PITTSBURGH – A superintendent who faced questions about information on his resume and possible plagiarism can begin his new job this week after the Pittsburgh Public Schools board rejected one member's request to rescind the hiring.
The board voted 7-2 against board member Terry Kennedy's motion to reverse the hiring of Anthony Hamlet. Hamlet begins his $210,000-a-year job on Friday.
Hamlet wasn't present for Wednesday night's vote, but issued a statement saying, "I regret the concern this situation has caused and I apologize to the parents and communities for this unintended distraction."
The board hired a former state prosecutor to review Hamlet's resume after two newspapers reported two Palm Beach County, Florida, schools didn't improve their state ratings as much as Hamlet's resume contends they did when he was their principal. He's also been accused of using information from other sources without attribution to define his views and educational philosophy.
Board President Regina Holley said the retired prosecutor's 130-page report indicates Hamlet didn't intentionally lift a sentence from a Washington Post editorial on education. Hamlet explained that someone included the line in a speech written for him a year ago and he wasn't aware of its source when he repeated the line in his resume to explain his educational philosophy, Holley said.
"The review of Dr. Hamlet's resume notes that plagiarism is legally defined as the 'deliberate and knowing presentation of another's ideas' and that is not what Dr. Hamlet did," Holley said.
Some community activists and others have spoken out in support of Hamlet, questioning whether he isn't being unfairly scrutinized because he's black. But others, including Tim Stevens, the city's former NAACP president and current head of the Black Political Empowerment Project, said the black community also has concerns about Hamlet's record.
"Regardless of all the drama, regardless of whether or not people sit on the same side of this argument, what's really important is if he can do the job," said Valerie Allman, a parent with the Education Rights Network, who supports Hamlet. "And I think he can."
But Kennedy said the board wouldn't have approved hiring Hamlet last month had the resume questions been raised before that vote.
"My belief is Dr. Hamlet will have a difficult time leading the district," Kennedy said.
The former prosecutor's report will be released publicly next week, after confidential personal information is redacted.