Student Journalists Get a Shock While Researching Principal

Amy Robertson has since resigned
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2017 4:37 PM CDT
Updated Apr 6, 2017 2:00 AM CDT

(Newser) – The hiring committee at Pittsburg High School took Amy Robertson's list of credentials—including supposed master’s and doctorate degrees—at face value. But not the school's students, whose investigation has since led to their new principal's resignation. After Robertson was hired for the job at the Kansas school last month, with an annual salary of $93,000, six student journalists writing for the school's Booster Redux newspaper began to dig into her past—only to find things "just didn’t quite add up," one student tells the Washington Post. For example, Corllins University, where Robertson claimed to have been educated, was accused of selling degrees, had no known physical address, and wasn't accredited by the Department of Education. Robertson told the students she attended Corllins before it lost accreditation, but she also "presented incomplete answers, conflicting dates, and inconsistencies in her responses," the Redux reported.

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Robertson, who has lived in Dubai for the last two decades, told the Kansas City Star last week that she wouldn't comment on her credentials because the students' "concerns are not based on facts." It was "red flags" about her time in Dubai that turned up during an electronic search of her name that prompted the students' full investigation; initially, one of the student journalists was planning to write a standard article introducing the students to their new principal. Ultimately, Robertson resigned Tuesday after she was unable to verify an undergraduate degree she said she received from the University of Tulsa, a Redux adviser tells the Post. The students are getting plenty of praise for their investigative work from professional journalists. The school superintendent, meanwhile, says it was up to the school board to review Robertson's credentials before approving the hire, which it did. (Read more Kansas stories.)

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