“It’s a mirage. It’s smoke and mirrors, nothing more, nothing less.”
That’s how one former FBI agent, who specialized in investigating diploma mills, summed up a website for Stamford Hill University.
The school “doesn’t exist,” said Allen Ezell.
NBC 7 asked Allen Ezell to look into the school after three teachers at Serra High School questioned whether their principal’s Ph.D. was from a legitimate school. They have filed a complaint with the San Diego Unified School District’s Office of Quality Assurance.
According to his resume found online, Vincent Mays says he received his Ph.D. from Stamford Hill University.
Ezell also discovered what NBC 7 found: there was no record of the school from the U.S. Department of Education, no record of the school from the Florida State Department of Education and no business licenses, now or in the past.
The San Diego Unified School District released this statement about its vetting process:
“San Diego Unified fully investigates the teaching and instructional credentials of all our teachers and principals. Our policy is to verify only those aspects of an applicant’s background that relate directly to their qualifications to teach or serve as an administrator — time in the classroom, state certifications, etc. We do not research additional academic credentials that are not related to their eligibility to hold the position for which they have applied.”
It stressed “Doctor Mays has a bachelor’s degree from Seton Hall, a Master’s Degree from Montclair State University, more than 25 years in the classroom and as an administrator, and a certification to serve as a teacher/administrator in the state of California.”
Since last week, NBC 7 has been asking Mays for comment. The district has said Mays will not talk about this, because he feels it is the doing of disgruntled employees.
Numerous comments have been posted to NBC 7's Facebook page regarding our stories.
“To me, it's kind of like cheating,” said Kim Nguyen, a parent of a student at Serra High.
Another parent, who says he thinks the principal is doing a good job, said he wants the district to get to the bottom of this sooner, rather than later.
“They hired him. It's their job to take care of it, and they need to set an example for our kids, other parents, staff,” said Dan Sehlhorst.
Get in on the discussion here.