The CEO of a charter school organization in Hartford has resigned following revelations that the academic credentials he had claimed in school materials, biographies, and legislative testimony are untrue.
The Hartford Courant reported that Michael Sharpe resigned this weekend as head of FUSE, the Family Urban Schools of Excellence, and the Jumoke Academy charter organization. FUSE managed Hartford’s Jumoke Academy at Milner, an elementary school that used the Jumoke model. In 2012, FUSE was founded to further promote the Jumoke model.
The Hartford Public School system will now take over control of Milner.
Milner Elementary School has received $2.6 million in extra funding from the state's Commissioner's Network, according to the Courant.
Michael Sharpe has a criminal record, and went by the title of "doctor," despite the fact he had not completed coursework for a Ph.D. or doctorate from New York University, as listed on published materials. He pleaded guilty in 1989 in a federal corruption case in California, served two-and-a-half years of a five-year prison sentence, then returned years later to prison for a violation of probation.
Sharpe told the Courant that he never kept his past a secret, and had "atoned" for his mistakes.
Hartford Superintendent Beth Schiavino-Narvaez, who starts on July 1, said that she will be examining each school as part of her transition process into the school district, paying close attention to Milner.
At a press conference on Monday morning, Schiavino-Narvaez said, "I understand that there's strong leadership in place [at Milner] in terms of the principal [Karen N. Lott]," she said, "and that will provide stability as we move forward. I commit to partnering and having strong central service support and partnership with that school, as I do to each and every school in the Hartford Public Schools, but know that I will look carefully at the progress and the context of that school as part of my overall transition work into the system." Listen to her comments on Milner below:
FUSE oversees three charter schools in Hartford, one in Bridgeport and received state approval to run a charter school in New Haven. FUSE is also expanding to Louisiana.
Allison Ehrenreich contributed to this report.