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Brenda Hodges' Resignation Letter

The Mansfield schools superintendent was accused of plagiarizing a graduation speech.

Mansfield schools Superintendent Brenda Hodges' resignation letter. She decided to retire amid plagiarism accusations. Credit: Mansfield schools
Mansfield schools Superintendent Brenda Hodges' resignation letter. She decided to retire amid plagiarism accusations. Credit: Mansfield schools
Mansfield schools Superintendent Brenda Hodges on Wednesday announced her plans to resign amid a plagiarism controversy.

Below is her resignation letter.

Related coverage of the controversy:

Dear Parents, Guardians, and Mansfield Community,

I am writing in an effort to bring clarity and closure to an issue that has thrust the Mansfield community into the media spotlight.

My graduation speech has been the source of much discussion and dissection. As I have said on several occasions, the core thoughts contained in my speech originated from a pastor's 2013 baccalaureate address I attended in my home state of Oklahoma. The school committee chair and vice chair have had an opportunity to speak with the author of that speech to discuss the message that he delivered. In addition, they have received an email from him, state that he gave his permission to me to use any thoughts or portions of his message. He has stated that he did this with the full knowledge and understanding that I would incorporate his phraseology into the body of a future speech. He noted that he used many different sources for his ideas and themes, including motivational conferences and websites. I did not compose my speech based on any such website or remarks made by Admiral McRaven. I did compose my speech based on a pastor's remarks and my own thoughts on the points addressed. I have since learned that the points raised are fairly commonly addressed in a number of speeches across the country and I surmise that a common speech template is available, since a Google search shows that certain key phrases appear in many other commencement addresses in different parts of the country.

While the source of my speech has been clearly established, it does not excuse the fact that I did not credit home as the source. For that, I apologize.

Moving forward, I do not believe the school system can continue to make the progress it has made if this issue remains a distraction. As a result I will be submitting my resignation to retire on June 30, 2015. In the interim, I will work through August 29, 2014 and thereafter will be receiving medical treatment for a longstanding injury.

It has been my pleasure to have had the opportunity to work with so many of you for the past fourteen years. I am proud that we have successfully achieved our goal of a unified school and town community. I leave Mansfield knowing that under my leadership and together with the support of the administrators, teachers and staff, we have provided Mansfield with a noteworthy reputation for academic excellence.

I wish you and your families an enjoyable summer and a successful school year.

Brenda J. Hodges


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