In Malden, some wonder if the superintendent really has a doctorate


Superintendent Ligia Noriega-Murphy has so far not provided proof of her doctorate, although she said she has one.

Malden Superintendent Ligia Noriega-Murphy in 2018, when she worked for Boston Public Schools. ARAM BOGHOSIAN FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

Questions have swirled in Malden lately about whether Malden Schools first-year superintendent Ligia Noriega-Murphy indeed holds the doctorate she says she earned nearly a decade ago, but hasn’t until ‘at present not provided proof of receipt.

Noriega-Murphy began using the title “Dr.” this year on school communications, but withheld his doctorate from his resume last year – an omission that means the title was not checked during his hiring process, according to The Boston Globe.

As a result, some parents and community members have since begun to question the superintendent’s integrity.

“It all smacks of someone not wanting to be responsible,” said local parent Bruce Friedman, who was among the first to ask questions last month. World. “What kind of example does she set for the students?” »

Noriega-Murphy, who has already spent more than 25 years in Boston’s public schools, told the newspaper that she has a doctorate in urban leadership education from the University of Salamanca in Spain.

Her resume indicates that she spent summers in Salamanca between 1994 and 1998 and was in Boston for each school year.

His doctorate title has been used in academic articles, news articles and BPS communications dating back to 2015, according to the World.

She told the newspaper that her doctorate, which she obtained in 2013, was under a “former married name”, but declined to state that name due to a prenuptial agreement requiring her “not to using the surname for financial or personal “profit”. by association of names.

Her ex-husband was a member of a wealthy Spanish family and paid for the degree he was awarded, albeit under his own name, Noriega-Murphy told the publication. The diploma does not bear her first name and she did not want to give the last name of her ex-husband, according to the newspaper.

“In the ensuing divorce decree, I agreed not to publish or rely on the graduate degree I obtained using his last name. There were financial implications if I violated the prenuptial agreement and the divorce decree,” she said in a statement.

Reached by on Friday, Noriega-Murphy, in an email, declined to discuss the issue, citing her previous statement.

“I am preparing my papers to present to my employer,” she wrote.

According to WorldNoriega-Murphy did not include her degree on her resume because it was not required for the superintendent position and due to a “legal issue” with her estranged husband, who died earlier this year. she declared.

Noriega-Murphy said she had asked her Spanish lawyer to collect the documentation, which she should have before school starts this fall, on World reports.

She did not respond when the newspaper asked why the legal scheme did not prohibit her from informing members of the school committee that she had a doctorate.

However, José María Hernández Díaz, coordinator of the doctoral program in education at the University of Salamanca, told the World there is no urban education leadership program at the institution and that it would be “impossible” for a doctoral student to take classes during the summer months.

Díaz could not be reached for comment on Friday. The office of Malden Mayor Gary Christenson, who chairs the school committee, also did not immediately respond to a media request.

Superintendent Malden’s research was conducted by the Edward J. Collins Jr. Center for Public Management at UMass Boston, according to the World. Because the doctorate was not listed on Noriega-Murphy’s resume, the center did not verify it.

“There was nothing to confirm. She never claimed to have the degree,” Michael Ward, director of the center, told the newspaper.

Noriega-Murphy said she believes the questioning of her credentials stemmed from the city’s teachers’ union.

Earlier this month, the union overwhelmingly passed a vote of no confidence in the superintendent, which the union said was in response to her failure to communicate with teachers and staff before announcing 63 layoffs on last month.

There have also been several incidents where the union says the head of the school tried to make changes that require union input under the terms of their contract.

“These attacks must be seen in the context of the ongoing negotiations between the Committee and the Union” and “my status as an ‘outsider’ in Malden,” Noriega-Murphy wrote to the World.

Noriega-Murphy has won support from some residents, who say the interrogation is xenophobic and sexist. The superintendent is from Guatemala and speaks with an accent, the newspaper reports.

“It always seems a bit funny when a woman of color is asked about her credentials,” Malden school board member Keith Bernard said, according to the World.

According to World.


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