Educators react to discovery of forged education documents by ELHS principal

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Kennedy Robinson

Empty seats in an East Lansing High School classroom.

East Lansing High School principal’s departure following falsified documents spurs reaction from educators and community members.

On March 7, it was discovered that the principal of East Lansing High School Shannon Mayfield had fabricated his academic records, reported by East Lansing Info.  

Discussion among other educators in the Michigan area centered on the characteristics of fabricating higher education credentials.

At Scripps Elementary School and Beckham Academy in Detroit, Bill Batchelor served as principal for more than 20 years before retiring.

“What Mayfield did was he devalued the work of people who have actually put the time and effort into their profession. It is not easy to receive your doctorate degree and it is just a slap in the face to those who have gotten it. It questions your integrity and your ability to do the job you applied for. It is not only dishonest but it speaks to your character. This is a time where I believe the need for educators who show integrity and strong moral values is at an all time high and with these actions he (Mayfield) showed he possesses neither,” said Batchelor. 

Additionally, there were opinions from students in the East Lansing community. 

At Michigan State University, graphic design major Kendall Wynn found it hard to believe that Mayfield could get away with such a falsehood. 

“You would think that before he (Mayfield) was hired there would be an in depth investigation into his credentials especially since he was put in such a prominent position at East Lansing high school. I can’t believe that it took the district so long to realize that his credentials were not what he made them out to be,” said Wynn. 

Patricia Williams is a former preschool instructor at the Hartford Head Start Program in Detroit. 

“When dealing with the educational system, all you can do is hope that the people assigned to teach your child are qualified and have the right credentials to guarantee their success. With the fabrications he provided to the East Lansing school district, Mayfield thoroughly violated that, and you can only hope that he will never have the chance to do something similar again,” said Williams. 

Mayfield assumed the position of principal of ELHS on July 1, 2022. Mayfield has prior experience in law enforcement as well as other administrative positions within schools.

Mayfield submitted a letter of resignation on March 10, after the falsified records were discovered by the East Lansing Superintendent Dori Leyko, and the Chief Human Resources Officer Rulesha Glover Payne.

In an email to Payne dated Dec. 12, Mayfield mentioned having earned a doctorate in education in ethical educational leadership from Wayne State University. He had attached documents from the university attesting to the completion of the degree. Yet, according to a memo superintendent Leyko provided to the school board, district officials discovered after speaking with Wayne State’s Registrar’s Office that he made up not just the degree but also the name of a staff member who had certified Mayfield had finished the degree.

The East Lansing school district said that Wayne State University had informed them that Mayfield had not graduated from their institution and had not been a student there since 1999.

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