Aurora Public Schools investigated a school board member accused of lying on his resume. Here’s what they found:

chalkbeat
Aurora Public Schools board member Eric Nelson in a campaign photo. ( Photo by Nelson for Colorado )

Aurora Public Schools board member Eric Nelson in a campaign photo. ( Photo by Nelson for Colorado )

A private investigator hired by Aurora Public Schools has confirmed what many already believed to be true: School board member Eric Nelson lied about his education and military background, and exaggerated his professional affiliations.

The report comes as multiple board members said Nelson had offered to give up his seat in exchange for conditions they could not meet.

The investigator’s report, released ahead of the school board’s Tuesday meeting, doesn’t include new allegations, but provides the most definitive proof that Nelson fabricated many lines on his resume.

“There were only allegations before,” said school board president Amber Drevon, who ordered the district to investigate Nelson’s background. “With this report, it seems to me that we have the facts.”

Suspicions that Nelson had embellished or falsified some aspects of his resume were first reported by the Colorado Statesman during the state’s primary election season. Nelson was a candidate for a state House seat to represent Aurora.

Nelson repeatedly denied the claims that he made up four degrees, including a doctorate degree in organizational psychology. He went so far as to provide diplomas from each university. But those were debunked, in part because of misspellings or inaccurate information.

The investigator also found that the Air Force has no records of Nelson receiving any awards during his service, while a photo of Nelson in his military uniform displays 10 decorations.

Nelson also is not a member of several organizations such as the Aurora Chamber of Commerce or the Rocky Mountain Association of Black Psychologists, as he claimed to be, the investigator found.

The school board on Tuesday will discuss what — if any — further action it might take in light of the report. The board previously stripped Nelson of his duties as board secretary and removed his biography from the school district’s website.

The board cannot compel Nelson to resign, and he does meet all the legal requirements for his seat: being over the age of 18 and living inside the district’s boundaries.

Nelson has publicly said he intends to finish out his term, which ends in 2017. However, Nelson privately expressed to school board members in July that he had an interest in resigning as long as he had a guarantee that he’d be replaced by another person of color, Chalkbeat confirmed with two school board members. Nelson is African-American.

Drevon on Tuesday said she couldn’t make Nelson that guarantee, in part because she would have no influence over who would apply to fill the seat.

“I did tell him that I was more interested in appointing someone who held his values and position on topics,” she said.

Nelson did not return a request for comment.

Originally posted on Chalkbeat by Nicholas Garcia on Aug. 1, 2016. Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools.