HUNTSVILLE, Ala - Tom Sisk, who was superintendent of Limestone County Schools between 2012-2019 is facing backlash at his new job in Bristol, Tennessee.
Sullivan County Commissioner Mark Hutton says he's been approached by concerned community members in relation to Sisk's qualifications and how he's handling the district.
Sisk has used "Dr" before his name on several bios, listings and on LinkedIn. However, he does not appear to have a PhD from an accredited university. In the past, he has listed Ashwood University, which is known to be a fake diploma mill.
The university/website is based in Pakistan. The website reads, "Get accredited life experience degrees online for what you already know."
"Imagine how shocked I was," said Sisk in a phone interview with our sister station WJHL-TV based in Johnson City, Tennessee.
Sisk says he spent hundreds of hours learning the art of Numismatics (currency/money studies) from two individuals who have since passed. Web searches did not indicate these men were accredited by or affiliated with any university.
"They filed on my behalf. So that I had my diploma and my credentials. I didn't research it. I relied on others that guided me through the process," said Sisk.
Limestone County School Board members say they were not aware of the fake diploma and maintained they didn't hire him because of a PhD.
Sisk's application to Limestone County did not include a PhD but his bio does. The same can be found in Tennessee.
"Maybe I had inadvertently help to contribute to that," said Sisk.
Outside of the expertise a doctorate degree proves, it's seen as a negotiating tool to earn more money in many fields. Sisk claims he took a pay cut going to Bristol.
At least one board member is siding with Sisk.
"That wasn't part of his employment. He does have a degree in that area. I guess if he wants to use the name doctor, he has a right to do that." Nelson Pyle, the Chair of the Bristol Tennessee City School District.
To be clear, Sisk does not appear to have a PhD. He is expected to address the school board on the issue on Monday. In the meantime, Limestone County has not yet replaced Sisk with a new superintendent.