EMERYVILLE — Stephen Wesley, the Emery Unified School District superintendent who resigned Wednesday over allegations he falsified his resume, publicly apologized Thursday for embroiling the district in controversy.
Wesley's apology came during the public comment portion of the previously scheduled district Advisory Committee meeting, a day after school board trustees voted unanimously to accept the superintendent's resignation.
Wesley admitted his mistake and said he still wants to be part of this community, according to school board vice president Kurt Brinkman.
Brinkman said Wesley told the crowd at the meeting that he was on his way to Arizona when he decided to head back.
"That took a lot of guts. I have more admiration for the man than I ever had before," Brinkman said.
Wesley's appearance, which was not scheduled, didn't come as a surprise to supporters, who credit Wesley with strengthening the tiny district wedged between Oakland and Berkeley.
"He was a great administrator," Brinkman said, adding that Wesley improved the culture and morale of the two-school district of nearly 800 students. "But he got caught up in something that I still don't fully understand."
The Emery District board hired Wesley in 2007 in part based on the false claims that he had a Ph.D. from Columbia University and a master's from the University of Chicago, and that he attended the Principals' Center at Harvard University.
"I appreciate his honesty and that he took responsibility for his actions," said Brynnda Collins, a member of the Emery District Parent Advisory Council. "I appreciate the fact that he moved the district forward, and his heart was in the right place."
Emeryville City Councilmember Dick Kassis said, "This has been a difficult meeting. The way we have gotten through this is indicative of the city's sense of community.
"We will," he added, "pull through this and take the next step."
Angela Woodall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-208-6413.