NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Maryland last month revoked the administrative education license of Freddie Dean Smith after a state investigation initiated based on reporting by Talk of the Sound. Virginia likewise revoked Smith’s education credentials based on reporting by Talk of the Sound. Smith has now been banned by state education departments in Virginia, New Jersey, and Maryland, as well as the City of New York Department of Education.
Smith remains a licensed administrator in New York State despite having a long criminal history that included multiple sex crimes and a felony conviction prior to applying for his administrative license with the New York State Education Department. Smith, who has a dozen criminal convictions on his record, was still serving his sentence on a felony conviction in Virginia for endangering the life of a police officer at the time he began his tenure as Principal of a White Plains elementary school. While Principal of Post Road Elementary School, two months after he was hired, Smith was convicted on two separate charges related to incidents where he unzipped his pants, pulled out his penis and masturbated while standing behind woman at stores in South Carolina.
His valid New York State license was a required element in Smith’s application for reinstatement of his Maryland administration certificate in 2015.
Smith appears to have forged a UVA transcript and filed a false license reinstatement application using his New York State license.
To request reinstatement of his Professional Certificate, according to the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) web site, Smith was required to submit a cover letter with his name, mailing address, last 4 digits of his social security number, date of birth and personal email address along with an official transcript in an unopened mailer and a copy of his active professional certificate (i.e., his New York State license) and verification of 3 years of satisfactory experience within the last 7 years.
Those last 7 years, from January 1, 2015 back to January 1, 2008, cover the period when Smith bounced from school to school in New York: Assistant Superintendent of the City School District of New Rochelle (2005-2008), Superintendent of Pocantico Hills Central School District (2008-2009), Director of Pupil Personnel Services of Troy City School District (2010), Assistant Principal at Leake & Watts, a private school in Yonkers (2010-2014). The question remains, which of these schools would have verified that Smith had three years of satisfactory experience during that 7 year period. The only school that meets the requisite 3 year criteria is Leake & Watts.
Smith was fired in March 2016 by The Baltimore Teachers Network, a charter school operator in the Baltimore City Public School district, based on a three month investigation by Talk of the Sound into how Smith was hired at BTN. The investigation was based, in part, on information supplied by the Maryland State Department of Education, the Maryland Attorney General, the Virginia Department of Education, the University of Virginia and the Baltimore City Public Schools.
The Maryland State Department of Education investigation began in the Spring of 2016 after Talk of the Sound advised MSDE that Smith appeared to have forged a current date onto an old University of Virginia transcript to create the appearance he had a doctorate from UVA. Smith’s doctorate was revoked in 2009 as a result of a UVA plagiarism investigation resulting from an investigation by the Journal News.
On March 28, 2016. Smith was notified by Sarah Spross, Assistant State Superintendent Division of Educator Effectiveness for the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), that she had “recently been made aware of a potential issue concerning your certification with the State of Maryland”, according to documents obtained under a Freedom of Information request by Talk of the Sound.
On January 1, 2015, you requested that your expired Advanced Professional Certificate be reinstated. In addition, you requested that a doctoral degree (Doctorate of Philosophy) be added to the new certificate. You indicated that the degree was conferred on May 18, 2003 and provided the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) with transcripts to support your reinstatement request, including a transcript from the University of Virginia. Your reinstated certificate, which includes the doctoral degree, was issued on June 3, 2015 and is valid from January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2019.
MSDE recently contacted the University of Virginia to confirm whether the doctoral degree was, in fact conferred. The Office of the University Registrar informed MSDE on March 4, 2016 that you did not receive a Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Virginia.
Smith was given until April 15, 2016 to respond in writing to the charges against him and provide any additional information or documentation that MSDE should consider before making a decision on suspending or revoking Smith’s Advanced Professional Certificate. Smith failed to respond to MSDE.
MSDE Professional Certificate application form states that any person who makes a misrepresentation or falsification of a material fact is subject to the penalties of perjury. A person convicted of the misdemeanor of perjury in Maryland is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 10 years.
On October 7, 2016, Dr. Karen B. Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools in Maryland notified Freddie Dean Smith that his educational certification was terminated.
“Effective immediately,” wrote Salmon, “I am revoking your Advanced Professional Certificate.”
Salmon cited Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 13A. I2.05.02C(2) and (3): “a certificate shall be suspended or revoked if the certificate holder willfully and knowingly makes a material representation or files a false report or record about a material matter in an application for a certificate; or fraudulently or deceptively obtains a certificate.
“In my view,” Salmon wrote, “your actions in misrepresenting that you had been conferred a doctoral degree from the University of Virginia as part of your reinstatement request meets the requirements of the regulation.”