Superintendent Anthony Hamlet started his first official day as Pittsburgh Public Schools' newest leader by apologizing for the "unintended distraction" caused by allegations of misrepresentation and plagiarism riddling his resume.
I regret the concerns that arose around my arrival,” he said. “I apologize to the board, parents, teachers and the community for this unintended distraction. However, together we need to restore our attention to what matters most: Pittsburgh schools' children."
The swearing-in celebration led by Allegheny Common Pleas Judge Joseph Williams came two days after the nine-member school board voted 7-2 to retain the former Florida educator with a five-year, $210,000 annual contract.
Hamlet was hired May 18 in a unanimous decision after a five-month national search. Days later, figures used in his resume were found to differ from those reported by the Florida Department of Education. Reports also claimed instances of plagiarism.
Hamlet admitted to fudging one number and explained his reasoning to board members in June. Former prosecutor Laurel Brandstetter presented a 130-page commissioned report vetting Hamlet's resume an hour before Wednesday's vote.
According to the report released to the public on Friday, Hamlet submitted two resumes to the board.
“On March 1, 2016, the first resume is received in Dr. Hamlet’s application packet by the District. Sometime thereafter, a second resume with significant changes surfaced,” according to the report. Brandstetter said in the report that "questions remain" whether the second resume was only provided to media outlets.
The report also said inaccuracies relating to school grades, graduation rates and suspensions were “primarily the result of typos, inaccurate verbiage, and lack of clarity or precision in his resumes.”
Brandstetter writes that plagiarism is not a crime but rather reflects, “a community’s norms or standards.”
“It seems clear that the larger the amount of copying or quoting without attribution, the more likely it is to amount to plagiarism,” according to the report.
Brandstetter said she spoke to several people in higher education about intellectual property and reviewed best practices for resume writing during her investigation.
“The consensus was that one sentence is enough to constitute plagiarism and that plagiarism in a resume is a top concern of potential employers,” according to the report.
Hamlet told the board, and through his legal counsel, also told Brandstetter, that he did not intentionally plagiarize.
“Dr. Hamlet does not address the impact of his actions upon the students of the district or in his ability to establish policy and address instances of plagiarism within the district,” the report states.
The report found Hamlet’s resume to be “fraught with errors relating to dates of employment.”
Hamlet said his 90-day plan involves learning the needs of the district and listening to students, parents and teachers.
“By looking, listening and learning and doing a lot of reading about what’s going on, asking about specific programing like curriculum, things of that nature – you’ll begin to understand what needs to be changed, what needs to stay the same, what needs to be supported,” he said. “Definitely looking to build upon my predecessor’s foundation that she’s laid in place.”
Hamlet said he will reach out to leaders in the community whether or they’ve been supportive of his hire.
“I’m excited to work with the board and the community and will reach out to bridge divides so that together we can address our needs of our students and help them achieve their dreams,” he said. “I’ll be meeting one on one with stakeholders and holding community meetings.”