State to Investigate FUSE and Jumoke Academy

The state education commissioner is calling for an investigation into the Jumoke Academy and its parent organization, Family Urban Schools of Excellence, after the CEO resigned amid questions about his background and qualifications.

Connecticut Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor has requested an investigation into the “operations, finances, governances, and other issues related to recent revelations regarding Family Urban Schools of Excellence (FUSE) and Jumoke Academy,” according to a release sent from the commissioner’s office Friday.

It comes days after the termination of FUSE CEO Michael Sharpe. It was recently revealed that Sharpe had never completed his doctorate studies, although he has gone by “Dr. Sharpe” for years.

The discovery prompted Hartford Public Schools to drop their three-year contract with FUSE, which had taken over operations at the Milner school in the city’s North End.

According to the release from Pryor’s office, education lawyer and former Waterbury Board of Education business administrator Frederick L. Dorsey will spearhead the investigation.

Investigators plan to interview Jumoke and FUSE’s staff members and governing boards and analyze relevant documents, according to the release. Dorsey will work with the State Department of Education’s Office of Internal Audit to oversee a financial audit of Jumoke Academy.

“We are deeply concerned about recent revelations regarding FUSE and Jumoke Academy. Like all operators of public schools, these organizations have an obligation to meet high standards of organizational governance. That way, we ensure that our students and parents are being served well. I am confident that, working with the State Board of Education, and with the assistance of a professional of Mr. Dorsey’s capability, we can achieve a full understanding of the totality of the situation – and of the next steps required,” Pryor said in a statement Friday.

The State Board of Education will hold a special meeting June 30 at 10 a.m. to discuss the upcoming investigation.

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