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Posted on Tue, May 25, 2010 : 9:13 p.m.

Willow Run school board fires student services administrator

By David Jesse

The Willow Run school board fired Laconda Hicks tonight, citing misconduct and violation of the terms of her contract.

Hicks, the district’s student services administrator, had been on paid administrative leave since February. Tonight’s special board meeting capped nearly a month of due process hearings conducted by the board into 15 charges levied against Hicks.


Willow Run school board member Anglesia Brown takes notes during Tuesday's special board meeting.

David Jesse |

The board will conduct similar due process hearings next against former Superintendent Doris Hope-Jackson, who was demoted earlier this school year. No date has been set for those hearings to begin.

Hicks wasn't at tonight’s board meeting and couldn't be reached for comment. She and an attorney have been at the due process hearings, which were conducted in closed session.

Board members voted tonight on all 15 of the charges, including several subsections. A majority of the board said 11 of the charges were proven, tied 3-3 on one charge and said two were not proven. Charge 15 had eight subsections, and board members voted the majority of those subsections were proven.

The board alleged Hicks colluded with Hope-Jackson to defraud the district and misappropriate local and federal money.

They allege the duo colluded to get Hicks more than $36,100 in extra pay by: modifying her contract without notifying the school board; allowing her to abuse the sick day system; paying her extra for attending events outside school hours at a rate of $100 an hour, despite being a salaried employee; and other methods.

The documents repeatedly charge both Hope-Jackson and Hicks “defrauded” the district of money.


In addition, the document alleges they spent more than $300,000 of federal Title I money on the Reading and Language Arts Centers Program.

At the same time, Hicks was researching “Teacher Perceptions of Professional Development Related to Multi-sensory training, using the Reading and Language Arts Centers Program.”

Board President Sheri Washington said the district has not ruled out pressing criminal charges against Hicks.

When asked whether she thought Hicks had committed criminal acts, Washington said, “It’s criminal to steal from children and to deprive them of money that is supposed to be spent on their education.”

David Jesse covers K-12 education for He can be reached at or at 734-623-2534.


Concerned Citizen

Wed, May 26, 2010 : 10:28 p.m.

[*Thank you "Mama247" for the information,:-)!*] The school in which Hicks is said to be enrolled is based in Cambridge MA, (founded in 1971) and obviously trades on the prestigious reputation of the University of Cambridge (founded, incidently,... in 1209),...:-)!) This would be of little note, except for the fact that the pseudo-"prestige" MS Hicks trades on is a factor that lends itself so readily to the corruptive activities with which these women have deceived and financially harmed Willow Run Schools and their students.


Wed, May 26, 2010 : 8:48 p.m.

Thanks mama247 for the doctoral information. I will be contacting Cambridge College to see if they agree with the method (fraudulent)in which she obtained that expensive doctorate. She did NOT get permission from staff, parents, or students to use or share their data with others. I hope the district go after Anaconda (snakelike behavior) for her illegal activities. The employees in WR should call the feds office and request an investigation be done into her illegal activities with Reading and Language Arts Center (RLAC)with federal monies (Title I). Laconda only purchased the RLAC program to get her doctorate degree. She had no interest in HELPING students increase their reading skills. Make calls staff, parents, and students to the feds and Cambridge College. Dr. Hope-Jackson and Ms. Hicks ONLY thought about themselves. What can they gain from WR? Monies and degrees!!! Hustlers in WR. The board need to investigate the Southfield friends that gain contracts from tutoring and professional development at WR. That's illegal too!!! Don't STOP because these people put WR in a DEEP financial situation with their STEALING and LYING!!! Please don't forget to go after Larry Grey and Claudette Blaxton too. They HELPED to deceive and steal monies from WR. Don't STOP, get them, get them!!!


Wed, May 26, 2010 : 3:48 p.m.

In response to Concerned Citizen, Laconda Hicks graduated from a doctoral program in education in late 2009. Her doctoral "research" and PERSONAL educational ambition comprise the substance of many of the charges against her, for which her employment was officially terminated last evening. "Related Content" in David Jesse's article contains details of the charges. The institution from which she "graduated" is Cambridge College "for working adults" (too bad Hicks didn't WORK at WRCS), 1000 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138. It's a shame so much conniving went into Hicks' own "educational" plans and so little actual thought and action into serving the students of WRCS.

say it loud

Wed, May 26, 2010 : 1:58 p.m.

Go hard or go BROKE and that is exactly what will happen if the school board does not roll these educated pickpockers out of the district. Let's remember education first but in remembering that it takes money to do so.


Wed, May 26, 2010 : 12:25 p.m.

This should have gone to the police early, especially if there is payroll fraud. Scooter, I do not know where your info comes from in re to back ground checks. Federal law? I used to do them and I never had a problem. If you conduct them properly, you get a release of information form signed by the applicant. The form asks that all information be provided. Some places have policies that say only confirmation of and dates of employment. But I was able to appeal that and get access to records on several occasions. Badmouthing? The personnel file contains documentation, including complaints (grievances) filed by unions, co-workers etc. Interviews with coworkers will let you find out if people like the applicant or dislike them. Why hire an applicant who no one likes? Sure some people might rave to get rid of a jerk but many will tell the truth to protect their reputation. Its usually not badmouthing, its opinion. What you make apparent to the applicant is that if you cannot get background information, they may not be hired. Thus the impetus to support your request to their employer, perhaps with a waiver of liability if they are not hired based on their records. The best way to evaluate how well a prospect will perform is how they have performed. If you investigate in person, you get a lot of good information, particularly just by reviewing a personnel file. You need to review performance evaluations, attendance records, etc. For any high level job, its foolish not to do a thorough background check, and if former employers do not cooperate, the applicant should not be considered. Passing a background check should be posted on job postings. The due process reason that causes delays is a legal issue. Court rulings dictate that organizations can dismiss but they must provide a due process procedure. Its much more difficult for a dismissed employee to sue if the employer provided due process hearings.

Steven Harper Piziks

Wed, May 26, 2010 : 10:31 a.m.

Actually, three months is pretty fast for an investigation of this magnitude. (Remember that the people conducting the investigation itself are not full-time employees of the district and that they all have other district-related jobs to perform.) It's also standard to put someone on paid leave during an investigation in most sectors of employment because if the investigation comes up empty and the subject of the investigation is exonerated, the subject could sue for back wages plus interest and court costs.


Wed, May 26, 2010 : 10:23 a.m.

Criminal prosecution of these fraudsters should be first on the agenda. They clearly obtained money under false pretenses and conspired together to do so. The victims are not only the taxpayers of the Willow Run District, but the taxpayers of the State of Michigan and the United States. Willow Run receives both federal and state funding. In the same manner as the ill gotten gains of drug dealers are immediately seized (as the proceeds of their illegal activity), so should the assets of these two con artists be seized and converted to cash to repay a portion or all of the money due to WR School District. If, after criminal prosecution and conviction, these two fail to pay their restitution(s), let them join Kwame behind the walls. [How about a little public humiliation thrown in? Make them march in the Heritage Festival parade with signs around their necks "THIEF - I STEAL FROM CHILDREN"]


Wed, May 26, 2010 : 9:33 a.m.

True, Scooter Dog, but with public school districts personnel files CAN be FOIA'd. Which should be SOP for background checks.

scooter dog

Wed, May 26, 2010 : 7:36 a.m.

C'mon people,background checks are only as good as what the previous employer CAN say. Federal employment laws are very clear on what a previous employer can say about a ex-employee. Bad mouthing a ex employed person is out,and if the person doesent give up any personel info,tough luck,take a chance,hope your right. If she was getting extra money why didn't the school board do their job when it first came to light and put a stop to it,instead of waiting so long to do it?


Wed, May 26, 2010 : 7 a.m.

I don't see how she would be forced to pay any restitution without criminal or civil litigation. That would cost the district money. Perhaps they are waiting to parlet the charges against both of them?

Momma G

Wed, May 26, 2010 : 7 a.m.

I agree with Anonymous due to Bigotry, it is ridiculous that the school districts put these "criminals" on PAID leave and it takes so long to fire someone. I think these changes also need to come from the state BOE. This type of activity goes on in other districts, too or they just continue to keep people in jobs because they don't want to waste time & money trying to fire them.


Wed, May 26, 2010 : 5:38 a.m.

Did these people transfer from the Detroit School system? Is the willow run screening process broken?Apparently so.Clean out the human resources department also! Fire these people and prosecute these people and don't send them away with their pocket's full of cash!

Anonymous Due to Bigotry

Tue, May 25, 2010 : 11:06 p.m.

"had been on paid administrative leave since February." This is how corrupt and pathetic public education has become. It takes 3 months to fire someone? 2 months of free pay, massive benefits packages, and a whole month of hearings. Even the criminal justice system isn't this wasteful and inefficient. We can't have public schools who are less efficient than the criminal justice system. Reforming public schools needs to start with fixing all of these barriers that have been put in place to make it nearly impossible to fire someone. If it's this hard to fire someone who's guilty of this level of malfeasance, imagine how impossible it is to fire someone who's merely incompetent.

Concerned Citizen

Tue, May 25, 2010 : 10:08 p.m.

Can anyone please let me know if she IS actually enrolled in an advanced degree program, and if so, at what institution? Thank you! :-)!


Tue, May 25, 2010 : 9:41 p.m.

Laconda Hicks needs to pay that money back to Willow Run Community Schools. Also, she needs to inform the college she was attending on company time and money about her malfeasance. Hicks is a pathetic example of an "educator", who pursues an advanced degree misrepresenting "research" and misappropriating public funds and personnel in her personal ambition. Of course, she WON'T inform Cambridge University (no, not Harvard as she'd alluded!) about her wrongdoing. I hope that someone does..... Undoubtedly, HIcks is going after another job right now, still impervious to care or commitment for the STUDENTS. We appreciate the vigilance of in reporting this lamentable misuse of public money and, moreover, trust. I hope the district pursues criminal charges.


Tue, May 25, 2010 : 8:31 p.m.

Will this fired person be making restitution for funds inappropriately spent? Did note the article mentioned there might be criminal charges