Election is more than a year away. But Jeff Tilton, who is hoping to take the seat that will be vacated by San Joaquin County Office of Education Superintendent Mick Founts, is already fending off accusations of impropriety in connection with his previous jobs.
In an e-mail to the Manteca Bulletin, a former co-worker of Tilton named Ellen Beaudin, is questioning Tilton’s “intentions of installing Ed 20/20 computer learning programs and Odyssey computer learning programs into the school district.”
Manteca High graduate Tilton is currently the deputy Superintendent of School at New Jerusalem School District in Tracy. He is also a former administrator with the county Office of Education.
Beaudin said both the Ed 20/20 and the Odyssey are “very expensive” and that since Tilton “worked for both of these companies, he may be getting a cut from promoting these computer programs for learning.”
She went on to claim that Tilton “has a history of promoting these programs and the costs of them put the schools in further financial trouble.”
Tilton strongly denied Beaudin’s claims. He said he has “never worked for CompassLearning,” one of the companies, “nor have I ever received a penny from that company.”
He admitted he worked for the other company, Northwest Evaluation Association from 2004 to 2011 but that he has “never received a penny from the not-for-profit since he left on March 31, 2011.”
He also said he worked for Education2020, now called Edgenuity, “for six short months.
“To this day, I have not received any money from Edgenuity since my separation, other than a two-week severance agreement.”
To further bolster the veracity of his statements, Tilton said he was providing copies of his e-mailed response to the Bulletin to “individuals… who can verify” his explanations including one of his co-managers at Edgenuity, Dr. Lisa Bliss.
“Furthermore, I will supply IRS documents to further discredit the allegations from a disgruntled former employee.”
Beaudin of Lake Oswego in Oregon was a teacher on Tilton’s staff while he was director of Educational Programs at the Janus Youth Programs in Portland, Ore., whose main program was Lents Education Center.
When he started at JYP, the program has been running for 40 years and was not accredited.
“It needed an overhaul, including its assessment and curriculum programs. I also cut an administrative position and that did not sit well for staff, especially Ellen,” Tilton said.
After installing Education2020 computer learning programs, which Tilton selected “due to its robust and rigorous program, which included a career technical educational component,” he was able to get Lents Education Center accredited for the first time in its 40-year history. However, because the school has been losing money at that time for the third straight year, it had to close five months after accreditation.
To date, Tilton is one of only two who have made known their interest in seeking the position of county superintendent. The other declared candidate is Gary Dei Rossi, recently retired deputy superintendent with SJCOE. However, Dei Rossi has indicated recently that he is re-considering his decision to run.
Superintendent Founts announced recently that he will not seek re-election in 2014. He said during an interview after last week’s county Board of Education meeting that his decision not to seek another term was to spend more time with his wife, Kristin, who has recently retired from teaching.