PITTSBURG — Questions continue to be raised concerning the credentials of newly-hired Pittsburg High School Principal Dr. Amy Robertson, most recently in the PHS student newspaper The Booster Redux.
Pittsburg Superintendent of schools Destry Brown continues to maintain the concerns are groundless.
The chief concerns seem to revolve around the lack of accreditation of Corllins University, an online school from which Robertson — who is currently working in Dubai — United Arab Emirates, received both her master's and doctoral degrees in the mid-1990s.
A Google search reveals several articles and websites warning of scams involving Corllins.
Both Brown and Robertson say she received her degree before the university lost accreditation.
Moreover, in order to work overseas, as Robertson has her entire career, an instructor or administrator’s credentials must be validated by the United States Department of State — which hers were as recently as 2011.
Another bone of contention has been a claim of a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Production from the University of Tulsa in 1991. There have been accusations that TU did not offer a BFA at that time but merely a Bachelor of Arts. Robertson, in a phone interview with the Morning Sun, said it is exactly the opposite — the BFA was offered at the time, but is no longer available.
Moreover, Brown said there is no functional difference between the two degrees, and both are irrelevant to whether or not Robertson can obtain licensure in Kansas.
“In order to get her teaching license … that bachelor degree from Tulsa doesn’t even apply to her teaching license because it’s a theatre degree,” he said.
Another concern has been a lack of teaching experience inside the US. However, according to Brown, the American Schools at which Robertson has been both teaching and an administrator are mostly for expatriate American students and use American curricula such as Common Core.
The bottom line, according to Brown, is that Robertson must obtain a license in Kansas in order to have the job, and if she does not obtain the license then she won’t have the job.
Moreover, Brown said, 24 people were asked to evaluate Robertson’s candidacy for the position and rate her from 1-5 with 1 being the worst and five the best. Of those 24, 22 rated Robertson a “5.” Additionally, while it is not a requirement that the Board of Education interview a candidate for principal, in this case Brown asked them to do so, and immediately upon conclusion of the interview a motion to hire was made and passed unanimously during the March 6 meeting.
Brown said all candidates were subjected to a rigorous interview process in which, not just the references included on resumes were called, but other places of employment were contacted as well.
Brown said Robertson worked as an educator, administrator and currently runs her own educational consultant firm. She plans to move back to this area to be closer to family.
Robertson is moving to Pittsburg this month. She will replace current PHS Principal Jon Bishop who is slated to become principal of SEK Interlocal 637.
Brown said he remains confident Robertson is the most qualified candidate.
“I wouldn’t risk my reputation to sabotage candidates and set up a position,” Brown said in a previous interview. “I can’t do that, and it would not be smart if I did.”
— Patrick Richardson is the managing editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @PittEditor.