ohio…

After four years in Cincinnati, Cerf left teaching for Columbia Law School…

…In 1997, he took the job of general counsel for Edison Schools, which had been founded five years earlier with the guiding principle that a private, for-profit company could better educate students — and do it more cheaply — than public schools. By 2001, Cerf was the company’s president.

Under Cerf’s tenure, Edison grew into the largest private-sector manager of public schools, educating some 77,000 students in 150 schools around the country. But its legacy has been decidedly mixed.

Some studies showed stronger achievement gains among Edison-educated students. Others did not. In 2007, a Rand Corp. study that examined Edison’s control of 20 schools in Philadelphia found "no statistically significant effects," positive or negative, in reading or math in the four years after Edison stepped in.

One by one, districts canceled their contracts with the company, which lost tens of millions of dollars. Its stock price, a record-high $36.75 in 2001, later fell to pennies per share.

Three years ago, Edison changed its name to EdisonLearning. Today, it manages 17 district schools and 42 charter schools across the country. It makes much of its income through tutoring services and educational software…

Cerf left the company in 2005, forming a consulting firm he called the Public Private Strategy Group. In short order, he was hired as a full-time adviser to Joel Klein, chancellor of the New York City school system and Cerf’s former law colleague in Washington…

Cerf moved to give principals more autonomy over their schools, pushed for a teacher evaluation system that took student test scores into account, shuttered 100 failing schools and opened dozens of new charter schools…

Cerf had a less cordial relationship with Tim Johnson, a former chairman of the Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Council, a volunteer group that serves as an umbrella organization for parent associations in the city’s roughly 1,500 public schools.

In February 2007, it was Johnson who challenged Cerf about his ownership of Edison stock.

Despite his stance, the department’s investigative arm, the Special Commisioner of Investigation, opened a probe into the matter. It found that when Cerf gave up his shares in Edison via e-mail, he asked that in return, a charitable contribution of $60,000 be made to the Darrow Foundation, a nonprofit group that runs a wilderness camp for disadvantaged children. Cerf serves on Darrow’s board.

After he was interviewed by the investigator, Richard Condon, Cerf rescinded the donation request, which had not yet been filled, according to Condon’s report…

Cerf left his city post in 2009 to help run Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s re-election campaign, which was seen as a referendum on his restructuring of the school system.

Soon after, he took a position as president and chief executive officer of Sangari Global Education, a private, Brazil-based company that sells science curricula to school districts, mainly overseas.

It was in May of last year, while still president of Sangari, that Cerf and a partner, Rajeev Bajaj, formed Global Education Advisors, the consulting company based at Cerf’s home address in Montclair. Bajaj, whom Cerf met in the New York City schools, also is a Sangari executive.

Booker, using a $500,000 grant solicited from a California foundation, hired the consulting firm to perform a comprehensive assessment of the Newark district’s enrollment figures, test scores and facilities.

The firm also issued a set of recommendations to close some failing schools and, in their place, open 11 charter schools and five new district schools — a proposal that has caused an uproar among parents. Cerf, as education commissioner, would have final say over the proposal in the state-run district…
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A controversial consultant’s report recommending that some of Newark’s worst public schools be replaced with charter schools was funded by a $500,000 grant from a California educational foundation at the behest of Mayor Cory Booker.

The revelation came in an interview with officials at the foundation late Wednesday. It followed two days in which the mayor declined to provide details about the report: who funded it or the amount spent on it.

Contacted by the Star-Ledger, the spokeswoman for the Broad Foundation in Los Angeles readily acknowledged it put up the money that was used to retain Global Education Advisors to conduct an audit of the city’s schools. The spokeswoman said she wondered why the grant was kept secret.

The consulting firm, incorporated by Christopher D. Cerf before he was named the state’s acting education commissioner, has itself become the focus of growing questions over its ties to the commissioner and the mysterious way it was selected…

State campaign finance records also show Cerf gave a $1,000 contribution to the re-election campaign of Booker just a month before Global Education Advisors was incorporated by Cerf.

Cerf says his motives have been mischaracterized…

At issue are concerns some have raised over whether Cerf would be conflicted as commissioner by his connections to a firm whose recommendations he may have helped draft or inspire. If implemented, the proposals call for closing or consolidating several Newark schools whose students continue to fail year after year, replacing them with charter schools and some new district schools throughout the city. Critics say because of the ties, Cerf could end up being on both ends of the reform process in Newark: The company founded by Cerf the reformer makes proposals that are then approved by Cerf the commissioner…

However, Cerf’s public explanations varied from earlier statements just a day earlier, when he said he had done little more than lend his address for the incorporation papers…

"Everything was kept in secret," [Advisory Board Vice Chairwoman Barbara King] complained. "We never knew about these schools that would close. If we had known, we could have involved the community. No one wants to learn things after the fact."

When they met in November, King said the consultants told the board members they were doing no more than gathering diagnostic data about the school district…

The mayor confirmed that the grant money came from Broad but declined to say who was in charge of contracting the consulting firm, though he said it was not him. However, the Broad Foundation said the money was channeled to the Foundation for Newark’s Future, the nonprofit created to raise $100 million to match Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerbeg’s gift to the city…

[Spokeswoman Erica Lepping] said Global Education Advisors had been selected by the Foundation for Newark’s Future, but could not say on what grounds the consultants were selected.

The Broad Foundation funded similar audits of other urban school systems, she said, most recently in Washington, D.C., and Detroit.

Lepping noted as well that the audit was not intended to make recommendations, just assert facts.
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Read more at NYC Public School Parents, “Chris Cerf: there you go again” (March 13, 2011)

Nathan Levenson, Broad Superintendents Academy Class of 2004

Two former employees of Arlington's middle school filed a $7 million lawsuit in federal court Monday alleging that school officials wrongfully terminated them based on suspicions they were having an affair.

In a 45-page civil complaint filed in US District Court, one-time Ottoson Middle School principal Stavroula Bouris and Charles E. Coughlin, a technology teacher, allege their civil rights were violated when they were fired in 2007 by then-Superintendent Nathan Levenson.

They say talk of an affair was untrue, a story drummed up in retaliation after Levenson made two failed attempts to oust Bouris months earlier…

The ongoing disputes dates to late January 2007, when Levenson informed Bouris her contract would not likely be renewed. A few weeks later, the suit says, Levenson then tried to unsuccessfully to “coerce” a resignation from Bouris, suggesting that she might be the subject of an untrue story about fondling a child if she did not agree to step down.

When she declined, Levenson announced that Bouris’ contract would not be renewed in March 2007, provoking strong public backlash. Bouris’ contract was renewed shortly thereafter.

According to the complaint, Levenson, acting on gossip overheard by Tracy Buck, a school technology department manager, monitored e-mails between the pair beginning in March 2007.

Levenson, and possibly Buck and others, then hacked into Bouris’ private e-mail account. In early June, Levenson ordered attorney Alan Miller of Stoneham, Chandler & Miller LLP to begin investigating Bouris and Coughlin to see if there was enough evidence to fire them for “inappropriate conduct,” the complaint alleges.

Levenson, who abruptly stepped down from his post in August 2008 amid Coughlin’s arbitration, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

He now runs District and Community Partners, a Boston-based education consulting firm…

Matthew Malone, Broad Superintendents Academy Class of 2003

BROCKTON — Superintendent of Schools Matthew Malone is getting situated in his new job, but is still dealing with unfinished business from his last job in Swampscott.

He is a defendant in a lawsuit scheduled for trial next Tuesday in Essex County Superior Court.

The suit was filed in 2007 by a former Swampscott assistant superintendent who alleges breach of contract. He was terminated in April of that year, according to a published report…
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Swampscott Superintendent of Schools Dr. Matthew H. Malone says it doesn’t matter whether there’s a vote of the teachers’ union to express “no confidence” in his leadership of not.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Malone said flatly Tuesday morning, fewer than 24 hours after the Swampscott Education Association sent a statement from union president Paul Maguire to local media…

Reacting to the statement, noting a 138-6 vote by union members to express "no confidence" in the superintendent, Malone says he’s not cutting off communication at all…

Friday, March 18, 2011

Broad Superintendents Academy Class of 2011



  • Avossa, Robert
  • Barbic, Chris
  • Brown, Mark
  • MacCormack, Penny
  • Miles, Mike
  • Oats, Mike
  • Peppler, Judy
  • Richardson, Rick

  • TBD


Avossa, Robert

Chief Strategy and Accountability Officer
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, North Carolina
Barbic, Chris

Chief Executive Officer
YES Prep Schools
, Texas
Brown, Mark

Comptroller and Chief Financial Officer, Air Force Mobility Command
U.S. Air Force
Brigadier General (s)
MacCormack, Penny
Chief Academic Officer
Hartford Public Schools
, Connecticut

Miles, Mike

Harrison School District
, Colorado (Colorado Springs)
Oats, Mike

Director, Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization
U.S. Army
Lieutenant General
Peppler, Judy

Qwest Communications, Oregon [telecommunications industry]
Richardson, Rick

Chief, Plans Division, U.S. European Command Plans and Operations Center
U.S. Army

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Maria Goodloe-Johnson, Broad Superintendents Academy Class of 2003

Maria Goodloe-Johnson’s presence has been removed from the “Featured Alumni” section of the Broad Foundation’s website. For the time being, you can see the page HERE

The blog Seattle Education 2010 tracked Goodloe-Johnson's tenure and the associated controversies in detail.

The blog Schools Matter posted the scandal about Broad Resident Brad Bernatek, Goodloe-Johnson’s Director of Research, Evaluation and Assessment for Seattle Public Schools, in “Broad Alum Busted in Seattle Public School Scandal for Lying to Advance Corporate Ed Reform.” (November 23, 2010) 


The Seattle school board voted unanimously Wednesday to fire Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson over a $1.8 million financial scandal involving a district business development program…

Since the board voted to fire Goodloe-Johnson without cause, she is entitled under her contract to severance pay of $264,000, a sum equal to one-year's salary.

Also shown the door Wednesday was Don Kennedy, the district's Chief Financial and Operations Officer. Like Goodloe-Johnson, Kennedy, who came from South Carolina, was fired without cause, meaning he must be paid a severance of $87,000 -- half of his annual salary -- under the terms of his contract.

School board members described the decision as a difficult one, yet necessary to restore the public and the board's trust in the school system and to change a management culture that bred an "atmosphere of fear and intimidation." Board members said it was important to act decisively and to refocus on the mission of serving children.

"What has occurred -- the financial scandal, the cronyism, the obvious lack of transparency -- is an insult to the taxpayers of Seattle. You pay your property taxes, you obey the rules. Others should do the same," board vice president Michael DeBell said…

Last week, the state Auditor's Office released a report saying Seattle Public Schools' small business development program had spent about $1.5 million for services with a "questionable public purpose" and $280,000 for services that were never provided…

The Seattle Times Editorial Board says it is time for the superintendent of the Seattle Public Schools, Maria Goodloe-Johnson, to go.

THE emerging details of the financial scandal at the Seattle Public Schools suggest one conclusion: Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson should resign. If she doesn't, the board should fire her.

She was brought here from South Carolina in 2007 to fix several problems, the first of which was the district's lax control of its money. The latest mess shows the task has not been done.

The gist of the story is that several years ago the district was having trouble getting enough bids on its smaller construction jobs. It set up a program using capital funds to qualify minority- and women-owned contractors to bid. To run the program, the district hired Silas Potter Jr…

Potter's operation, the Regional Small Business Development Program, was run openly. According to the investigator, other district employees were appalled by it; they considered Potter "a con man" who was protected by his boss.
Goodloe-Johnson was higher up the chain and should have stopped it. It took a report from state Auditor Brian Sonntag and effort by the School Board to stop it…

Time for new leadership.

Seattle Public Schools teachers approved a new three-year contract Thursday, clearing the way for school to start on time Wednesday and ending rancorous negotiations over the use of test scores in evaluating how well teachers do their jobs.

Seattle's public-school teachers approved a new contract Thursday, clearing the way for school to start on time Wednesday and ending rancorous negotiations over the use of test scores in evaluating how well teachers do their jobs.

Within minutes of that vote, nearly all the teachers and other Seattle School District employees at the meeting approved a no-confidence vote in Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson — a symbolic move that reflects deep dissatisfaction with the superintendent's style and agenda.

In a flier handed out before the meeting, the union listed eight complaints — everything from budget cuts she's recommended, to the addition of new tests for students, to a state audit that found a number of problems with the district's control over its finances.

The vote was another sign that Goodloe-Johnson hasn't developed strong support among teachers in her three years on the job.

"We feel like we're engaged in a battle for our students and against our superintendent," said Aimee Hall, who teaches math at Orca K-8, an alternative school…

LaVonne Sheffield, Broad Superintendents Academy Class of 2002

ROCKFORD, IL (wnij) - Rockford's school superintendent is resigning. LaVonne Sheffield announced Thursday she will be out by the end of the month. So change is afoot in the Rockford School District. On Tuesday, voters chose newcomers over incumbents in School Board races. And now, the woman in charge of the district is saying goodbye two years before her contract ends. In an emailed message to the community, Superintendent LaVonne Sheffield said she was hired as a "change agent" for the district: now she feels the district is no longer "moving forward." She says some of the biggest challenges ahead for Rockford Schools include racial imbalances in achievement and discipline, as well as all-over financial uncertainty.

Sheffield has been criticized for her leadership style, especially during the recent round of school closings and program cuts. The head of the Rockford teacher's union, Molly Phalen, calls Sheffield's upcoming departure "a positive development" that offers the "opportunity to build a better school district."…
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Rockford Public School District 205 Superintendent Dr. LaVonne M. Sheffield was served with a defamation lawsuit Thursday morning, April 7.

The suit was filed in Winnebago County Circuit Court by Attorney Dan McGrail on behalf of education researcher Noel Hammatt.

While Hammatt was in Rockford speaking to District 205 parents in February, the lawsuit alleges Sheffield publicly accused him of being racially biased toward minority students.

According to the suit, Sheffield falsely stated that Mr. Hammatt, “distorts data and he believes minority students aren’t as bright, that they can’t learn, and that efforts to teach those children, quote,  ‘those children’, and close the achievement gap are essentially a waste of time.”

The complaint alleges that Sheffield recklessly disregarded the truth and placed Hammatt in a false light…
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…The audience roared with applause as Morrissey questioned the process the board has taken to usher-in Superintendent Dr. LaVonne Sheffield’s $45 million cost-slashing plan.

“I’ve received many phone calls, e-mails and personal visits from concerned parents like my wife and I and Rockford taxpayers,” Morrissey said. “I’m here tonight to help give them voice and help echo their questions: ‘Why these schools and why not involve our community?’”

Morrissey cited steps the City of Rockford has taken in the last two years in implementing community campaigns while it mapped the 2010 and 2011 spending plans. A similar system of public input while district officials close at least six schools and make deep program and staff cuts, Morrissey said, has been void.

“Here’s my problem tonight,” the mayor continued. “Does anyone really understand the criteria for the building closings and program cuts? What are the criteria, who set the criteria and why wasn’t our community invited to help set the criteria?”…
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After the school board delayed its vote surrounding $45 million in budget cuts at the Tuesday, Feb. 22 meeting of the Rockford Board of Education, Superintendent Dr. LaVonne M. Sheffield used time for her Superintendent’s Report to spar with a watchdog group official.

During public comment, Watchdogs for Ethics in Education (WEE) official Jane Hayes addressed the board, charging district officials with keeping the community in the dark during its decision-making process regarding the budget…

Hayes cited Noel Hammatt, keynote speaker at Monday’s “Rally to Save our Public Schools,” saying communities do not prosper because of the prosperity of a particular group. When schools fail, she said, it’s not the fault of teachers–but administrators who pit one group against the other.

As if she was prepared to square-off with Hayes, Sheffield fired back, accusing WEE members of manufacturing information regarding her past relationship with Noel Hammatt.

Sheffield also accused Hammatt of distorting data and holding the belief that minority students are not teachable, and attempting to educate them is a waste of time…

“She accused me of saying minority students–black students–couldn’t learn,” Hammatt said of the exchange. “I told her, ‘That’s not what I said.’ I noted that there are differences in how students learn because of socio-economic and several other factors. But, she immediately pulled the race card.”…
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The Broad Report makes it on YouTube!


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Rockford Charter Schools Initiative made a hard push two years ago to bring charter schools to town as an alternative to the traditional public school model.*

The group has found success: Two elementary charter schools opened here last fall and there is evidence students are making academic gains.

Supporters say their work isn’t finished. More charter school proposals may come in 2011, said Laurie Preece, the volunteer leader of Rockford Charter Schools Initiative…

For now, though, Rockford Charter School Initiative’s goal “is still to support charter schools and their network with a goal of expanding education options in Rockford,” Preece said…

*In August 2010, Superintendent LaVonne Sheffield formed a budget committee to work on balancing the 2012 budget. It consisted of members of Sheffield’s cabinet plus eight community members, four of which are on the steering committee for the Rockford Charter School Initiative (RCSI). No elected board members were included on the committee. Concerns have been raised about Open Meetings Act violations. Read here, here, and here.
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…Sheffield continues to be dogged by questions about a 2002 investigation into the misuse of school district money while working as a Detroit school administrator, [Paul] Vallas holds Sheffield in high regard and considers her among the top educators in the nation…

The board will meet Tuesday with the search firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates to decide its next step. An announcement about the candidates could be made next week, but the board won’t introduce the candidates in a public meeting until the week of March 1 at the earliest…*

Vallas has helped behind the scenes to shape the School Board’s search for a new superintendent…

While she served as chief academic officer for Detroit Public Schools in 2002 and 2003, Sheffield became embroiled in an investigation into whether she billed the school system for personal items.

Sheffield repaid the district $5,861 in expenses for which she did not have receipts, after media requested debit card bills and receipts from the School District, according to a December 2002 story in The Detroit News.

But Sheffield denied the charges — for a $1,200 donation to the Detroit Institute of Arts Founders Society, $846 for a Skymall catalog purchase, $278 to Mario’s Restaurant and $344 for flowers bought for staff — were personal purchases…

When Vallas hired Sheffield in Philadelphia, questions continued to swirl about her involvement in the financial controversy…

Vallas told the Inquirer that an investigation of the incident by Detroit school officials cleared Sheffield of any wrongdoing…

*Jerry Chapman, a Senior Associate at Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, has been a guest speaker at Broad Superintendents Academy training sessions. 
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When Dr. Lavonne Sheffield assumed her superintendent post this year, the biggest news surrounding her arrival swirled around whether her certification would come through by the time the school year began…

Fast-forward to the halfway point of the 2009-2010 school year. Many things have changed. Sheffield’s presence is known. Teachers certainly know she’s here. District employees have been personally made aware of that and that she’s in charge. She’s demanded teachers cease and desist voicing their concerns regarding their livelihoods.

Sheffield also ambushed veteran Rockford educator Molly Phalen, president of the Rockford Education Association, in a letter she released to the media instructing Phalen to stop talking to reporters about events–violence–that has recently occurred in at least three Rockford schools.

In the letter, which Phalen was oblivious to until it was distributed to media, Sheffield stated no gang activity, riots or unsafe conditions were being experienced in our schools, in particular East High, where a recent series of chaos resulted student arrests…

According to Mark Bonne, chief communications officer for District 205, the incident at East High School was a figment of the collective imagination of the community.

It is quite obvious, at this point, who is giving District 205 marching orders and why Bonne is suddenly tight-lipped, calling certain allegations about school violence “anonymous” and not worthy of discussion. The stifle obviously comes from the top  of the 205 chain of command…

It’s time to call Dr. Sheffield to the carpet. Her credibility is nothing short of destroyed. The school board made a monumental mistake with the hire. It’s time to bring in a leader who will at least acknowledge the problem, something Sheffield has chosen to conceal, especially when given the opportunity to shine. She blew it and brought other district employees with her down the trail.
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FOLLOW THE EVOLVING STORY at Stakeholders United for Education Excellence and on the Facebook page, “Wanting a Resignation of LaVonne Sheffield.”


Monday, March 14, 2011

John Deasy, Broad Superintendents Academy Class of 2006

The troubled school district of Prince George's County (Md.) thought it was finally going to get a long-term superintendent when they hired John Deasy (BSA 2006) in May 2006, but by September 2008 he was being investigated for having improperly received his doctorate. Deasy resigned three weeks later and went to work for the Gates Foundation.

Deasy conveniently landed in LAUSD in June 2010 after his term at the GF. Questions about his PhD and inconsistencies in his resume still linger. But that proved to be no problem, because in January 2011, Deasy was promoted to superintendent of LAUSD, "without so much as a job interview." (6-0, one abstention).

The abstaining board member said:
"We didn't have a process -- internal or external -- for the most important job in public education in the United States right now," he tells the Weekly. "It has nothing to do with John Deasy. I'm a big fan. ... But I can't be sure that I got the best person for the job if I didn't get to even talk to anybody else."

Zimmer says that in 2008, when Superintendent Cortinas selected Deasy to be his deputy, he and the board "never, ever" got the impression that "Deasy would be superintendent-in-waiting."

However, that's exactly what went down yesterday. An inside source told the Weekly on Monday that Mayor Villaraigosa was "making all the moves behind the scenes to make [Deasy's promotion] happen."...
  Think things are pre-arranged behind the scenes by the plutocrats? You betcha.

Back to Maryland...

As is the modus operandi in so many cases, the Prince George's County Public School district was targeted and then infiltrated by a Broad team all those years ago. Deasy's replacement was William R. Hite Jr. (BSA 2006) who appointed Bonita Coleman-Potter (BSA 2008) as his deputy superintendent.


For the fifth time in ten years, Prince George's County schools face a change in leadership at the top.
Superintendent John Deasy officially announced Tuesday that he will be leaving in February to take a job as the deputy director of education division of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a position for which he says he was recruited…

Deasy replaced former schools CEO Andrew Hornsby, who resigned after he was indicted on corruption charges. Hornsby was later convicted of wire fraud and obstruction of justice.

Deasy has found himself embroiled in controversy in the past month, when his PhD from the University of Louisville came under scrutiny. He spent just one semester there and transferred in other credits. An investigation is underway.

"I won't comment on internal review of the University of Louisville's own procedures," said Deasy Tuesday. "My accomplishment record stands by itself, but I thank you for asking."

In July, the school board gave Deasy a raise to $273,000.

A Prince George's County School spokesman says Deasy will not receive a severance package. His last day of pay will coincide with his last day of work on Jan. 31…

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"The Prince George's County school board is assigning legal counsel to work as a liaison with University of Louisville officials investigating allegations that Superintendent John E. Deasy may have improperly received a doctorate from the school in 2004."…

The university investigation stems from reports in Kentucky news media that Deasy was awarded a doctorate of philosophy even though he only completed nine credit hours in one semester at the school. According to the university's policies, there is no set number of credits that doctor of philosophy candidates are required to obtain, however, it has been "customary to consider the equivalent of three years of full-time graduate study as minimal."…


Joseph Wise, Broad Superintendents Academy Class of 2003

Joseph Wise (BSA 2003) was given a four-year contract as the superintendent of Duval County Public Schools in the fall of 2005. Twenty-three months later, his spending habits were being questioned. He and the school board parted ways in October 2007, but not before he implemented a controversial reorganization plan. Read local community opinions here. In February 2008, he became the new Chief Education Officer for EdisonLearning. Legal problems persisted even after he left DCPS. Trouble had followed Wise from Delaware, where he had been the superintendent of Christina School District, the largest in Delaware. This is what he's doing now.

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"Bully in Search of a Pulpit" (November 9, 2006 in Slate) states:
Broad "plans to virtually take over the Delaware school system in 2007, pending approval from that state's legislature." He backed the winning slate of candidates for the local board of education in 1999 and helped hire the new superintendent.
Broad's initial energy was focused on the Christina School District. Their first Broad superintendent was installed in July 2003 (see Joseph Wise above). In April 2006, Wise was succeeded by Lillian Lowery (BSA 2004) who served until May 2009. Lowery walked into her position and shortly discovered a huge district deficit. This is what she's doing now. Her replacement was Marcia Lyles (BSA 2006). This district is home to the incident with six-year old Zachary. His sentence was later reversed.

Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana, Broad Superintendents Academy Class of 2006

At a gathering of teachers in an Oregon school district last week, a high-level official told a story that might sound familiar.

It's about Teddy Stoddard, the boy who got off to a bad start in Miss Thompson's fifth-grade class with his dirty clothes and listless academic performance.

At Christmas, he brought his teacher a rhinestone bracelet with missing stones and a half-used bottle of cheap perfume wrapped in a grocery bag. They had belonged to his dead mother.

Horrified that she misjudged the boy, Miss Thompson stayed with Teddy after school every day until he caught up. Over the years, he kept his teacher informed of his progress with three letters. In the final one, Teddy is a doctor and asks Miss Thompson to take his mother's place at his upcoming wedding.

Teachers in Eugene, Ore., sniffled and gave a standing ovation to Thelma Melendez de Santa Ana, the assistant to the U.S. secretary of education, when she finished the story.

But former Virginia Beach resident Elizabeth Ungar wrote "Three Letters from Teddy" nearly 40 years ago about a boy she called Teddy Stallard.

Reached last week at her new home in Rockingham, N.C., she was dismayed to hear it's still being passed off as truth. "I think it's absolutely wrong to do that."…