Daryn Martin, the leader of the parent-teacher organization at Ivy Hill School, may go to jail because of a criminal complaint filed by Tiffany Hardrick, an assistant superintendent of schools in Newark who co-founded a New Orleans charter school. So it’s a good time to ask just who this Dr. Hardrick is, why is she in Newark, and why she left New Orleans. The answer is–she is another one of Cami Anderson’s misguided appointments of an educator with a, well, unusual past.
Hardrick was a co-founder with Keith Sanders of the Miller-McCoy Academy in New Orleans, a charter school. She left the school “under a cloud” in July, 2012, after the trustees discovered they canceled a bus contract with an outside vendor and gave the business to a company owned by her brother, Bobby Hardrick.
A letter home to the school’s parents described how the busing crisis left students and parent in tough circumstances. Sound familiar?
For Newark’s Cami Anderson, the cloud apparently could not be seen because the state-appointed superintendent hired her within a few months to be a $175,000 assistant superintendent of schools–one of whose jobs, apparently, is to tear down notices of PTO meetings legally posted by parent leaders.
I can understand Cami Anderson might not like to read the press clippings about herself and her friends. But due diligence certainly would have prompted her to read the minutes of the trustee board that employed Hardrick. This is how notice of the deal was described in the minutes of the trustees meeting of the academy:
“The board has been informed that its existing contract with Hammond Transportation was canceled by Tiffany Hardrick/Keith Sanders and that Keith Sanders entered a new agreement for transportation with BCH Services which is solely owned by Bobby Hardrick, a former employee of the school and the brother of former school leader, Tiffany Hardrick. The board has already taken action to self-report what could be a violation of the Code of Governmental Ethics by informing both the State of Louisiana’s Ethics board and the RSD. A motion was introduced to give the executive committee authority, thru the chairman of the board, to act on behalf of the board and cancel the contract with BCH Services and re-engage Hammond Transportation to handle our transportation needs for the remainder of the school year, should the proposal be acceptable and to handle the transportation change in a manner that is feasible and responsible to ensure our transportation services are safe and uninterrupted; ALL VOTED and the motion passed unanimously.”
That’s not a story from some biased blogger. That’s from the record minutes of the school itself. The RSD, buy the way, is the Recovery School District, basically a charter school district because the New Orleans schools are now where Cami Anderson wants to lead the Newark schools–privatized, non-union, grist for the entrepreneurial mill.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune, a sister paper to The Star-Ledger, has an excellent reputation for covering the almost complete charterization of the city’s public schools after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. An article last July noted that the two co-founders of the MIller-McCoy Academy left “under a cloud” the previous summer.
It went on to talk about the appointment of a new principal and the problems he faced:
“Despite its high ideals, Miller-McCoy has had a number of problems. The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education renewed its charter for three years in December even though it had a letter grade of F, because the school did raise student performance by at least 20 points.
“Some of that improvement has been questioned: The Recovery School District found that administrators likely promoted cheating in 2010. The school’s own investigation turned up nothing.
“Test scores from the most recent academic year have so far been underwhelming. The rates of students scoring “excellent” or “good” on required end-of-course tests dropped by double digits in three subjects, with few or no students meeting that bar in English III, biology or U.S. history testing. On the spring high-stakes LEAP tests, eighth graders scored below the school system norm in all four subjects.
“Non-academic issues have plagued Miller-McCoy as well. A fall 2012 audit showed that the school had employed two of co-principal Tiffany Hardrick’s siblings and awarded a transportation contract to a company owned by Hardrick’s brother. Miller-McCoy also holds the dubious distinction of being the last school attended by Akein Scott, one of two alleged gunmen in the Mother’s Day shooting that left 20 injured. Scott did not complete graduation requirements.”
Here’s the same newspaper’s take on a possible cheating scandal. Teachers accused the school of cheating and the allegations were held up by a Recovery School District probe–but an “internal” investigation concluded no cheating had taken place. You know all about those internal investigations–when possible perpetrators investigate themselves.
I asked Matthew Frankel, the spokesman for Cami Anderson, for comment on Hardrick’s background. He did not respond. (I have since learned the email I thought I sent to Frankel was never actually sent. I apologized to him. I would still like to know why Anderson hired someone who was involved in a scandal involving busing, a cheating scandal and presided over a charter school that earned an F from the New Orleans Recovery School District).
The state apparently did not pursue ethics charges against Hardrick. It didn’t lose its charter despite a “F” grade. But the school under Hardrick’s leadership probably could not be called an appropriate model for adoption in Newark. The web-based “The Lens” reported just last week that the school was still in financial trouble.
So what’s the connection? It’s New Leaders for New Schools, a non-profit that takes in a lot of money. Hardrick was trained there when she was a principal in Memphis and Anderson was its chief program officer.
Connect the dots and you always get back to big money. Big money from outside Newark.