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State waits on Carter's certification application to be superintendent

By Colin A. Young

Publication: The Day

Published July 30. 2014 4:00AM   Updated July 30. 2014 12:24PM
Action put on hold pending probe by New London

New London — The state Department of Education has put on hold its review of Terrence P. Carter's application to become a certified superintendent until the Board of Education's investigation into his background is complete.

On Tuesday, The Day reported that at least 10 paragraphs of Carter's application for the superintendent job in New London contain material apparently copied from other sources without attribution.

"In light of these developments, this office has determined that we will defer the processing of your pending application for superintendent until such time as the New London Board of Education completes its investigation," Nancy L. Pugliese, chief of the Bureau of Educator Standards and Certification, wrote in a letter to Carter dated Tuesday. "At that time, we may move forward with our review of your pending application."

In some cases, entire paragraphs of Carter's March application are exactly the same as writings that previously appeared in other publications.

In the application, Carter claims to have developed a number of programs or initiatives at his previous job as director and chief academic officer of Chicago's Academy for Urban School Leadership, including the creation of an Office of Advancement.

But the academy's website contains no references to an Office of Advancement, and a spokeswoman for the organization on Tuesday would not say whether the office and other programs Carter takes credit for actually exist.

"Because this is all very closely tied to Terrence Carter, it is a personnel matter and I can't answer any of your questions," Deirdre Campbell, the spokeswoman, said.

The section of Carter's application in which he claims to have created the office appears to have been largely copied from a 2013 Pittsburgh Business Times article about a Pennsylvania school district creating its own Office of Advancement.

Campbell did confirm that Carter is no longer employed by the Chicago-based nonprofit organization.

Carter, whom the city's Board of Education unanimously appointed as its next superintendent on June 12, has been under fire since news reports indicated that he had misrepresented himself - or allowed others to misrepresent him - as having a Ph.D. for more than five years before he completed his doctorate. In addition, Carter has twice filed for bankruptcy in the last 15 years.

The state Department of Education last week asked Carter to withdraw himself from consideration for the New London superintendent's job. Carter has declined to do so, and the state Department of Education reiterated its request on Tuesday.

After a closed-door session in which it questioned Carter last week, the Board of Education voted unanimously to launch an independent investigation into Carter's academic record and financial background, and to defer any action on his contract until the inquiry is complete. That probe is expected to take about 30 days.

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.

But the vice president of the Board of Education said Tuesday she has seen enough and thinks the board should call off its investigation and begin the process of finding a different candidate for the job.

"I know I would just stop. We already have enough information that I feel I already know how I'm going to vote," Elizabeth Garcia Gonzalez said. "I just feel we should stop and seek another candidate."

Garcia Gonzalez said she is disappointed with the way the board's superintendent search has turned out and thinks the search firm hired by the board, McPherson and Jacobson, could have put more effort into scouring Carter's background.

"I know individuals have stated the Board of Education should have done the same thing. Fine, but we hired a consultant to do that, too," she said. "Everyone has the right to be upset, I just feel like we need to move forward and do what we can to select an individual that can work as an interim superintendent and see what happens from here on."

The other six Board of Education members either declined to comment or did not return calls or emails seeking comment Tuesday.

Steven J. Adamowski, the special master appointed by the state to oversee the district, did not respond to a request for comment.

Carter did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

c.young@theday.com

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