- Associated Press - Friday, June 10, 2016

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The newly hired superintendent of Pittsburgh’s public schools is facing new concerns of possible plagiarism and the school board scheduled an emergency meeting so he can address them.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette first reported that Anthony Hamlet appears to have used a line from a Washington Post editorial when describing his educational philosophy on his resume and a definition lifted from an online dictionary to describe his qualifications as a “transformational leader” without crediting either source.

Hamlet hasn’t commented to the Pittsburgh media outlets reporting the latest allegations, and could not immediately be located for comment by The Associated Press in advance of Friday afternoon’s meeting.

He has also been accused of exaggerating his success in turning around troubled schools in Florida. And at least one board member is now saying she’d consider rescinding Hamlet’s $210,000-a-year job offer if the plagiarism charges prove accurate.

“That’s game over to me,” board member Lynda Wrenn said. “I would press for a new search.”

Some community activists and others have spoken out in support of Hamlet, questioning whether he isn’t being unfairly scrutinized because he’s black.

But Tim Stevens, the city’s former NAACP president and current head of the Black Political Empowerment Project, said the black community also has concerns about Hamlet’s record.

“The superintendent will control a budget larger than the city’s, and is shaping the future of our children,” Stevens said. “Anyone is going to be analyzed by the media, I don’t care what color they are.”

On Tuesday, Hamlet, 43, called a news conference to address earlier reports by the Pittsburgh media and the Palm Beach Post in Florida that his resume exaggerated his success in turning around troubled schools in Palm Beach County. Hamlet acknowledged making a mistake when he claimed to have raised a middle school’s state rating from an “F” to a “C” and said the school improved only from “D” to “C” while he was principal there.

He denied allegations, however, that his claim of also raising Palm Beach Lakes High School from an “F” to a “C” was false. Hamlet was principal there from 2011 until 2014.

Hamlet contends Florida education officials rate schools based on students’ academic performance on standardized tests and other factors, including graduation rates and their students’ readiness for college. He contends the school’s standardized test performance rose - from an “F” to a “C” - but Florida state education officials said the ratings cannot be parsed that way and the school’s overall rating was a “C” and remained so under Hamlet.

After the media reports of the resume concerns, Pittsburgh School Board President Regina Holley said the board was satisfied with Hamlet’s explanation after he showed the board the data he used to back up his claims.

Kathi Gundlach, president of the Palm Beach County Teachers Association, also defended Hamlet’s work at the Florida high school and called him a “consummate professional.”

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