Apparently no one has ever told a Brooklyn principal that there’s no future in fronting, especially when it comes to lying on a resume or your fraternity membership. Lewis Franklin Thomas III is gaining a reputation as a liar. Thomas was previously fired from education jobs after his resume proved to be a fake. He lied about being a principal (when he was just a teacher), he’s also lied about holding staff jobs with Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
What actually caused his lies to unravel can be accredited to a simple handshake.
On top of lying about his resume, he also lied about being a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. Tim Goler, an Alpha member and Cleveland educator, said he sussed out his lies in 2005 when he attempted to give him a handshake, the education news site Chalkbeat reported.
“He’s a con artist, come on,” Goler told Chalkbeat. “People exaggerate their résumé all day. But his stuff was just so blatant, it was almost pathologic.”
But lying on his resume hasn’t prevented Thomas from finding another job. Thomas is now in charge of Urban Dove Team Charter School, a transfer school in Bedford-Stuyvesant where he oversees 182 students at risk of not graduating from high school.
Thomas also denied having been forced out of the Cleveland principalship for résumé discrepancies. He refused to say what other schools he led in the past, though the Urban Dove website says he had “nationally recognized successes” at those schools.
But Urban Dove, where Thomas was hired as principal last summer, isn’t the first place to have taken Thomas in after his chaotic exit from the Cleveland school.
From Feb. 2009 to June 2010, Thomas worked as a program director for Phase 4 Learning Center, a nonprofit that operates alternative education centers in Pennsylvania. The company’s CEO, Terrie Suica-Reed, said that Thomas’s deception while working for her company “was enough that he had to be released from all duties and all association with Phase 4.”
“I would listen to the warning signs,” Suica-Reed said.
In New York City, Thomas served as a “principal-in-residence” for New Visions for Public Schools from March to June 2011. The nonprofit then tapped Thomas to be the principal of its first high school, the New Visions Charter High School for the Humanities.
New Visions spokesman Tim Farrell said that Thomas was a part of the school’s “start-up team” but left before it opened that fall, and would not comment further on his departure.
A biography circulating during his second campaign also caught the eye of some former employers for stretching the truth. A copy archived on a website that collected election information includes his claim to a doctoral degree from Howard University, which the Plain Dealer debunked years earlier.
The New York Post attempted to reach out to the school, but didn’t receive an official response. One teacher did have a few words to say. “He does a good job here. He’s trying to help out these kids,” he said, declining to give his name.
I take it back, maybe there is a future in fronting.