Bombshell Email Chain Exposes Design Thinking Academy’s Board For Failure To Report A Crime & Kendall Massett’s Involvement In The Cover-Up

After the News Journal reported yesterday that Design Thinking Academy was closing a week earlier than expected, new documents showcase the amount of cover-up that was going on at the Delaware charter school that won $10 million dollars from the XQ Institute.  The cover-up concerned a federal grant for funding that allegedly involved fraud by at least four employees who were terminated for their actions.

The email chain, seen below, is from Matthew Sullivan to Kendall Massett to Paul Miller to Stephanie Silverman.  What makes this very chilling is the communication from Delaware Charter Schools Network leader Kendall Massett.  She advised the school NOT to put the reason for the termination of four employees who were allegedly involved in federal fraud by falsifying a federal grant application.  Matt Sullivan, a former News Journal reporter, appeared to be doing some type of work or guidance for Kendall Massett as evidenced by his correspondence to her.  I was unable to determine if Sullivan was guiding Massett as an individual or in his capacity as a Director of Creative Ops for a company called Short Order.  Paul Miller is the President of the Board of Directors for Design Thinking Academy.

It is important to note the date of the email, December 5th, 2018.  On December 20th, the Delaware State Board of Education voted to renew Design Thinking Academy’s charter for another five years.  On December 5th, prior to Sullivan sending the below email to Massett, the Charter School Accountability Committee recommended the charter school’s renewal.  Massett, who serves on that committee as an ex-officio non-voting member, did not inform the committee about what was going on at the school.  Nor is there any record of her doing so between December 5th and December 20th when the State Board voted for the renewal.

It is apparent there was a systemic cover-up at the school concerning the criminal actions that took place with the grant application.  They clearly did not want the general public to find out about this.  Sullivan’s comment about the “usual blogosphere” tells this writer he was speaking about this very blog as there aren’t too many active education bloggers left in Delaware that write about these types of actions in schools.

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On December 14th, 2018, the Delaware Charter School Office posted a public comment concerning DTA’s charter renewal.  There was no discussion of this during the State Board of Education’s decision to renew the school which I find a bit alarming.  What is the point of public comment if it is not discussed in a decision to renew a school?

What disturbs me the most is Kendall Massett’s role in all this.  The Delaware Charter School Network is a non-profit company in Delaware.  At heart, they are a lobbyist organization.  While I do not know the responsibility of Massett to report crimes as the leader of that organization, given her ties with the Delaware Department of Education and the fact she sits on several committees, it should give anyone pause to see that she has intimate knowledge of crimes and does not make those public.  It throws her credibility out the window when it comes to her role on the Charter School Accountability Committee.

It is not my job to ascertain guilt or innocence.  As always, I serve to shine a light on activities that are in the public’s interest and a right to know.  If I had my way, none of this type of activity would go on in schools.  At the end of the day, it should always be about students first.  But the sheer amount of cover-up and non-transparency that goes on in Delaware schools demands a light be shown on it.  Education is the bedrock of our children’s future.  But Massett’s role in attempting to block charter school audit legislation that would give greater oversight into financial improprieties at Delaware charters is very concerning given her ability to serve as a voice for charter schools AND being in a position to cover-up for their crimes.



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Kevin Ohlandt

I am a proud parent of a son with Tourette's Syndrome and several other co-morbidities. I write on this blog to educate other parents so they know a bit more about not only special education, but all the really bad things that are happening with public schools in Delaware and the USA. We are all in this together, and if our children aren't able to advocate for themselves it's up to us parents! We need to stop letting companies run our schools, and demand our children get a proper education. Our Departments of Education in our states have become weak with fear from the bullying US DOE, and we need to take back our schools!

11 thoughts on “Bombshell Email Chain Exposes Design Thinking Academy’s Board For Failure To Report A Crime & Kendall Massett’s Involvement In The Cover-Up”

  1. Anyone who attended this school & had children at this school knows there are problems. All schools have problems .

    Knowing Stephanie Silverman & dealing with her directly I know this is sour grapes from her with edited documents. And yes, documents given to you have been edited. Stephanie Silverman has an ax to grind with members of DTA. Unfortunately, you are giving her a stage that she doesn’t deserve. If you read the XQ documents, she knew the teachers were not using the XQ methodology. Yet Stephanie Silverman did not change it, in fact, she took Design Thinking & STEM away from the school daily. Stephanie Silverman knew she was not going to have a job & she conveniently leaves out she signed off on that “fraudulent grant” as well. She was losing her job for multiple reasons including non-compliance, non responsiveness to parents & lack of availability & empathy for students. Not to mention she single handedly shut down social emotional aspects of the school. This is just to name a few.

    Perhaps you should consider the source & their objective. The school had some problems but nothing like what this site is making it out to be.

    This site, with the claims being made, is doing nothing but causing harm to the students who attended DTA. You keep saying you don’t want to harm students, yet you are repeatedly. Especially during their last weeks of school & final exams.


    1. Given that you are being anonymous (which I do respect), it is hard to give context to your claims about Stephanie Silverman. I am guessing you are someone very involved with the school if you know who had or didn’t have sign-off power on the grant. What proof can you offer that documents have been edited? Do you have the original emails or letters? My email is and if you have proof of this please send to me and I will gladly publish those.

      Those are some very bold claims about Ms. Silverman. What proof can you offer in regards to that? Are you disputing the fact that Matt Urban used his board seat to have the school enter into a no-bid contract for his own company to make money from the very same school?

      What harm has been committed to the students that attended DTA? The school is closing and I had absolutely nothing to do with that decision. Nor has my articles affected funding (to the best of my knowledge). The school decided to close the school a week early, not me. The school decided to close which had a considerable effect on students. Maybe not seniors so much but certainly everyone else.

      My questions at this point are 1) When will the board go public about why the school closed early, 2) What did the DOE know and when did they know it, 3) Who was involved in the fraudulent grant and why were four teachers fired for it, 4) Why did Kendall Massett and Matthew Sullivan advise the school to cover this matter up, and 5) How much money have personnel, board members, and administrators profited from this school at the expense of students?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Overit! You are talking out of your ass!!!! The documents presented are authentic and not edited – and you know it! Tell Paul Miller, Rebecca Collins, Kendall Massett, Leroy Travers, and Mr. innocent on the outside, John Carwell, and the rest of the corrupt low life’s to stop playing games!

    Mr. Ohlandt, correction, the individuals fired from the school were administrators, not teachers! And yes, they needed to be fired, they each confessed to accessing a federal grant using false credentials and represented themselves unlawfully.

    Overit, as far as your comments about Stephanie, bullshit!!! Stephanie did her job, was the only one who knew design thinking, and was making the teachers accountable. And by the way, Stephanie was lied to when the board, by means of Rebecca Collins, lured her to the school. And no, she was not going to be terminated, the board needed her to play nice with XQ to sustain the $10 million grant. XQ stuck around because of Stephanie and immediately pulled the grant when she resigned. Why? Because she knew her shit and was not going to bow down to low life’s, like you “Overit!”


    Why did the board chair appoint Rebecca Collins to close the school? He knew she signed into a federal grant portal, from the luxury of her home, and represented herself as the schools CFO. Does he manage her money? I hear she is wealthy and gets off on belittling underlings.

    Why did Kendall meddle? Is it because Rebecca sits on her board? Maybe Rebecca is a high contributor to her non-profit?

    Why did Leroy Travers do nothing? Is it because he is good friends with Kendall? He did sit on her board. And why did he call Stephanie Silverman to have an employee terminated, not the four, another employee? Why did he go out of his way for this particular situation but chose to ignore blatant fraud?

    Mr. Ohlandt, continue on, expose all of them!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think the DTA hired exactly who they thought they did in Stephanie Silverman. An intelligent strong willed woman with what appears to be unwavering integrity that walked into a complete dumpster fire of a situation and was the only one smart enough to do the right thing and somehow find her way out. By the way, I’d come off as quite miserable and uninterested/sympathetic in my job or the students if I was being threatened by board members that were aware of fraudulent activities, major conflict of interest issues, and was misled and uprooted by an offer to join a school that was obviously in a vicious downward spiral before she arrived. I commend Stephanie for her fight. Doing the right thing can be quite a thankless pursuit. It’s sad to see we’ve become so consumed with our own self preservation that doing the right thing, even when involving children, takes a back seat to ones own interests.

    I do however LOVE Matthew Sullivan’s email. “Whatever we do, from this point on, don’t mention fraud, anywhere. Off record in public or private.” You mean….LIKE EMAIL?!?! When are people like this and politicians going to learn to pick up the phone or discuss these things somewhere in private?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Visit the Design Thinking Academy website before it “disappears,” and go to the “School Board” tab, where you can access board meeting documentation, including audio recordings of DTA board meetings. In the February 2019 meeting, you can actually listen in on an open discussion where those terminated for the federal grant are asking the board to change the reason for their firing, because they can’t get jobs, since their letters indicate the reason for termination as “falsifying a federal grant!” February 2019 meeting, audio clip 70:12-87:00. The terminated employees actually showed up at a public meeting and made a public comment on recorded audio requesting the board rewrite their termination letters! And then three board members vote to have a discussion about it, as if it is an idea worth entertaining!

    Liked by 1 person

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