New London school board to proceed with superintendent contract vote

New London — The Board of Education will go forward with its scheduled vote tonight on the contract for newly hired Superintendent Terrence P. Carter despite questions about whether he misrepresented his academic record, according to board Chairman Margaret Curtin.

When questioned Sunday about whether the board would vote tonight, Curtin asked why it wouldn’t. The board meets at 6:30 p.m. at the Science and Technology Magnet High School.

“I would prefer to speak after we have a signed contract,” she said.

The Hartford Courant reported Friday that Carter is listed as “Ph.D.” or “Dr. Terrence P. Carter” on numerous documents over the past five years, including book jackets, programs for symposiums and Chicago Board of Education publications. Carter has not yet received a doctorate in education.

Curtin said Carter “did not misrepresent himself” to the search committee composed of seven board members and five community members that was charged with finding a new superintendent for the district.

The board voted in 2013 not to renew the contract of current Superintendent Nicholas A. Fischer and contracted with the Nebraska-based firm McPherson & Jacobson to lead a nationwide search for superintendent.

Curtin said she was satisfied with the work of both the committee and the firm and commented that the state also vetted Carter for the position.

“I will say that he did not misrepresent himself to the board,” she said.

School board member Mirna Martinez said she had never thought Carter already had a doctorate. Still, she said, the article in the Courant concerned her “because we need to hire a superintendent with integrity.”

She said she was speaking only for herself and was not acting as a spokesman for the board.

She said she was still looking into the Courant’s reporting on her own and did not yet know how she would vote, saying, “I was completely supportive of him before.”

She said of the search firm, “Yeah, of course I think that they should have picked up on this.”

Several other board members did not return calls seeking comment. A man who answered Carter’s cell phone Sunday identified himself as Carter’s son and said that Carter was not available to speak.

State Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor said in an emailed statement, “We respect the process that local leaders on the New London Board of Education determine in order to enable their full consideration of all information regarding their final candidate for Superintendent.”

The state-appointed special master who is overseeing New London’s troubled school system said Saturday that Carter was “absolutely clear” during the interview process that he has not yet received a doctorate in education.

Steven J. Adamowski, who was appointed two years ago to improve the school district’s educational and financial performance, said that Carter had said he would complete course work for the degree in May and that he would be conferred in August.

“It is unfortunate that this information could not be raised or addressed earlier in the process. With that said, the subject matter has been raised at this point and we are confident that the Board will consider all factors when making their further decisions,” he said Sunday.

According to his résumé, Carter is set to receive a doctorate in philosophy from the Lesley University School of Education in Cambridge, Mass. It is unclear whether the résumé, which indicates he expected to complete his dissertation in the fall of 2013, is the most up-to-date version.

Carter most recently served as director and chief academic officer of the Academy for Urban School Leadership, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that works as a division of the city school system to turn around poorly performing schools.

t.townsend@theday.com

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