- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 9, 2000

The Prince George's County (Md.) school board met last night in a emergency closed session to discuss how to proceed with an investigation of the county's information technology officer, who has been accused of misrepresenting herself on her resume.

After a three-hour meeting, the board decided to meet tomorrow with Superintendent Iris T. Metts and ask her to conduct the investigation. One board member pushed for an independent investigator, but the majority opted to let Mrs. Metts handle it.

The Washington Times first reported Monday that the schools' chief information officer, Alberta L. Paul, misrepresented her academic credentials on her resume.

School board Chairman James Henderson said Monday that if an investigation proves Ms. Paul misrepresented herself, she should be "removed." But he added yesterday that he didn't believe the board had the power to fire Ms. Paul because the board didn't hire her.

"We don't want to press for anything precipitously," he said. "We want to discuss an investigation and explore what the board can do within its mandate."

School system attorney Andrew Nussbaum attended the meeting, but Mrs. Metts did not.

At issue on Ms. Paul's resume is a doctorate in instructional technology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County she lists as having received in 1980. The line on the resume reads "PHD/ABD," and Ms. Paul said that ABD stands for "all but dissertation," The Times reported.

"My resume clearly says 'ABD,' " Ms. Paul told reporters at a news conference Monday to dispute the charges. "I never said I had a doctorate, but that I have completed my doctoral work."

Ms. Paul on Monday provided a copy of a letter dated March 1982 admitting her to UMBC's doctorate program. The letter lists the doctorate program as "policy sciences" not "instructional technology," as cited in her resume.

She left the university in 1984 with 42 graduate credits and no degree, according to the transcripts she provided, which list her major as "intercultural communications."

Ms. Paul said her doctoral work covered two areas of study: policy sciences and instructional technology.

The university has never offered a Ph.D. program in instructional technology, said graduate school officials.

Her resume also lists a master's degree in education administration from Antioch College in Ohio, but Antioch officials told The Times she was awarded a master's degree in 1974 in teaching, not administration.

Ms. Paul said Monday she received a dual degree. But Antioch officials said Ms. Paul took no classes in management or finance, both necessary for the administration degree.

In addition, her resume states she was director of technology in the information technology department of the Philadelphia school system in 1998-99. Spokesman Milton McGriff said she actually directed "learning support services" or the "department of instructional technology" where she coordinated nine employees responsible for technology used in the schools.

Ms. Paul said Monday that she altered her title on the resume to better reflect the job she performed.

As for The Times' report that Mr. Henderson asked Mrs. Metts to investigate a racially insensitive remark that Ms. Paul is said to have made to a subordinate at a staff meeting last month, Ms. Paul reiterated that she never made such a remark.

In a July 25 letter to Mrs. Metts, Mr. Henderson asked her to determine whether Ms. Paul, who is black, called the subordinate a "dumb white man."

Mrs. Metts said yesterday through a spokeswoman that the school system is investigating the accuracy of Ms. Paul's resume as well as the report of the racial remark.

The Times looked into Ms. Paul's academic and professional credentials after several of her 80 subordinates told a reporter they didn't think she was qualified to head the school system's information technology department.

Mrs. Metts hired Ms. Paul in September at an annual salary of $106,000, Mr. Henderson said. The position entails managing the administration's computer systems, such as payroll and human resources, as well as computer software and hardware used in the schools.

Before accepting her current job, Ms. Paul worked as a consultant to the federal government, for school systems and in sales for computer companies such as Control Data Corp. She began her career by teaching in 1975 in St. Paul, Minn.

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