Embattled New London superintendent candidate does not receive doctorate

New London — Despite assurances in June from Lesley University that Terrence P. Carter had completed the requirements for a doctoral degree in educational studies, the university said Monday that Carter did not receive the degree as expected.

Carter, the Chicago educator whose selection as superintendent of New London Public Schools has been clouded by allegations of plagiarism and academic misrepresentation, “does not have a degree from Lesley,” university spokesman John Sullivan said in an email shortly after noon Monday.

The Cambridge, Mass., university did not release any information on the change, nor did it say whether the decision is final.

Before the school board chose Carter as the city’s next superintendent in June, members saw a letter to the state Board of Education from the chairman of his Ph.D. committee saying he had successfully completed his studies and defended his dissertation and would earn a doctorate in educational studies with a specialization in adult learning and development.

“His Ph.D. degree will be officially awarded on Lesley University’s next degree conferral date, August 25, 2014,” Terrence J. Keeney, a Lesley professor who was Carter’s senior adviser and chairman of the committee, wrote in a June 10 letter to the state Department of Education.

Though Lesley University awarded degrees to other doctoral students Monday, Carter was not one of them.

Sullivan said he could only confirm that Carter does not have a degree from the school, but did not say whether Carter could receive the degree at a later date.

Carter’s dissertation, which Keeney said Carter successfully defended on May 28, was titled “Driving Value within a Changing Network of Schools through Learning and Development: The Use of a 360° Feedback Tool to Drive Change and Bring Value in Public Education.”

Sullivan declined to comment on whether there had been a change in the acceptance of Carter’s dissertation.

Carter did not respond to a phone call and email seeking comment Monday afternoon.

Board of Education President Margaret Mary Curtin did not return a phone call seeking comment Monday afternoon.

State-appointed Special Master Steven J. Adamowski declined to comment but said he is “not sure at this point it is even terribly relevant.”

Carter’s appointment as the city’s superintendent of schools has been on hold for more than a month as the Board of Education waits for the results of an investigation into his academic credentials and financial background.

On June 12, the Board of Education unanimously appointed Carter as the city’s next superintendent. He was to take the reins of the school system Aug. 1.

But in July, the board chose to refrain from ratifying Carter’s contract after news reports indicated that he had misrepresented himself — or allowed others to misrepresent him — as having a doctorate for more than five years before he completed his doctoral studies and that he had twice filed for personal bankruptcy.

Later, The Day reported that at least 10 paragraphs of Carter’s application for the superintendent job in New London, and large portions of his cover letter, contained material apparently copied from other sources without attribution.

The state Department of Education last month asked Carter to withdraw himself from consideration for the New London job, a request the department still stands by, department spokeswoman Kelly Donnelly said Monday.

The state also froze Carter’s application to become a certified superintendent and will review it again after the city’s Board of Education completes its investigation.

“At the point in time when the board completes its investigation, all factors will be taken into consideration regarding his application,” Donnelly said Monday.

The board’s investigation is on track to be completed this week, the board’s attorney said last week. The Board of Education is scheduled to meet Thursday evening, though an agenda for the meeting has not yet been posted.

c.young@theday.com
Twitter: @ColinAYoung

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