Former New Rochelle Assistant Superintendent Fred Smith Hired Despite Extensive Criminal History

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FredSmith.jpgNEW ROCHELLE, NY -- A former senior official in the City School District of New Rochelle passed a New York State background check and was hired for senior leadership positions by three local school districts despite an extensive criminal record including a felony conviction months before he was hired as an elementary school Principal in White Plains.

Smith currently works as an Assistant Principal at a private school in Yonkers.

Under the Safe Schools Against Violence in Education legislation (SAVE) which became law in 2000, the New York State Education Department (SED) requires all school employees to undergo a fingerprinting and criminal background check through the Office of School Personnel Review and Accountability. The SAVE Law would have applied to Smith at the time of his hiring by the White Plains School District.

Freddie Dean Smith, born January 10, 1967, was hired in 2005 as Assistant Superintendent of Schools in New Rochelle despite records that indicate a dozen convictions for a wide range of crimes including a felony arrest for endangering a police officer. Smith did three stints in jail in South Carolina and Virginia.

His criminal convictions all took place in the Palmetto State where Smith was once on the faculty at South Carolina State University and Virginia where he was a student at the University of Virginia. He has also had numerous violations - speeding, driving without a license, defective equipment, driving an uninspected vehicle - in Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Smith was first arrested in 1988, at the age of 21, on an assault charge. He plead guilty, was fined and sentenced to time in jail.

In 1990, Smith was arrested in Virginia South Carolina on Misdemeanor Peeping Tom charges, a sex crime. He plead guilty in 1991.

He was arrested again and plead guilty in 1991, this time for Check fraud.

Smith was sentenced to 5 days in jail in 1992 after he plead guilty to trespassing without permission.

Smith’s longest jail sentence came after he was arrested and sentenced in 1992 on a charge related to driving with a suspended license (more than 1st). He was sentenced to 50 days in jail, given 6 months probation and fined over $1,000. His license was suspended (again).

Smith was arrested and convicted in Virginia on a series of criminal charges: Larceny (1994), Failure to Appear (1995) Stalking (1999).

Smith was charged with Fraudulent Conversion Property, a Felony, in 1997 but the charge was later dismissed.

In 2000 to 2001, Smith was cited 16 times for a wide range of traffic infractions: Speeding 79/55, Improper Registration, Speeding 43/25, Speeding 74/55, No Operator License in Possession, Speeding 77/65 Operating a Vehicle with Expired Plates, Defective Equipment, No Operator License (Susp-No Notice), Altered Tags, Dr Uninspected Vehicle, Improper Lane Change in a Vehicle, Speeding 80/55, No State Inspection (twice), and Speeding 76/55

It was during this time period that Smith was engaged in the plagiarism which later led the University of Virginia to revoke his doctorate.

In April 2002, Smith was arrested and convicted of Disorderly Conduct.

In November 2002, at age 35, Smith plead guilty to multiple criminal counts including a Felony count of Eluding Police (endangering a police officer), Driving with a Suspended License (second offense) and Obstruction of Justice. Smith plead guilty and was given 1 year probation.

While on probation in Virginia, Smith applied for a position with the White Plains school district and was hired as the Principal at the Post Road Elementary School in White Plains where he remained for two years.

In 2005, Smith was hired as Assistant Superintendent by the New Rochelle Board of Education where he remained until June 2008.

It was during his time in New Rochelle that Smith went to the home of a New Rochelle resident late at night, sought to gain entrance by force and threatened the man and his wife. No charges were filed. Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak later apologized to the resident but Smith kept his job and later received a recommendation from Organisciak for his next job.

In 2008, Smith was hired as Superintendent of the Pocantico Hills Central School District but was “unexpectedly resigned” in November 2009 amidst charges of plagiarism, first reported in the Journal News.

By 2010, his years of lies and fraud began to catch up with Smith.

His doctorate from the University of Virginia was revoked due to plagiarism.

He was fired from a consultant position with the Troy School District in upstate New York after Smith was found to have lied during the hiring process. According to an article in the Times Union in 2010, the Troy Superintendent said Smith claimed to have a letter, which he “read” over the telephone stating that the University of Virginia had cleared him of plagiarism charges when they had not.

His New York State administrative licenses were revoked are not on file in the SED online license lookup database.

Smith sought and was denied a position with the Paterson, NJ school district. He was notified that based on his criminal history, he was "permanently disqualified from employment in any position with a school or other educational institution under the supervision of the Department of Education or with a contracted service provider under contract with said school or educational facility.”

Smith sought and was denied a position with the New York City Department of Education and notified that hiring him would "pose an unreasonable risk to the safety and welfare of the school community.”

Smith later applied for a position with United Parcel Service during the Christmas season and was denied due to his criminal background.

Smith was eventually hired by Leake & Watts, a private school in Yonkers where he is currently employed.

Smith did not return calls or emails seeking comment.

Fred Smith is just one of many current and former employees hired by the City School District of New Rochelle with criminal records or who were arrested and convicted of crimes while employed by the District or both. Many of these employees still work for the District.

RELATED: The Larger Problem with the Freddie Dean Smith Story: How Do Convicted Felons Bounce Around New York State Schools?

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.

Anthony Galletta on Thu, 02/13/2014 - 14:34

So, let me see if I have this right; UPS denied Smith a seasonal position delivering Christmas packages because of his extensive criminal background but the New Rochelle Board of Education employed Smith as assistant superintendent, number two in charge, for three years?

This is a sad realization. I hope someone is held accountable. Whether it be the employee(s) responsible for performing the background checks, the administration and or any current board members who may have been board members during this gaff.

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