Who Is New York-Regents-Charter-Approved Ted J. Morris, Jr.?
On November 23, 2014, the Democrat and Chronicle published an article about a seemingly remarkable 22-year-old, Ted J. Morris, Jr., who had supposedly just received clearance from the New York Board of Regents to open his own charter school, Greater Works Charter School, in 2015.
However, there are a number of issues with Morris and his publicized credentials and accomplishments– lots of issues– all of which point to Morris as nothing more than a fraud– a fraud that NY Regents just granted the right to run a charter school.
For one, Morris apparently did not graduate from the Rochester, New York, School Without Walls (SWW), in 2008, as the D&C article says he did. In response to a post on Morris on her blog on November 24, 2014, education historian Diane Ravitch immediately heard from former SWW Principal Dan Drmacich, who emailed that Morris withdrew from SWW within a year to be home schooled and that Morris received no diploma from SWW.
In this self-gratulatory-albeit-contradictory charity bio, Morris declares himself a “natural born leader” who “broke through the chains of poverty” and graduated from Penn Foster High School.
But there is more.
Blogger Peter Greene researched Morris and discovered, among other elucidating information, that Morris first applied to open his charter in 2010, when Morris was only 18 years old.
In my own investigations of Morris, I came across this redacted 2013 application for Greater Works Charter. I used it to find out his official name: Ted J. Morris, Jr. And wouldn’t you know, I came up with a hit on Linkedin for one Dr. Ted J. Morris, Jr.
(Note: Within hours of my publishing this post, Morris’ Linkedin bio was removed. A mystery, to be sure…. Here he is on Twitter. And a snapshot of Morris’ erased Linkedin page can be accessed here: http://i.imgur.com/xGohi4g.jpg)
Keeping in mind that “Dr.” Morris just lied about graduating from high school, note that on that Linkedin bio, he offers as his postsecondary education info alleged degrees from three institutions (links added): Western Governors University, Bachelors of Science (Human Services) 2008-10; Concordia College, Masters of Social Work (MSW), Non Profit Administration, 2010-12, (note: there is also the online, graduate-degree-offering Concordia College also tagged “university”, but it offers no MSW), and Concordia University Chicago, Doctor of Education (EdD), Education, 2012-14.
I found no evidence of a dissertation submitted by one Ted J, Morris, Jr., as recorded on ProQuest or UMI (both dissertation search engines).
Let us move on to Morris’ “experience”:
According to his Linkedin bio, Dr. (ahem) Morris “founded” Greater Works Charter in Rochester in June 2010, not the D&C-announced 2015. Also, since June 2012, Dr. Morris has been a “consultant” for the Morris Firm. Morris notes that the Morris Firm has him in the “Rochester area.”
There is a “Morris Firm” that specializes in criminal defense and personal injury and is located in St. Louis and Dallas, but not in Rochester, New York. There is a Morris and Morris law firm specializing in personal injury in Rochester, but it does not go by the name “the Morris Firm.”
From 2013 to 2014, Morris was supposedly the “director of operations and finance” of Sparq Rochester, which has a Facebook page identifying the organization as a nonprofit. However, according to the nonprofit 990 search engine, citizenaudit, there is no 990 filed for this “nonprofit,” and it is not identified on the nonprofit search engine, 501c3lookup.
Morris also lists himself as “assistant CEO” of Hikok Center for Brain Injury in Rochester from 2010 to 2013 (when Morris was 18 to 21 years old, mind you). However, this archived, May 2011, listing of key personnel for the Hikok Center for Brain Injury in Rochester and Newark– surprisingly– has no mention of a Ted J. Morris, Jr.
From 2003 to 2010– when Morris was only 11 to 18 years old– he was apparently “chief operating officer” of Christian Faith Centers in Rochester. I found no listing for such an organization in Rochester. It might have closed down once 18-year-old Morris left to begin the Rochester charter that was not yet approved but that his Linkedin bio claims he started anyway….
There is more on Dr, Ted J. Morris, Jr’s., Linkedin profile. Feel free to peruse. And here is Morris promoting himself “for charity.” However, allow me to note one more Linkedin tidbit for our edification:
Mr. Ted J. Morris, Jr., is seeking the “opportunity” to “join a nonprofit board.” I assume he means a profitable nonprofit– not just a Linkedin shadow.
A corporate reformer well on his way.
Looks like NY Regents intends to grant the fraudulent Ted J. Morris, Jr., his wish.
By the way, I emailed Morris using the address on his 2013 redacted charter application to ask him about his high school diploma. Here is the text of my email dated November 24, 2014:
Hi, Ted. My name is Mercedes Schneider, and I am a public school teacher, researcher and writer from Louisiana. I am interested in your application to open the Greater Works Charter School in Rochester.
Specifically, I am wondering about your declaring that you graduated in 2008 from Rochester’s School Without Walls. Former SWW Principal Dan Drmacich says you voluntarily left to be home schooled.
Did you graduate from high school or receive a graduate equivalency diploma? If so, what year and institution name are listed on your diploma?
Also, from which specific Concordia school did you receive your online bachelors?
If I receive a response, I will add it to this post as an update.
I won’t even bill Regents for the investigation.
For a November 25, 2014, update, click here.