Under Scrutiny About His Credentials, the 22-year-old Newly Approved to Open a N.Y. Charter Quits

The decision to grant a 22-year-old with no school administration experience an approval to open a charter school in Rochester by the New York Board of Regents raised some eyebrows, however when inconsistencies in the credentials used to approve the charter were revealed, apparent concerns about how thorough the charter approval process is emerged.

The following is a thorough analysis by Justin Murphy, Staff writer at Democrat and Chronicle of the inconsistencies depicted in the 22-year-old’s credentials used to apply for the charter school.

“Ted Morris Jr. of Rochester wrote on a 2013 charter school application that he received a bachelor’s degree from Western Governors University and had served as assistant CEO of a local nonprofit; both assertions, among others, turned out to be false.”

“He said Sunday that he graduated from School Without Walls in Rochester, but clarified Monday that he withdrew from that school in 2008 and graduated later that year from Penn Foster High School, a private online high school based in Pennsylvania.”

“Former School Without Walls principal Dan Drmacich and the Rochester School District both verified that Morris left the district in 2008.”

“Morris said in interviews and in paperwork submitted to the state in 2013 that he got a bachelor’s degree from Western Governors University, an online college based in Salt Lake City. But a school spokesman said he attended classes there but did not graduate and is not currently enrolled.”

“He then allegedly got master’s and doctoral degrees from Concordia University Chicago through a program that required him to be on campus for one weekend a month, he said in interviews Sunday and Monday. But that school said it has no record of him ever enrolling there.”

“The resume he submitted to the state in 2014 listed bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Concordia (omitting the Western Governors University reference) and a pending doctoral degree from the online Grand Canyon University. He said in an interview Tuesday, however, that he only took a few classes at Grand Canyon and then unenrolled.”

“Representatives from Penn Foster and Grand Canyon could not be reached to verify his claims regarding their schools.”

“Morris wrote he was the assistant chief executive officer for the Hickok Center for Brain Injury, with duties including “developed and implemented all program policies and procedures” and “served as acting CEO in the absence of the CEO.”

“Elaine Comarella, the center’s CEO, said his title was actually administrative assistant, and that the responsibilities he listed in the resume were “a little overshot.”

“He worked on all those things, but he didn’t actually do all that stuff himself,” she said.

“Morris said that he meant to describe his job as assistant to the CEO, but that he did serve as acting CEO at one point, a claim Comarella disputed.”

“Another of the jobs listed on his resume was director of Church Women United’s Task Force on Courts. That was accurate, but in the resume he submitted to get that position, obtained by the Democrat and Chronicle, he claimed he had bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Almeda University, an unaccredited online school in Idaho.

“That apparently isn’t true. He said Tuesday he’d never heard of that school and didn’t know why it was on his resume.”

“A third job listing was senior administrator for Victory Living Christian Faith Centers from 2003 — when he was a few months shy of his 11th birthday — to 2010. The resume said he “hired, trained and supervised a staff of seven administrators … (for) a national Christian organization).”

“Morris reiterated Tuesday that he did in fact start serving as an administrator at age 10, “as little as I was,” and “did all the official paperwork” in those seven years. His hiring and supervisory responsibilities started when he was around 15 or 16 years old and were done together with other leaders, he said.”

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