Carter's certification for New London superintendent's job in question

New London — As questions continue to mount about Terrence P. Carter's academic record and previous financial issues, the Board of Education may have another line of inquiry when it meets Thursday: whether its unanimous choice to be the city's next superintendent is certified to hold the position.

The superintendent's job description, which the Board of Education adopted as an official policy in 2005, requires that the city's superintendent hold a valid superintendent certificate in Connecticut. The state requires the same qualification.

According to state records, Carter is not currently certified as a superintendent in Connecticut.

He does, however, hold a provisional educator certificate and an endorsement for "intermediate administration and supervision" in Connecticut, records show. The certificate, which is valid for eight years, was issued June 13, the day after the Board of Education announced Carter as its unanimous choice for the city's superintendent of schools.

To be granted a provisional certificate, which is the second in the state's three-tier certification system, the applicant must complete "30 months of successful appropriate experience within ten years" in a public or approved nonpublic school, according to the state Department of Education website.

But becoming a certified superintendent in Connecticut requires a master's degree, completion of 30 semester hours of graduate credit beyond the master's degree, "a minimum of 80 school months of successful teaching or service," a minimum of 30 school months as a full-time administrator and a recommendation from an institution where the applicant completed a superintendent preparation program, according to state Department of Education regulations.

The same regulations define "successful teaching or service" as "full-time professional educational experience" as a teacher, administrator or serving in certain staff positions.

It was not clear Tuesday whether Carter has applied for a superintendent certificate in Connecticut.

By email Tuesday, Carter said he has "already been vetted by the board and the State of Connecticut" and referred all questions to the New London Board of Education.

Board President Margaret Mary Curtin could not be reached to comment Tuesday evening.

Last month, Carter told The Day that he taught a year each of third, fifth and seventh grades in Paterson, N.J., the state's third-largest district, which consists of 54 schools and enrolls nearly 30,000 students.

A representative from Paterson Public Schools did not return calls Tuesday from The Day seeking to verify Carter's employment.

In the five-page résumé he submitted when he applied for the New London job, Carter makes no mention of his teaching experience. And when the school system announced Carter as its next superintendent, it touted his corporate experience but not his time in the classroom.

Information provided by the New Jersey Department of Education shows that in July 2002 Carter received a Certificate of Eligibility, which enabled him to enroll in the state's Provisional Teacher Program. Because Carter had not completed a formal teacher preparation program at an accredited college or university, he took part in the program's "alternate route."

Working under a provisional certification from the state, Carter was "mentored by a colleague in the district and ... supervised and evaluated by district personnel" during his first two years as a teacher, according to the New Jersey education department.

In December 2003, Carter received his standard teacher certification, records show.

And in July 2004, Carter left Paterson to enroll in the New Leaders for New Schools administrator training program, which led him to Chicago.

Documents from the Illinois State Board of Education show that Carter received a professional educator license with an endorsement for kindergarten through 12th grade administration in April 2005. Carter renewed his license annually, and it expired June 30, 2014.

The Board of Education will meet in executive session at 5 p.m. Thursday to speak with Carter by phone and then will convene a special meeting to vote on a contract for Carter.

c.young@theday.com

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