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NYSED Continues to License Freddie Dean Smith, Convicted Felon No Longer Employed at Leake and Watts, New Police Incident Surfaces

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NYSED Continues to License Freddie Dean Smith, Convicted Felon No Longer Employed at Leake and Watts, New Police Incident Surfaces

December 03, 2014 - 00:13
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Freddie Dean Smith

NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Ten months after Talk of the Sound first reported on the extensive criminal record of Freddie Dean Smith, he remains licensed and "in good standing" with the New York State Education Department, according to NYSED spokesperson Tom Dunn.

Smith, a former Assistant Superintendent of Schools in New Rochelle, also served as an elementary school principal in White Plains and Superintendent of Schools in Pocantico Hills. He was fired from the Pocantico Hills School District in 2010 after he was found to have plagiarized a school newsletter. Further investigation, much of it by the Journal News, revealed that Smith plagiarized about one-third of his dissertation. The University of Virginia revoked his doctorate.

At the time Smith's criminal history became public, he was working at Leake & Watts school in Yonkers. Smith no longer works there.

Another police incident involving Smith has also surfaced.

An in-depth investigation by Talk of the Sound, not yet completed, raises even more questions about how Smith was able to con school districts and educational institutions in three states for two decades.

Meanwhile, the New York State investigation into Smith drags on.

"Matters concerning Mr. Smith remain under review," said New York State Education Department spokesperson Tom Dunn in an email response earlier today. "Until or unless there is a final adverse action against the certificates held by Mr. Smith his certificates remain in good standing and we will not comment further."

Talk of the Sound confirmed from sources at the school that Freddie Dean Smith is no longer employed at the Leake and Watts school in Yonkers, NY.

"Freddie Smith last worked at our organization during the 2013-2014 academic year," said Leake & Watts spokesperson Meredith Barber who stated that by policy the school would not comment or provide the reasons why Smith was no longer employed by Leake and Watts.

When Talk of the Sound first broke the story of Smith's criminal past, the New York State Education Department ducked questions for almost two weeks before Communications Director Thomas Dunn acknowledged that an investigation was underway.

"We have initiated an audit of the records pertaining to this individual and intend a thorough investigation in accordance with the Regulations of the Commissioner 8NYCRR 83," said Dunn back in February. "We will not comment further on matters under investigation."

8NYCRR 83 refers to a Determination of Good Moral Character investigation which can result in a SED license being revoked.

Dunn had already confirmed that Smith was fingerprinted in 2003 and that the NYSED Office of School Personnel Review and Accountability conducted a fingerprint supported criminal history background check against the full 50-state FBI criminal history database.

"Information pertaining to any criminal conviction history he may have was reviewed and ultimately cleared at that time," said Dunn.

While NYSED may have cleared him, the New York City School District and the State of New Jersey did not. He was disqualified for positions in both Districts, with New Jersey going further and permanently barring him from ever applying for any position in any school district in the state.

Smith's criminal history includes convictions for 11 misdemeanor charges -- Assault, Sex/Peeping Tom, Check Fraud, Trespassing without Permission, Driving with a Suspended License (more than 1st), Larceny, Failure to Appear, Stalking, Disorderly Conduct, Driving with a Suspended License (2nd), Obstruction of Justice and 1 felony charge of Eluding Police/Endangering a Police Officer.

More recently, the Greenberg Police Department confirmed to Talk of the Sound that on January 30, 2014, Freddie Dean Smith was involved in a Domestic Incident at the Avalon Complex in Elmsford, NY. No charges were filed but Smith was banned from the building by Avalon Bay and warned by Greenberg Police to stay away from the apartment building located at 28 Town Green Drive.

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