One of the three finalists for superintendent named this morning by the Racine Unified School Board had problems in his past that the school board search committee was not aware of.
Dr. Craig Bangtson, former superintendent of the Bartow County Schools in Cartersville, GA, allegedly lied twice on resumes, once for a job he didn't get and once for a superintendent's job in Wisconsin that he held for three years, according to separate news stories relating to previous times he sought a superintendent's position.
-- On Jan. 24, 2004, the Daily Comet of Thibodaux, Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, reported that Bangtson "...was selected as a finalist though his application was incomplete. He failed to include a copy of his undergraduate transcript and proof he was a certified superintendent.
"Those application holes later revealed that Bangtson was asked to leave a top post at a Wisconsin school system in 1989 after an investigation showed he wrote his own letters of recommendation."
Bangtson's resume, provided by RUSD, shows his only Wisconsin employment as that of superintendent of the Unified School District in Antigo, from August 1986 to August 1989. The next job listed in chronological order was as superintendent of the Mt. Iron-Buhl Public Schools, in Mt. Iron, MN, from August 1989 to February 1992.
-- On March 8, 2007, a story in Hernando Today, an edition of the St. Petersburg (FL) Times, reported that Bangtson withdrew his application for superintendent, after he was named as a finalist by the Hernando County school board, when confronted with evidence he'd misrepresented facts on his resume.
His resume stated that he'd worked three years as superintendent of the Bartow County Schools in Georgia, from July of 2002 through June 2005. "But residents and the local newspaper in Georgia told a different story: that Bangtson was hired there in June of 2003, following a yearlong "retirement" between jobs, and lost his job 18 months later following allegations of abusive behavior toward subordinates" A March 19 story said, "Bartow County School District superintendent Abbe Boring was cautioned by the school district's attorney to not reveal too much about why Bangtson left." The story quoted Wayne Blanton, executive director of the Florida School Boards Association, saying that Bangtson left because he earned the reputation, "It was his way or the highway."
Bangtson's resume for Unified's job does not make the same mistake as to his tenure in Cartersville, GA, at the helm of the Bartow district: his resume here lists his time there as July 1, 2003 -- to July 1, 2004.
Asked whether Unified was aware of these controversies, Sue Kutz, chair of Unified's search committee, said, "No, we did not."
Asked whether the board should have been told about them by Dr. Nancy Noeske, who headed the search performed by PROACT Search Inc., of Milwaukee, she said: "Probably." Noeske was "leading the search, and part of the due diligence was to make sure the academic credentials are what they say." PROACT was paid $24,000 for its services, plus expenses.
But she added, "Before we do a bunch of conjecture, let's talk to the candidates and ask them."
Blangtson could not be reached this afternoon. He was booked on a flight to Chicago and is due in Racine tonight before the two days of interviews scheduled by the board Monday and Tuesday.
Our earlier story HERE.
Another finalist got $279,000 to go away. Story HERE.
All three finalists were bought out of their last contract. JT's story HERE.