5 of 7 Aurora Public Schools board members want Eric Nelson to resign over resume discrepencies

AURORA, Colo. - By a show of hands, the majority of the Aurora Public Schools Board of Education wants board member Eric Nelson to resign.

Nelson, who is also running for State Representative for District 42 in Aurora, has been the focus of Denver7 reports questioning his resume, specifically his education credentials and his military service.

At a school board meeting on Tuesday night, board president Amber Drevon asked other board members if they agreed that Nelson should resign his seat. Five of the seven board members raised their hands. Nelson and Barbara Yamrick did not.

The board stripped Nelson of his position as board secretary and asked that he not take part in non-board school events.

"I have no intention of resigning from this board. The people of Aurora elected me to do this job and that's exactly what I'm going to do," said Nelson. "Furthermore, I find it profound and unnecessary for the Board to ask me to step down from my position as secretary and be removed from committing a school assignment, when my duties are clearly being fulfilled without incident, regardless of my personal life."

Drevon asked Nelson to provide proof to Superintendent Rico Munn backing up his resume.

"In order to save time, money, further distraction and to provide the Board time to appoint a replacement member for the upcoming school year, I am hopeful that you will submit your resignation to me by the end of the week," said Drevon.

-- Questions about Nelson's military background -- 

Questions about Nelson’s military service came up after a report by the Colorado Statesman focused on a photograph of Nelson in a decorated Air Force uniform that was reportedly posted on Nelson’s Facebook page. That photograph has reportedly since been taken down. 

Denver7 showed the photograph to the Air Force, which tells us the photograph shows Nelson wearing 10 ribbons on his uniform.  The Department of Defense confirms Nelson was an active duty Air Force member from April 16, 1998 to June 18, 1998, but said they have no awards or decorations on file for Nelson.

-- Questions about Nelson's Education -- 

Nelson's campaign website and his Aurora School Board biography notes that he earned "a Master of Social Work from Northwest Nazarene University." Denver7 contacted the school, which had no record of Nelson.

Last week, Denver7 Reporter Marshall Zelinger obtained a photograph of Nelson's diploma that Nelson sent via text message to the The Aurora Sentinel and The Colorado Statesman.

Zelinger confirmed multiple problems with the diploma.

  

(PHOTO: The Aurora Sentinel)

  1. The crest at the bottom middle is misspelled. (It says "Notthwest.")
  2. School officials stated that they offer a "Master of Social Work" but not a "Master of Science."
  3. The social work degree has only been around since 2002, but the diploma states 1999.
  4. Magna Cum Laude is a designation for undergraduates.
  5. The cursive paragraphs reference "Glassboro College" in "Glassboro, New Jersey." Glassboro was a school until 1992 when its name was changed to Rowan College of New Jersey.
  6. He would have been 20 years old in May of 1999.

There are also questions about his education at the University of Colorado-Denver.

"He also sent me two emails to show as proof of his teaching at University of Colorado Denver, which has no record of him," Zelinger stated.

One was a recommendation letter from an assistant professor in the Ethnic Studies Department, who said Nelson "has been employed in various teaching-related positions and was readily available when called upon."

The other was an email from the University in November 2014 entitled, "Welcome to the University of Colorado Denver," with a user account for the school's portal.

Nelson has a Democratic primary for House District 42 in Aurora. He's facing Dominique "Nikki" Jackson on the June 28 mail-in ballot. The winner will face Republican Mike Donald for the seat currently held by State Rep. Rhonda Fields.

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