City school board member resigns over questions about credentials

A recent appointee to the Baltimore City school board resigned Thursday, according to the mayor's office, which said it had discovered inconsistencies in his resume.

Anthony A. Hamilton said he held a master's degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, according to biographical information on the board's website and a news release from Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Gov. Martin O'Malley announcing his appointment to the board in June.


But a Hopkins spokeswoman said the university never awarded him a degree and a review of the school's database did not turn up a student by that name.

"We just have no record of him obtaining that degree from Johns Hopkins University," said Hopkins spokeswoman Tracey Reeves.


The Maryland State Board of Education is responsible for vetting all candidates for the city school board before they go to the governor and the mayor for a joint decision on the appointment.

The state will change its vetting protocols for school board members, education department spokesman William Reinhard said Thursday. The Hamilton resignation marked the second time in four years that a city school board appointee's educational background was found to be in question.

Reinhard said the department "will verify directly with the bestowing institutions all postsecondary educational credentials."

City school board candidates currently are required to give the state an official or unofficial copy of their transcripts from the university or college that awarded them their highest degree.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a statement Thursday that "the process to identify a qualified candidate to replace Mr. Hamilton on the school board will include a rigorous search."

Questions about Hamilton's educational background were first raised in a report by WBAL-TV.

Attempts to reach Hamilton were unsuccessful.

Officials confirmed that he is employed by the city Health Department as its education coordinator for the Office of Youth Violence Prevention, a position that connects at-risk youths with education programs.


Rawlings-Blake said the Health Department is conducting an internal investigation and she has ordered the department "to take appropriate action as needed."

City records show that Hamilton has been employed by the city since 2008 and earns a salary of $52,200.

In 2011, Hamilton ran unsuccessfully for the District 2 seat on the Baltimore City Council, running on an education platform. According to a video interview, he advocated an elected school board.

The biography also said that Hamilton serves as an adjunct professor at Baltimore City Community College. A spokesman for the college said Hamilton had worked as a GED instructor in 2011 but was not currently employed there.

The news release sent by the mayor and the governor also says that he began his career as a Baltimore County teacher. His biography said he was once a school administrator.

Baltimore County schools spokesman Mychael Dickerson said it was unclear whether he had worked for the school system. School officials found a nondegree-holding substitute teacher named Tony Hamilton Jr. from 2000 to 2003 but no Anthony A. Hamilton listed as a teacher.


His biography and the news release also said Hamilton had earned a degree from Coppin State University. A spokeswoman for Coppin would not say whether Hamilton graduated from the university, citing its privacy policy.

A spokeswoman for O'Malley referred questions to the state education department.

The vetting process for school board members was changed in 2009 after a Baltimore Sun investigation found that the city's school board president, Brian Morris, had not been awarded a degree from the University of Maryland, College Park that was listed on his official resume. Morris, who had given up his volunteer position on the school board to become the deputy chief executive officer of the school system, resigned from that job after five days.

The lack of a degree, which resulted from two incomplete classes in his final semester and which Morris said he had been unaware of, was not discovered by city and state officials when they vetted him for the job.

The vetting process calls for a selective check of employment and education credentials by the education department's Office of Human Resources and a criminal background check by the attorney general's office.

Applicants must also answer a series of questions about whether they have paid their taxes, been convicted of a crime, have a civil judgment against them, or have been disbarred or had a professional license revoked.


Citing personnel policy, state education officials would not say whether Hamilton submitted a false transcript or the necessary paperwork required to complete the application. Reinhard also said that the department could not say whether it verified Hamilton's degrees directly with institutions.

But of the vetting process, Reinhard said, "That is where we know there is an issue."

Baltimore Sun reporter Luke Broadwater contributed to this article.