After student journalists at a Kansas high school got a big scoop on their incoming principal's credentials, she resigned from the $93,000-a-year position.
The students’ main concerns revolved around Amy Robertson’s education, mainly the institution where she received her master’s and doctoral degrees: Corllins University.
Corllins is an unaccredited online school that when searched on Google, produces several websites warning about scams and claims of the school being a diploma mill.
“She was going to be the head of our school, and we wanted to be assured that she was qualified and had proper credentials,” Trina Paul, a Pittsburg High School senior and school newspaper editor told the Wichita Eagle. “We stumbled on some things that most might not consider legitimate credentials.”
The Pittsburg Community Schools Board of Education accepted her resignation.
In an email response to the Kansas City Star, Robinson said: “The current status of Corllins University is not relevant because when I received my MA in 1994 and my PhD in 2010, there was no issue.”
“The kids had never gone through someone like this before,” Superintendent Destry Brown said. But he said he hoped students would continue to look for answers. “I want our kids to have real-life experiences, whether it’s welding or journalism.”
Despite the school district’s thorough screening methods which include calling several references and conducting background checks, Brown said the school district was probably going to make a change to its hiring process.
“They were not out to get anyone to resign or to get anyone fired,” said “very proud” Pittsburg journalism adviser Emily Smith. “They worked very hard to uncover the truth.”
An anonymously circulated letter also raised questions about Robertson's qualifications. Robertson reportedly is currently working in the United Arab Emirates.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.