Cami Anderson’s pal gets to keep ill-gotten $12,000–at least for now

Tiffany Hardrick. Photo: Times-Herald
Tiffany Hardrick. Photo: Times-Herald

Tiffany Hardrick, a close friend and former assistant to Cami Anderson, Chris Christie’s appointee to run the Newark schools, will get to keep an extra $12,000 she earned by working two jobs in two different states, here and in Arkansas, at the same time. At least, she will get to keep it for a while.

Exactly why is not clear–Anderson apparently wants it that way but Anderson failed to show up, yet again, for a school board meeting Tuesday night so no one could ask her. Two subordinates, assistant superintendents Vanessa Rodriguez and Charlotte Hitchcock (also Anderson’s counsel) tried to play interference for the nation’s only known hermit school superintendent but board members complained they couldn’t get answers.

“We were told the matter was still under investigation,” said Antoinette Baskerville-Richardson, a school board member who described  Tuesday’s board meeting as “one of the strangest we’ve ever had.” It included sending someone out to retrieve one of the  assistant superintendents, Rodriguez,  who walked out before the board was through asking her questions.

Richardson quoted  Rodriguez as saying the Hardrick matter was “still under investigation.”

As it has been for months.

The matter began when Anderson, according to a state audit, wrongly paid more than $2,000 in unused sick time and $12,000 in regular time to Hardrick. Hardrick should not have received the $12,000, the audit reported, because she already was working as the superintendent in the Forrest City, Arkansas, school system.

Hardrick and Anderson worked together for decades. Anderson hired Hardrick to be her $175,000 assistant despite some unpleasantness involving Hardrick’s award of a $500,000 transportation contract to her brother when she was running a charter school in New Orleans. A charter school that, incidentally, received a hgrade “F” from the New Orleans school district.

No matter. Anderson always welcomes her friends to Newark. Even those who only earn graders of F.

The state audit charging that Anderson wrongly paid Hardrick while she was superintendent in Arkansas was dated the same day that David Hespe, the state education commissioner and Anderson’s nominal boss (Christie is her real boss), awarded her a new contract and a merit-pay bonus.

Anderson was initially given 30 days to make the report public and come up with an action plan that is discussed at a school board meeting. Hespe, however, ever thoughtful about Cami Anderson, granted her an extra 30 days to admit her problems and fix them.

More than a month after even that deadline was ignore, Anderson did not come with a public copy of the audit and her subordinates only reluctantly admitted to a “corrective action plan,” or CAP.

The CAP, however, only touched on the wrongly paid sick leave. It did not address the dual payments.

“We have to get answers to this although it is clear Anderson does not want to provide them,” said Baskerville-Richardson.

 

9 comments

  1. Saver

    I would recommend pay cuts for Anderson and her coterie as a first step in cost cutting measures. Next, I would advise that all consultants be terminated immediately. Finally, contracts with all “non-profits” such as Turnaround for Children should be eliminated. There is much the Superintendent can do to trim the fat in her bloated budget.

  2. Adrian DeVore

    Bob Braun,

    Please double check your editing because you misspelled Vanessa Rodriguez’s last name in the third paragraph.

    Otherwise, thanks for exposing Superintendent Cami Anderson for her unprofessional leadership of Newark Public Schools.

  3. DeeplyConcerned

    Since Cami Anderson hired Hardrick from out of state, do we know if she was properly certified to work as an assistant superintendent in NJ?

    • Stressed

      Cami Anderson isn’t qualified to be superintendent; she’s not qualified to be a principal. I’d say, it doesn’t matter what Hardwick’s certification is. Apparently it just doesn’t matter. But! Properly certified, tenured experienced teachers and administrators are sweating out their position due to budget cuts.

      • DeeplyConcerned

        All very true, but Hardrick’s certification does matter. If she didn’t hold the proper NJ certificate for the job, her appointment by her old friend Cami Anderson was illegal.

        • Stressed

          I guess my sarcasm didn’t come through. If Cami Anderson isn’t qualified to be… a principal, never mind superintendent, they aren’t going to be concerned about Hardwick or anyone else being qualified for their positions. It seems to me what we thought were requirements in the district for administrative positions have nothing to do with anything anymore. Those of us who taught, went to graduate school, took the PRAXIS, achieved the ‘requirements’ for those positions have an ice cube’s chance in hell of getting one. The constant smack in the face that the people who have been dedicated to the district, students and families, just don’t make the grade when friends of friends and their friends commute into the city from PA and NY; it’s beyond insulting.

          If you can even find an online resume… I found this on her linkedin page: Cami Anderson taught two years as a TFA. She then went to various administrative positions. She didn’t teach the 3-5 year requirement for a principalship in Newark nor the additional 3-5 year building administrator experience to qualify for superintendent. I believe this lack of actually being an educator is a primary reason why she just doesn’t understand the push-back she’s getting from neighborhood school residents and students; faculty. She simply doesn’t have the experience of being ‘in’ a school building for any period of time, getting to know students and families… like really getting to know them. There is a complete disconnect. She just doesn’t get it but she’s so arrogant that she continues to impose her ignorance on everybody.

          • Urban Teacher

            Cami Anderson’s inability to connect with the Newark community is not caused by her lack of classroom and administrative experience. It eminates from her disdain for administrators, teachers, staff, parents and students who seek to voice their concerns. Anderson is charged by Christie with handing over the Newark Public Schools to charter operators. She seeks to create a revolving door of unqualified teachers with no commitment to the mission of providing children with stable school environments. Anderson holds teachers who have devoted decades of their lives to teaching in Newark in contempt. If she were to be granted the waiver by Hespe, she would fire all of us in one hot minute.

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