The president of the Aurora Public School Board says she will ask board member Eric Nelson to resign at Tuesday night’s meeting.
That request comes following accusations that Nelson may have made up portions of his resume, including sections about his education and military service.
“Many community members have expressed concern about the allegations,” board president Amber Drevon said in a statement. “While the allegations about Director Nelson’s past are troubling, there is nothing in these allegations that would legally disqualify him from serving as an elected board member. As such, the board does not have the legal authority to overturn the decision of our voters who elected Director Nelson to the school board.”
However, Drevon goes on to say that the board has serious questions about Nelson’s conduct that the board would like him to answer.
Drevon said she will also be asking district administration to remove Nelson’s biography and pictures of him in military regalia from the district’s website until he provides evidence they are based in fact. She also plans to ask the board to suspend Nelson from his duties as board secretary and as board liaison to schools and community groups.
“Finally at tomorrow’s meeting, because of the serious nature of these allegations, I will express my personal opinion that in the interest of not distracting us from the work of serving students, that Director Nelson should immediately resign from the Board,” Drevon added.
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)
- The crest at the bottom middle is misspelled. (It says "Notthwest.")
- School officials stated that they offer a "Master of Social Work" but not a "Master of Science."
- The social work degree has only been around since 2002, but the diploma states 1999.
- Magna Cum Laude is a designation for undergraduates.
- 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.
- 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.