Mansfield Superintendent of Schools Brenda Hodges announced today that she will “retire’’ from her position after being accused of plagiarizing a graduation speech.
Parts of Hodges’ commencement address were remarkably similar – word for word in some instances – to a speech Admiral William McRaven delivered to the University of Texas at Austin’s graduating class this spring. Hodges said she was inspired by a speech from an unidentified Oklahoma pastor and denied copying McRaven. Recent alums called for her resignation.
In a statement posted on the Mansfield school district’s website, Hodges maintained that parts of her speech came from a the pastor’s commencement address and were used with his permission. She apologized for not crediting him.
Despite her professed innocence, Hodges then submitted her resignation, effective June 30, 2015.
“I do not believe the school system can continue to make the progress it has made if this issue remains a distraction,’’ Hodges wrote. “As a result I will be submitting my resignation to retire.’’
Starting August 30, Hodges will be on leave while “receiving medical treatment for a longstanding injury.’’ She is expected to remain the superintendent through the end of June 2015.
The Mansfield Public Schools did not immediately respond to a request for comment.