Last summer I wrote an extensive profile of charter school leader Michael Hazelton that chronicled his work at three different Southern California charter schools in four years, all of which were crippled or closed by the time he walked away. They suffered deficits or battling accusations that Hazelton improperly enriched himself or corporations he founded.
Since then I’ve been trying to keep track of Hazelton, who was running a tutoring center with his wife in North County when our story ran. A few months later I learned that someone named Michael Hazelton was working as a project finance manager at Aspire Public Schools, an Oakland-based system of charter schools that serves more than 6,000 students statewide. It sounded very similar to the work that Hazelton did in the past.
I have repeatedly called Aspire officials over the past month to confirm whether it was the same Michael Hazelton who had worked at the Encinitas school. Though staffers were able to confirm that someone named Michael Hazelton worked at the school, I have not been able to reach anyone to confirm that it was the same person. I’ve also left a message for Michael Hazelton at Aspire, but to no avail.
Then a reader pulled up this profile on the professional networking site LinkedIn. The profile is for a Michael Hazelton in the San Diego area. It links back to the tutoring center that Hazelton and his wife founded and cites his new position at Aspire. It also includes biographical information that is consistent with our writing about Hazelton, such as his graduation from the University of California Irvine and attending a principals center at Harvard University.
Same guy? I can’t say for sure without formal confirmation. But if it’s not, that’s one heck of a coincidence and someone’s out there making bogus LinkedIn pages.