Rodel’s CEO Dr. Herdman Sent An Email Re: Rodel Article, My Response & Challenge


To understand the context of this article, you need to read this one first.  It will take a while, but it’s worth it!

From: Paul Herdman <>
To: “” <>
Sent: Thursday, November 20, 2014 9:12 PM
Subject: Connecting

Someone forwarded me your blog post on me. Did you ever think to call me to verify any of your information? At base, your basic accusation that Rodel is making money off the system is absolutely false. I suppose you can write what you want but if you actually have an interest in telling/learning the truth, eg my first teaching job was as a special needs teacher, then I’d be happy to actually have a conversation. But I don’t think it’s fair to make false claims about a person’s character or intent and then post it without actually verifying what you wrote.

Again, happy to engage face to face rather than through the blogosphere .

Paul Herdman

Sent from my iPhone

And my response to Dr. Paul Herdman:


Thank you for reaching out to me. You asked if I ever thought to call you to verify any of my information. I did research based on public information available on the internet or information that has been written by other organizations or individuals. I formed a theory based on this data, and formed an opinion based on it. But for the most part, I was just presenting information that is widely available for anyone to see. I very much have an interest in telling and learning the truth. I write articles based on information I find or information that is given to me by multiple sources.

I was not aware your first job was as a special needs teacher, as that information was not on your public LinkedIn profile or any other material I looked at. I know Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy was a special education teacher in one of his first jobs as well. I do not have a high opinion of him, as I’m sure you well know if you bothered to read my over 400 articles on my blog. You have been mentioned before on my blog as well, so I would encourage you to find out my positions on matters before I am judged for not telling the truth.

I don’t think it is any type of secret that Rodel has been a very active participant in the charter school movement in Delaware. To those who read information on the education reform movement, it is painfully obvious what the true agendas are here. And that is the complete and utter destruction of the public school system as it was set up prior to charter schools. You all but said so in your TEDxDelaware speech last month. We may agree that there is room for improvement. However, Rodel and yourself (as a representative of numerous other organizations and their committees, boards and task forces over the past 10 years) have been instrumental in being a “catalyst” for certain education reforms. These “catalyzing moments” set up the production of data that the Delaware Department of Education and Governor Markell have used to hurt schools, educators, and students.

As well, my number one concern and priority with Rodel and yourself, as I have read much of your commentary on the subject, is the charter school movement in Delaware. If you did any research on me, you would know full well how I have come to this point. I have a special needs son who, in my opinion, was psychologically abused at a Delaware charter school. I am not sure why they denied him an IEP when he CLEARLY qualified for one, but this happens in many charter schools in Delaware. As well, the enrollment preferences for a system based on “parental choice” is an oxymoron, in my opinion. How can any school have any type of preference, unless it is clearly indicated (such as Gateway, Positive Outcomes, or Charter School of Wilmington), and ask discriminating questions on their application? The charter school lotteries are not public events, so nobody can ascertain how they pick applicants. Statistics show exactly how many special needs children are served (or under served) at all the charter schools in the state, and Rodel supports and helps to build the charter schools, therefore I am against Rodel vehemently. To be in the position you are in, as well as the Delaware DOE, you would have to be blind not to see the reality. And yet, you, Rodel, Governor Markell and the Delaware DOE turn a blind eye to this reality.

I’m glad you told me you were a special education teacher. This makes what you and Rodel have done even more perplexing. These situations have caused pain and suffering that no family should have to go through. I would love to talk to you about all this. And I think we should do it in a location where you can see the fruits of your labor. Somewhere the impact of Rodel is being felt every single day. I think we should meet seven times, in seven different locations. I will meet you face to face at the following locations, for 6-7 hours each day, preferably between the hours of 8am to 2pm, on any Monday to Friday, but not on a holiday, weekend or when kids might be off: Bancroft Elementary School, Bayard Middle School, Stubbs Elementary School, Warner Elementary School, Shortlidge Academy, Highlands Elementary School, and Gateway Lab School.

I know we would have a lot to talk about, but we wouldn’t want to inconvenience any of the students or educators in these excellent education centers, so we can talk and help out. We can get to know these students and their educators. I firmly believe standardized test scores do not give anyone a clear snapshot of students in the classroom, so this is our chance to see exactly what is going on in these priority schools and the charter school in Newcastle County with over 1/2 of it’s student population as special education. You don’t even have to come alone, you can even bring Kendall Massett, Governor Markell, and Secretary of Education Mark Murphy with you. I’m sure the folks at these schools would love to talk with you as well.

Since we would have so much time to spend together, feel free to bring all financial information for any non-profit company you have been involved in or are currently a part of. If you sit on their board, please include their financial information as well. Since non-profits state they will give financial information to the public if they ask, I would also like to see all information on the hedge funds Rodel invests in. I would like clear documentation on how much Rodel has invested in these hedge funds going back to their start and their returns, and since the Rodel Pebbles AA Multi-Strategy Hedge Fund is obviously a hedge fund created by Rodel, I would like a list of all investors involved in that hedge fund as well as the returns Rodel has received from it. Now I know these are off-shore accounts, but you did ask if I had an interest in learning the truth. Oh, and I also need to know the reason Rodel gave the DE State Board of Education $10,000.00 in fiscal year 2013. I’m sure I’ll have lots of other financial questions.

One thing I did want to clear up was an item on your résumé I was very confused about. On LinkedIn, you wrote that you were a “Senior Policy Analyst/Undersecretary for Massachusetts Governor Weld”. But on the paper you co-wrote in 2000, entitled “Are Charter Schools Getting More Money Into The Classroom: A Micro-Financial Analysis of First Year Charter Schools in Massachusetts”, you had in the biography that you “worked in the Charter School Office in Massachusetts”. I was a bit confused on the two contradictions. So if you could set the record straight, that would be super.

If you’ve read other articles on my blog, you would know I’m also a big fan of transparency. So since this is a state-wide public matter and you are a very public figure, I will be putting your email and my response in an article. As you write many blog articles for Rodel, and thousands of citizens of Delaware have read the article, you must understand that we owe our readers the truth, not follow-up, closed meetings with no visible transparency.

I’m looking forward to meeting with you at the priority schools and Gateway Lab School. Thanks a bunch, and I await your response!

Kevin Ohlandt

15 thoughts on “Rodel’s CEO Dr. Herdman Sent An Email Re: Rodel Article, My Response & Challenge

  1. Make certain you ask him about his homegirl Val Harris and the hiring of a CIncinnati councilman, out of a job at the time, Greg Harris, to run his pet school board infiltration project: Voices 4 Delaware Education. He ran 3 candidates and got smoked in all three races. He was following Skipper’s clarion call from the previous Chamber of Commerce speech.

    Also, ask him about the time he queued my 2011 speech up from the State’s series of lies about the CSD school board to remove 20+ teachers from 2 schools, including Stubbs, to his “class” at Leadership Delaware and all but cussed me out in absentia.

    I have met with with Dr. Herdman. He does not care about anything but his own agenda. He may pretend to listen, but it is obviously only to get people to soften or back away from attacking his wrong headed and evidence-less plans to “Reform” Delaware schools via charterization and privatization.

    He, and his FOR PROFIT organization is a sham and a disgrace. I honestly feel bad for his employees, working for such a morally bankrupt organization and all.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. As a parent of a Gateway Lab School student….and with the issue we are currently facing, I appreciate the support and the press you are giving us. Gateway is a school with great kids and great things happening–we should be given a chance to continue to prove that.


    1. Dawn, even the DOE considering any action is tragic. It just goes to show even the most vulnerable of students are nothing more than chess pieces for this farce of a DOE. It’s all about charter schools, believe it or not, and how they can move them around to make more $$$.

      I may try to get more information on this and see what the driving force is here.


  3. Isn’t it interesting that these ed-reformers truly believe that if they taught special needs kids for one or maybe even two years that casts them as experts? In their book do something for as brief a period as possible and you can tell the rest of the world how to do it….unbelieveable…..


  4. As a Gateway Lab parent we invite Mark Murphy and Paul Herdman to visit Gateway Lab School. With both being former special education teachers ,if they saw what was going on there ,that school charter would be reinstated. I have emailed Mark Murphy with contact information and believe you need to visit a school and make a truly informed decision, the children that attend that school deserve that.


  5. Sanjay,

    I would never submit a school to a visit from those two with its life on the line.

    They are school closers. It is simply what they believe. Their knowloedge of SPEC ED sadly does not ovverride their ideology of accountability at any cost.

    Rodel is a soulless monster. The DOE is their spawn.


  6. Reblogged this on Exceptional Delaware and commented:

    It’s been 50 days Dr. Herdman, and I haven’t heard a word from you in regards to this invitation. It still stands. You were so anxious to get in touch with me after the initial Rodel article, but you have been very silent since I sent my invitation to meet at the priority schools.


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