So the AJC is reporting that the School Board, at today's called meeting, has decided to try and have a new superintendent in place by next summer. The bolding for emphasis is mine as are the comments in italics!
DeKalb looks to speed up superintendent search
By Megan Matteucci
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
3:11 p.m. Wednesday, June 30, 2010
DeKalb County schools could have a new superintendent within the next 10 months, if not sooner.
The school board launched the search Wednesday following complaints that it was stalling on finding a permanent leader for the troubled system. However, members still have not decided when they will hire a search firm.
The board initially said it planned to take 18 to 24 months to find a replacement for Superintendent Crawford Lewis, who was terminated in April. He has since been indicted on charges of running a criminal enterprise at the school system.
“The real problem with the system right now is leadership, a flaw in leadership. It was not the system that was indicted, but a couple of individuals,” board member Eugene Walker said. “A lot of people said we had a reign of terror in our system. We need the kind of leadership that will ensure the board, the public and everybody else that we make decisions that are data-driven, sound and transparent.”
The board reviewed a tentative timeline for the search that calls for hiring a search firm in August, interviewing candidates in February and voting on a selection in April. However, some board members said that timeline is still too long.
“We need to speed this up. I think we have been without a superintendent long enough,” said Zepora Roberts, the board’s vice chair. That is right, let's rush this search. So we can find another person you can make sure will protect your family and friends?
Board chairman Tom Bowen said the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which accredits DeKalb schools, advised the board to take its time.
“It was very important we identify the right candidate, as opposed to hiring the first candidate,” Bowen said.
Board member Don McChesney said the 10-month timeline will allow the board to have someone in place before the end of the school year and give the newcomer time to adjust before starting in July 2011.
“We really need to get the right person. I don’t know we can do that in three months,” he said. Barring some unforeseen miracle, McChesney is correct.
Roberts, one of five board members up for re-election in November, said she hopes the board doesn’t delay until those seats are filled. She said some board members have floated names of possible candidates and she is worried that could drive the election.
DeKalb, Roberts said, is also competing with other large systems -- Bibb County and possibly Cobb -- that are currently looking for new superintendents now.
“If we prolong this too long, we will have to get what is left from what is picked by the top,” Roberts said.
Mark A. Elgart, SACS’ president and chief executive officer, said the indictments should not have any major impact on the district’s search. But the system’s size – it is the 27th largest in the nation – could limit the number of qualified candidates.
SACS also advised that DeKalb must be willing to pay a salary similar to other large districts, between $275,000-$300,000, Elgart said. Lewis made $255,000.
After complaints from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, the board agreed to discuss the search in public. It previously met behind closed doors to talk about the timeline and candidate qualities.
Board members agreed Wednesday they would like candidates with experience running a large system or organization, and preferably have classroom experience.
However, board member Jim Redovian said a teaching background is not necessary and he would prefer someone who has experience running an organization with 14,000 employees and a $1 billion budget, like DeKalb.
“I think the number one issue that this system needs is a culture change. We need a superintendent that has absolutely no experience with DeKalb County,” Redovian said. A truer statement has never been said.
Board members also agreed they would like a search firm that seeks out candidates with experience and not just people who are looking for a job.
Bowen said he also wanted to see a candidate who can come in and evaluate the system to make positive changes.
“Someone who can make recommendations to keep the good things we do, but there are a lot of things we do that don’t make sense,” he said. “I want someone who has put in a corrective plan before and actually done it.” Please make this a top priority.
What are your priorities for the type of person you would like to see? If we make a list of qualities, like, say honesty, I will type them up and send them to the Board Members.