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Cover letter by Carter similar to someone else’s work

By Colin A. Young

Publication: theday.com

Published July 30. 2014 12:16PM   Updated July 31. 2014 11:58AM
Consulting firm says it doesn’t typically do plagiarism check

New London — The cover letter Terrence P. Carter submitted with his application to be the city’s next superintendent contains sentences and phrases apparently copied from a cover letter submitted by a candidate seeking a Michigan superintendent job in 2011.

Carter’s cover letter, submitted on March 11 along with his application and résumé, follows a similar structure to the 2011 letter and contains sentences from the 2011 letter with a few slight differences to tailor them to Carter’s application.

“I bring an unbridled passion for educating children and adults, a track record of launching and directing critical educational programs, and exceptional leadership credentials,” Carter wrote in his letter. “If you are looking for a dynamic educational leader who has continually succeeded in the classroom, in academic programs, in the central office, and in corporate America, then my credentials will be of great value to you, your students, and your community.”

A cover letter submitted in 2011 by Frederick Charles Clarke, then a candidate for the superintendent job in Rochester, Mich., contains a similar passage.

“... I bring to your academic institution an unbridled passion for educating America’s youth, a track record of launching and directing critical educational programs, and exceptional leadership credentials,” Clarke wrote. “If you are looking for a dynamic educational leader who has continually succeeded in the classroom, in academic programs, and in the central office, perhaps my credentials will be of great value to you, your students and your community.”

Earlier this week, The Day reported that at least 10 paragraphs of the personal essay Carter submitted as part of his application for the superintendent job in New London contain material apparently copied from other sources without attribution.

“This is the first time that I have ever seen that,” said Sharon Cox, the consultant who led New London’s superintendent search on behalf of the Nebraska-based firm McPherson and Jacobson. “We don’t typically check for plagiarism.”

When Carter applied for the New London superintendent job in March, it was not the first time he had sought a superintendency through McPherson and Jacobson.

Last year, Carter was a candidate for the superintendent position in Shreveport, La., a search that McPherson and Jacobson also conducted. Cox said Wednesday that even though the firm screened Carter’s background last year, it “did do a screening from scratch” when Carter applied for the New London job. Cox said she did not work on the Shreveport search.

Cox said the firm does not represent candidates, but it keeps a list of potential candidates and notifies them when superintendent jobs become available.

“We don’t have a stable of candidates; there will be people who will put in their interest, and if they indicate a specific geographic area they’re interested in, they will get an announcement if there is an opening there,” Cox said. “We don’t have a group of people that we keep trying to place; we don’t work that way.”

On Tuesday, the state Department of Education put on hold its review of Carter’s application to become a certified superintendent until the New London Board of Education’s investigation into his background is complete.

Carter’s attorney, Bill McCoy, declined to comment Tuesday when asked if Carter denies that portions of his application were copied directly from other sources without attribution.

“He is fully prepared to discuss any of these issues during the course of the investigation the school board is indicating they are going to have,” McCoy said.

c.young@theday.com


Terrence P. Carter's 2014 cover letterFrederick Charles Clarke's 2011 cover letter

"I bring an unbridled passion for educating children and adults, a track record oflaunching and directing critical educational programs, and exceptional leadership credentials. If you are looking for a dynamic educational leader who has continually succeeded in the classroom, in academic programs, in the central office, and in corporate America, then my credentials will be of great value to you, your students, and your community."

"...I bring to your academic institution an unbridled passion for educating America’s youth, a track record of launching and directing critical educational programs, and exceptional leadership credentials. If you are looking for a dynamic educational leader who has continually succeeded in the classroom, in academic programs, and in the central office, perhaps my credentials will be of great value to you, your students and your community."

"As a superintendent my focus will lie in several areas:

  • I will take the necessary actions to turnaround low-performing schools and increase the capacity of schools that are or are on the cusp of performing at high academic levels.
  • I will take great schools and have them to exceed expectations and current performance metrics.
  • I will concentrate on providing superior learning tools, faculty, and programs for children to achieve at high academic levels;
  • I will harness the power of technology to strengthen academic programs and strive for perfection;
  • I will create a strong union between faculty, parents, advisory boards, and the community to strengthen the district's reputation and fulfill its obligation to the students; and,
  • I will work hand-in-hand with my colleagues and the board to ensure the district becomes a shining academic star within the State, where the children are excited about learning."

"As a Superintendent, my focus will lie in several areas: first, I will concentrate on continuing to provide superior learning tools, faculty, and programs fro our student body to maintain high levels of student achievement, second, I will guide the district through these turbulent fiscal waters facing all school districts in Michigan, third, I will harness the power of technology to strengthen our academic programs and strive for perfection, fourth, I will create a strong union between faculty, parents, Board of Trustees, and the community to strengthen our schools' reputation and fulfill our obligations to students. I will work hand-in-hand with my colleagues to ensure our schools become a shining academic star where our students are excited about learning."

"I will leverage my previous successes in all my leadership roles to focus on the future needs of the district and its stakeholders. I will work tirelessly with faculty and support staff to embrace each student throughout the district and ensure she or he achieves educational success."

"I will leverage my previous successes as a Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, Executive Director of Technology, Director of Pupil Services, Director of Educational Support Systems, Assistant High School Principal, and other educational roles to focus on the future needs of our stakeholders. I will work tirelessly with faculty and support staff to embrace each student throughout our schools and ensure he or she achieves educational success."

"I am excited to speak with you about opportunities as your next Superintent and I am confident that I bring a wealth of credentials that will be valuable to maintain the excellence you want to achieve for your students, faculty, and community."

"I am excited to speak with you about the opportunities as your next Superintendent and am confident I bring a wealth of credentials that will be valuable to maintain the excellence you have achieved for your students, faculty, and community."

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