Admin w/Phony Credentials

Ever get the feeling your school director, principal or another key figure at your International School lacks the credentials they claim to have earned? A group of students at a prestigious International School had that exact feeling about their incoming Head of School and set out to find the truth.

Quite possibly the impostor could have successfully flown under the radar, but his aggressive attitude and relentless obsession with severe consequences for minor school-rule infractions motivated students to look into his history.  They had had enough!

An exhaustive internet search finally revealed Mr. X was not who he claimed to be.  In fact, Mr. X was not even his real name! Having been fired from a school in Canada for falsified credentials, Mr. X was now masquerading as Mr. Y. Needless to say he was gone from his new International School in just a few days’ time.

If you have evidence that an administrator at your school does not hold the credentials required for his/her position, be aware of potential consequences. Proceed with caution! Openly demonstrating you know what he or she is hiding could be detrimental to your job. You never know who’s friends with whom. Plus, the Board may already know what’s going on and not even care and/or be hiding that information.

A prudent approach to exposing an impostor may be to alert Board members using an anonymous email address, or by dropping a physical letter into their home mailbox. Be wise and protect yourself from unscrupulous revenge seekers.

Enrolling in a couple of singing classes does not make a vocalist. Likewise, a principal training class or leadership workshop does not make a leader. As with every industry, the International School circuit has its fair share of upper management who DO have valid degrees/admin credentials but lack the true strength of character, vision and fairness to be leaders. So, before you jump to conclusions and stick your neck out, consider you may simply be dealing with pure incompetence.

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29 Responses to Admin w/Phony Credentials

  1. Peter Atkins says:

    I’m all for the scrutinising of admins’ credentials. However, surely teachers themselves should be the focus of attention. TEFLers are swarming around the International School circuit employed as “teachers.” Not only have they not earned the right to this title, they are dragging down the wages of those of us who have.


  2. Fool me once says:

    Last year I found myself ensnared in an extreme case of what we are discussing. This so-called director manipulated and fabricated information to mislead teachers, families, board members, and investors. By October it was clear that this man was up to no good, so the teachers did some investigating, the kind of investigating that should have been done by the board. We discovered the director in question was an international con man who had defrauded schools all across Asia and had now in Europe. He had a halfway decent-looking LinkedIn page, but a few phone calls to the named schools would have revealed he had left under less than honorable, even criminal circumstances.

    In the end, the school was left a smoldering wreckage awash in lawyers, investigators, and the Chinese mafia. All the money had been stolen and he had flEd the country, presumably laughing all the way to the bank. I am happy to say I now work in an excellent, reputable school, but believe me when I say, I only signed that contract after a comprehensive check on the school leadership.

    To those who say it is not the teacher‘s responsibility to look into a director’s credentials, you are correct. However, we cannot assume the board has done their job. The lesson I have taken away is to generally trust people, but only after due diligence.


  3. Wizzy says:

    Last year I worked at a school where the principal was complete fraud.
    It is a horrible to go through. I started noticing when he had no clue about how to benchmark students. Then the story that he was administrator in the UK? How could that be? He was a supply teacher up till the time he went abroad.
    Oh, and a MA Mathematics Instruction?!! Bologny. Phony bologna!!! I checked his university and the does and never, ever offered the degree—-ever!
    And lastly, he promotes the least qualified people!! Why?! I know…. because if he promoted a real teacher, he would be discovered. Hmmmm. So unqualified, uncredentialed nursery school teacher is now the teacher trainer there!! I went to one her workshops. Nothing happened. She just showed how play London Bridge game. (To KS 2 teachers as well) And Mr Fraud, Loop Cards. That was the best they could do fir PD session.
    Thank god I left!


  4. no-one. says:

    Had a “principal” in Burma with no credentials – these creeps are all over developing countries with profit hungry and ignorant owners!It is infuriating when they get big fat salaries for being fakes and usually obnoxious to boot.


    • Anonymous says:

      Me too! Worst leader ever. Authoritarian and insecure person. The owner was ignorant and the Director had one foot in the grave, gross misconduct in education.


  5. Catherine Blackmore says:

    Do you really think they worry about that in Kuwait. Most of the teachers in one school I worked at had no qualifications that would be accepted in England or Australia etc but had taught there for years in KG 1 &2 and some in lower primary. They were usually married to locals Kuwaitis and very protected. Qualified staff would be sacked or asked to leave if they raised any questions about them. Thousands of well qualified teachers work in places and have no official visa each year due to many factors. It really is a money making venture that is approved by education authorities in the country because of who they are!


  6. Anonymous says:

    At my school it is far worse as our admin are now almost all promoted to admin from within. These are totally unqualified people who got their positions by being part of the “in” clique. So everyone at the top, from year level leaders to coordinators, etc. are untrained. They have extremely unbalanced ideas which they suddenly make the school policy! It is miserable and very unbalanced. At no time do they seem to reflect upon the needs of the students. They certainly do not consider teachers’ ideas or suggestions. Teachers are leaving in droves from this school. It was not always this way as previously school had well qualified admin. Now cost cutting and rapid expansion are the rule, hence unqualified leadership. None of them would be in leadership positions in their home countries due to lack of qualifications. I have never seen anything like the mess at my soon to be, former school.


  7. Cheri Bokern says:

    There are some of us who’ve risen through the ranks, and have become administrators, de facto. Teachers, do you feel supportive of us (we who were thrust into authority, but sometimes without any option?)

    Sent from my iPhone



    • Anonymous says:

      This is an impossible question to answer. Support has to be earned, it is not something you are entitled to just because the circumstances of your rise to power were not on your own terms. I’d hope you are fair to your staff since you were once a teacher yourself. That being said, I’d have hesitation working at your school all together if they had no choice but to force authority on an unwilling teacher because a suitable and qualified candidate could not be found.


  8. routeman68 says:

    My predecessor in a headship claimed to have two doctorates and a bachelor’s degree. I was intrigued by his DLitt degree, which is normally honorary, not earned. His personnel file and his application for a professional membership were discrepant, and led to me checking up with real university registries and the websites of fake universities. It turned out both doctorates (the other was a PhD) were from bogus universities, and the BA was from a real university in UK, but had been made on a photocopier by putting a slip of paper with Bachelor of Arts on it over a teaching certificate. Years later, in Malaysia, I discovered that the Malay owner of a school, not mine, had a doctorate from a bogus university in Ireland. I should add that the corporate management which owned my school were bad enough without fake degrees! I think there is a lot of this about.


  9. Beverly Gerbase says:

    Worked for a school in Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam where the guy running the school had a Tesol cert and nothing else……..he’s still there and qualified people are gone……..go figure…..In Vietnam all you had to do was go to Bangkok and get fake credentials which was exactly what this guy had. What a joke. He openly bragged to staff about where to get credentials. Happens a lot!!!!!!! Be aware.


  10. Jean Gurr says:

    There is another dimension here-without the training AND experience a teacher trying to be an administrator does not know what they don’t know !! …and that is what unscrupulous owners want…in my case in Banfgladesh when I discovered major ongoing student file discrepancies the fight was on…and I had to leave as I would not comply with their wishes…eventually they found an inexperienced ex-welder with a BEd and no principal training to run the school for two years their way !


  11. Julian Edward Penstone says:

    There is more of this in the International circuit, I believe, than most of us think. It’s easy to “hide out” and move on at the end of every contract. I know of a newly hired admin position now who has clearly read the instruction manual but understands the philosophy behind it so little that it is obvious that they have little experience (while claiming a lot).

    A quick internet search has revealed absolutely nothing bar a newly created Linkedin page with zero information. I don’t know about everyone else, but I believe this is a massive red flag.If you don’t have a digital footprint it has to have been erased, or you are not who you claim to be!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anders says:

      I think this is a bit short-sighted. I choose to stay off of most social media (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, IG, etc.) because I view it as pointless and a security risk.

      Liked by 1 person

    • routeman68 says:

      I would agree re LInkedIn etc.Not everyone uses these, and some of the positive CV material on LinkedIn may well be a bit gilded. Qualifications can be checked out directly with awarding authorities. I am always suspicious about doctorates unless the person comes over as educated and not just a pompous ass.


    • JW says:

      I agree. Even students cannot find me online by my choice.


  12. Mark says:

    Just a point, why would a teacher bother to back-ground check their principal? #1 – isn’t not your job. #2 – there is probably something else going on with a teacher who’d want to do that anyway. I am sure many will disagree with me.


    • Phil says:

      Stupid post. I’m sorry. If you are a trained teacher with experience, it is pretty easy to tell when someone is a fraud. I worked with one, and we all knew it. As a result of this fraud, the school was a mess. Why research you say? It is more about teachers. It is about Child protection as well. A fraudulent principal can do great damage to the academic and social development of hundreds of students. I say you have an ethical responsibility to report it. Yes, we are only teachers, but our work matters. This is an extreme analogy, but if you were a nurse or technician in a hospital and you knew the doctor was a fraud, would you still ignore it?

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Anonymous says:

    I worked for an HOS who claimed to be an All American football player from Amherst. A quick check and not true. Good HOS though. Just not an All-American football player.


  14. Only Me says:

    Many countries require proof of certification for a visa. I didn’t realize it was possible to be hired under false pretenses. How do they even do it? That takes tremendous moxie. Not saying I admire it, but wow! I wouldn’t get a wink of sleep the entire time I was under contract. Probably not the rest of my life!


    • routeman68 says:

      Some people have enormous brass neck. I expect if you get through one contract in a senior post without being outed as a fraud, with a good reference you can go on to others and your confidence will grow!


  15. Teacher says:

    This recently happened at a new school in Kuwait where a British woman posing as holding a PhD while running her own unlicensed ‘academy’ was appointed director. The ‘Dr’ as she liked to be known, was finally outed and fired. Her ‘vision’ academy continues ……


  16. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately the demand for principals and other admin fuel this problem as more and more new schools pop up and owners often reward their biggest yes men. Unless the situation is changed and educational boards everywhere start cracking down, it will never stop.


  17. Anonymous says:

    I worked with someone who’s only credential for being principal was completing the PTC program. I’m sorry but two summers in London and a certificate do not make you qualified to be admin.


    • BigDaddy says:

      That kind of training is good supplemental training, not primary training. As an administrator myself, I do go to the PTC, and I value the experience. But I have a post-graduate degree in school leadership and practicum and internship training prior to becoming an admin. If administrators are hired without credentials and experience, they need mentoring from qualified leaders.


  18. omgarsenal says:

    These impostors need to be flushed out of the system aggressively. Imagine what would happen if a teacher or resource person was found to have false credentials…..they’d be out faster than you could say ¨impostor¨, so why should we avoid exposing impostors in admin.? Any school worth its salt wouldn’t support or protect an impostor so your advice to ¨be careful¨ and cover your ass in case the Board or owner are in on the scheme is both spurious and unethical. Shame on you as your are part of the problem. Who would want to work for an unethical and immoral institution that ¨protects¨ cheaters and impostors…..don’t the kids,parents and teacher deserve better?


    • Anonymous says:

      “Any school worth its salt…” I think this is the key phrase here.

      Those quality schools will work to hire experienced, certified people in their school. I have worked at a school and been part of the process where a teacher was released for lack of credentials. It was the right decision. I have also worked in a school where people were hired as teachers, but later admitted they had no credential and the admin knew that on hiring. The second example wanted to appear as high level, but ultimately, it was clear that the were not.

      Frankly, to many places simply want be open and make a buck. Yes, kids and parents deserve better, but the owners/admin don’t believe that.


    • omgarsenal says:

      Its all about the money and the ¨status¨ of being a school-owner. I saw this crap in Mexico and Kuwait where ill-educated nitwits could open up a ¨school¨, hire some young foreign teachers and resource people and start filling their bank accounts with tuition that was expensive and unmerited. It is fraud, as is hiring and protecting unlicensed or under-qualified and undocumented staff.


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