Hudley-Hayes: ‘I will not be bullied’ out of school board race*
LA School Report | March 10, 2014
In her first public comments since a rival in the LA Unified school board race accused her of falsifying her resume, Genethia Hudley-Hayes told LA School Report today she considers the allegations to be “mudslinging” in an effort “to bully” her out of the race.
“I will not be bullied,” she said, of the charges from Alex Johnson. “My record stands for itself, with 30 years of service in this town. I consider this to be mudslinging, to change the conversation. I believe this was an effort to get me to drop out.”
The accusations intensified earlier today when Johnson, also commenting publicly for the first time, posted a statement on his campaign website, saying she “allegedly established, maintained, allowed and concealed a pattern of academic falsification.”
Hudley-Hayes and Johnson are considered among the frontrunners in a campaign to fill the District 1 board seat left vacant by the death of Marguerite LaMotte in December. The field for the June 3 special election includes five other candidates who have qualified and may include two more if the LA City Clerk’s office certifies them.
Hudley-Hayes said she has been the victim of unfounded accusations before in a school board race when she ran more than a decade ago. “This is 1999 all over again” she said.
In response to specific accusations about her academic record, she said, “There is no pattern here. There is a typographical error.”
Johnson has focused on four instances in which he claims she falsified her resume. They involve what his campaign has described as misleading characterizations of two degrees, her role on a state teacher credentialing commission and her claim to be a state-certified mediator — all supported, they claim, through research into her background.
In response, Hudley-Hayes said she stands by her MBA degree awarded in a joint program with Cal State San Jose (now San Jose State University) and the Center for NonProfit Management in the mid 1970s, and she said she has not listed her honorary degree from American World University, an unaccredited program, in recent memory.
The Johnson campaign has provided LA School Report two documents that include resumes for Hudley-Hayes that mention she received a doctorate degree from American University with a speciality in public education. The Johnson campaign also said it was told by San Jose State that the school has no record of her receiving an MBA — LA School Report has not independently confirmed that with school officials.
In response to Johnson’s saying she was never a member of the the California State Teacher Credentialing Commission (CTC), as her bio on the LAUSD website showed, Hudley-Hayes said she never would have represented that she served on that commission.
“I don’t know how it got there,” she said. “I never looked at it. Maybe I should have.” Instead, she said she worked on a teacher credentialing task force as part of her job with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).
In his website statement today, Johnson said:
“I was shocked and disheartened to learn that the findings from research undertaken in reference to one of the candidates in the race for L.A. School Board revealed a clear case of alleged academic falsification involving candidate Genethia Hayes, a former L.A. School Board President. The research was conducted because my campaign had received unconfirmed information regarding that candidate and there was a need to determine whether the unconfirmed information that had been provided was true or false.
“The research demonstrates that Genethia Hudley-Hayes allegedly established, maintained, allowed and concealed a pattern of academic falsification. I respect Genethia Hudley-Hayes and wish the facts were untrue. However, these are serious allegations. Genethia Hudley-Hayes is the only person who can fully answer the troubling questions involving the credibility of her academic background. Voters want and deserve to know.”
In Hudley-Hayes’ defense, her political consultant, Parke Skelton, accused Johnson of “character assassination and “extortion” for using disputed allegations to drive her out of the race.
“I am shocked that Alex Johnson is engaging in a campaign of character assassination in his campaign for School Board,” Skelton said in a statement to LA School Report. “He hires a private investigator to comb through his opponent’s past for the sole purpose of trying to extort Mrs. Hudley-Hayes into dropping out of the race. All he uncovers is one typo in an old resume. And a statement in some extinct document put out by the LAUSD stating that Hudley-Hayes was a member of a Commission, when in fact she was a member of a Task Force convened by the Commission.
“Mr. Johnson falsely claimed Mrs. Hudley-Hayes did not have a Masters’ Degree and falsely claimed she was not a mediator. Extortion is not pretty. If Mr. Johnson had what he believed was damning information, he could have released it, or called us up for a response. Instead he chose to threaten and bully. And our schools should have a no tolerance policy for bullies.”
*Adds details about doctorate degree.
This report is based on reporting by Jamie Alter Lynton and Michael Janofsky