Sunday, October 17, 2010

Board Meeting 10/15/10

One of our regular readers sent us minutes from Friday's board meeting about the selection of a search firm. Enjoy! If anyone has information to add from this meeting, please send them to us at -  And feel free to send your meeting notes, minutes and reports as well as good news about your schools and DCSS as a whole.

All board members were present except for Pam Speaks.

Other than BOE members and staff, there were six people in the audience—poor attendance, but not surprising since you couldn’t even find a notice of this meeting on the DCSS website.

Two firms were presenting their proposals for the Superintendent search. They did it in alpha order so Georgia School Board Association (GSBA) went before Ray & Associates. Each firm is allotted 90 minutes. Timed portion included opening statement; presentation; question and answer period with pre-submitted questions from moderator Lydia Taylor; Q&A from board members; and finally a closing statement.

They started late, so I could only stay through the first presentation. Perhaps someone can link to the audio for the second presentation.

Here is a summary of the GSBA presentation

Lydia Taylor went over the competitive sourcing method for the RFP

  • Posted two ads in the Champion News (legal organ of DeKalb Co.) on 8/19 and 8/26
  • Posted RFP on DCSS website from 8/19 to 9/15
  • Posted it to the Georgia Procurement Registry which sends it to the 142 district vendors registered in the state of Georgia
  • Sent it to 14 vendors from the DCSS vendor registry
  • Sent it to 3 Superintendent trade associations (AASA, GSBA, and one more I couldn’t get)
  • Notifications were sent to national firms who have had successful placements at the most populated school districts, including McPherson & Jabosen (Nebraska); Heidrick & Struggles (Atlanta) and 2 others I didn’t get
  • Notification sent to Georgia Department of Education

Notes from Georgia School Board Association presentation:

  • Cost of search $15,000
  • Bill Sampson spoke on behalf of GSBA, but Don Rooks would actually be managing the search. He couldn’t be there, but he lives in Metro Atlanta and has led more than 100 successful searches.
  • The GSBA is not a headhunter. They have no stable of candidates. They have a database of people who have requested to be on their mailing list, and they include these individuals in the search notification. They are currently involved in 3 searches.
  • They have a vetted, transparent search process. They cast a wide net and accept ALL applications as well as nominations.
  • w Average number of candidates for a GSBA led search: 30-40. We would be their biggest system.
  • Average number of interviews in first round: 5-8, but will extend first round if those individuals are not a good fit.
  • The process:
  • GSBA does an online survey for the community to give input on what they would like to see in a superintendent.
  • GSBA holds public forums to explain the process and solicit feedback from the community on what they feel should be in the vacancy announcement
  • The BOE establishes the hiring criteria and works with the search leader to develop the vacancy announcement
  • Once the announcement is approved by the board it is posted/sent to the following places:
    • GSBA website
    • National School Boards Association website
    • Mailed to 550 educators and 180 superintendents of GA Schools
    • 850 individuals on GSBA mailing list
    • Ads placed in the following:
    • NY Times/
    • Education Week online postings
    • AASA Leaders Edge Enews
    • National Alliance of Black School Educators
    • They also invite nominations; however it is merely an invitation to apply. This means that if a current board member nominates someone, the search leader will send them an invitation to apply with a copy of the requirements. The individual would still have to submit the full application and go through the entire process like everyone else.
  • GSBA accepts ALL applications. An external committee reviews all applications (committee typically consists of retired educators). Committee divides applicants into three groups—1) contains all qualifications 2) contains some or most of the qualifications 3) contains the fewest qualifications outlined in the vacancy announcement.
  • Each board member receives copies of all group 1 applications, and the board as a whole receives a single copy of group 2 and 3 applications. BOE chooses who to interview from group 1. They can also choose to interview candidates in groups 2 and 3. Search Leader goes over interview dos and don’ts but the BOE conducts the interview. Search Leader is on site but does not interview. GSBA reviews references of all group 1 candidates.
  • Board publically announces up to 3 finalists. There is a state-mandated 14-day waiting period before they can vote.
  • GSBA checks references and does a credit check of shortlist. Federal law states credit check can only go back 7 years. When questioned about D&B check, Bill stated that they don’t typically do it, but they can.

BOE questions:

Womack—stated he wasn’t interested in hiring a current Georgia Superintendent. Asked what the process is if a board member wants to nominate someone such as the former Washington DC Superintendent or other such “person of interest.” GSBA reiterated that they don’t actively recruit people. If there are people of interest identified by the board, they can invite them to apply, but they will still have to go through the whole process. Womack also asked how many in their mailing list are from outside the state. GSBA said it was about 50/50, but most are from the southeast. When questioned about soliciting other neighboring superintendents, he said he has to be careful about “poaching” so they work around it by finding a way to “invite” current sitting superintendents to apply.

Roberts—She stated for the record that she is a board member of GSBA. Asked what their largest school district searches were. GSBA said Richmond and Clayton Counties are the biggest they’ve done (30-40,000 students)

Redovian—asked how they go about attracting non-traditional candidates (business leader, or other non-educator who has proven success leading a large company). GSBA said the board would have to certify that this individual was qualified.

Cunningham—Asked if the issues facing DCSS would discourage qualified people from applying. GSBA said that DCSS is a good system and that these are the same problems facing the rest of the country. He also said that there are quite a few systems in Georgia that are on probation—we just don’t hear about them because they aren’t in the AJC coverage area. Even so, it hasn’t kept them from getting qualified candidates.

McChesney—if a 30,000 student system is their biggest search, will that be a problem? GSBA says no. They have 32 employees who all take part in the search. He also asked about background checks on the final candidates. GSBA said they could do a more thorough search (D&B, etc.) but the BOE would have to work that out with them. They typically do not do more than references and credit and possibly Google/Yahoo search


Anonymous said...

I ran into a board member over the weekend. We spoke very briefly about this. It sounds like the presentation from Ray and Associates was heads and tails above GSBA.
Ray and Associates guarantees their search for two years, GSBA doesn't. R and A recruits. R and A has a whole plan for non-traditional applicants.

Ray and Associates has a whole plan for stakeholder participation that they organize and implement.

Kim Gokce said...

what about the $$$ for R and A? With an "invitation" approach we the happy bloggers could recruit anyone we like. R and R would be able to "poach" area supers, i presume.

Anonymous said...

Ray and Associates will poach. They also said that if there are candidates currently working in GA that meet our requirements, they are few and far between. In fact, they may have said there are none. I think they said the same thing about the South in general.

Anonymous said...

In addition to running a D&B on any businesses that the candidate or their spouses owns, I hope they will also conduct a thorough background search to verify education and other degrees and credentials. There also must be a thorough examination of any potential conflicts of interest.

DCSS can't afford any more scandals.

Anonymous said...

oops that should have been "spouse." Guess having more than one spouse would be a problem.

Anonymous said...

GSBA indicates that they may google candidates yet 32 staff people are involved in the process. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

That statement alone should disqualify GSBA from all searches, not just DeKalb.

Parents will google potential or selected superintendents in most GA school districts, even the ones where the parents aren't highly educated. Yet, GSBA doesn't necessarily do that.


Kim Gokce said...

Yeah, the google thing is a bit lame. I was quite serious about this blogging community participating in a candidate recruiting campaign on our own. How attractive would it be for a candidate to have the ipso facto support of the loudest and most notorious community blog about DeKalb Schools?

What if WE all became cheerleaders and insiders of the Superintendent? Wow, that'd be weird :)

Anonymous said...

"Asked if the issues facing DCSS would discourage qualified people from applying. GSBA said that DCSS is a good system and that these are the same problems facing the rest of the country."

Is the GSBA rep. smoking something illegal? "Same problems facing the rest of the country"??? What the heck?

There is not one system in America where the superintendent and Chief Operating Officer are under indictment under the RICO Act. And I doubt there is another school system in the country where one church (New Birth) has so much sway over the system's administration.

I am glad Zepora disclosed that she was a GSBA district rep. With a school system facing the scandals we've faced, the GSBA is either crazy or just being nice to one of its district rep's.

Cerebration said...

Back in April we wrote a post titled,

What are we looking for in a superintendent?

I think it's quite a good conversation and recommend that you go back and read it.

One thing we shared was an online "Education Week" ad for a super in Ohio that listed qualities they were seeking. Many of us agreed, they were spot-on as to what we'd like to see.

Shows evidence of demonstrated ability to collaborate with other school districts and/or agencies in planning and implementing programs for students

Is an accessible, good listener who functions as a team player and shares decision-making with staff when appropriate

Supports staff development and encourages professional growth

Effectively mediates and accommodates different perspectives

Creates an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect
Successfully manages media coverage

Closely supervises budget development and expenditures

Demonstrates expertise in curriculum and instruction

Willingly assumes a lead role in decision-making while keeping the Board informed

Relates well to a variety of community groups

Cerebration said...

I would add, after viewing the video in the posting just before this one -

Values and adds respect for creativity in learning.

Anonymous said...

In a school system in the Macon area, the now former superintendent is under indictment or will be soon.

If you watched the movie The Cartel you get a sense that corruption is a real problem in school systems across the country. I would also argue that corrution, at some level or another, is a problem that is widespread in many governmental entities.

Anonymous said...

two things from the meeting minutes really concern me.

1. Redovian's question about attracting non-traditional candidates (business leader, or other non-educator who has proven success leading a large company). Does the board really think we should look for a superintendent who doesn't understand the classroom? We've just gotten rid of CLew who never taught in a traditional classroom. Am I crazy for hoping for a superintendent that has extensive teaching experience? You know, someone who could understand how their decisions effect the teachers and their students.

2. Womack alluding to former DC super Michelle Rhee. Rhee did significant damage to the DC district and would have done even more if the teachers' union did not work to protect its teachers. Here in Georgia w/o a union a "reformer" like Rhee would reek unimaginable havoc.

Anonymous said...

How many teachers have experience running a billion dollar company? Really...Dr. Lewis was a teacher, how well did that work out?

Anonymous said...


Here we go again with the 1-billion-dollar-company syndrome.

By your logic only Warren Buffett and others would be State Governors or President of the United States.

Dekalb County is NOT a corporation. It is a State agency----it makes no money; it takes money in order to deliver a service!!!

Stop this mantra!!

Anonymous said...

"Dekalb County is NOT a corporation. It is a State agency----it makes no money; it takes money in order to deliver a service!!!"

If both DC and DCSS were run as businesses they would be better stewards of taxpayer money, would deliver services in a timely and efficent manner and actually educate students.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Michelle Rhee, did she actually do damage to the DC school system or did she substantially ruffle feathers in the process of trying to break the union stronghold over this school system?

Anonymous said...

If you attended the PTA Council Dinner on Thursday you will realize that the BOE has hired a company to begin the planning for SPLOST 4. As a parent, I am well aware that our county needs and could use these funds. My concern is that there has not been a full accounting of the previous SPLOST funds. With a poor housing market and record unemployment, how do we convince voters to provide additional funding for our schools? Tucker High School is still not finished. MLK smelled like a sewer. Arabia Mountain was proposed as one kind of school and then became another. There are too many schools to count that still have heating, air and roof leaks. I dread what the change of season will bring to our students.
I would say that our first step is to have some form of trust and accountability in our school system. It seems that everyone at the school level is held accountable, but it stops there.
Ask individuals in the school how difficult it is to get someone in the Professional Learning Department, Staff Services, Plant Services or Human Resources to return a phone call to you. Lots of luck. If we are going to pass SPLOST 4, the first step is to give an accurate and honest acccounting.
I do not see that coming. I know you may say how does this relate to this post?
If we want to attract an exceptional candidate, we need to start showing now that we are a system that is willing to take the necessary steps to improve.
How do we do that? All levels of the school system should practice what the schools are demanded to practice.
Our current Board of Education must show some leadership and a willingness to work together. We do need a superintendent that understands the schools. We need strong ethical individuals to support this person. I have an excellent very bright doctor. He focuses on the medical care side of his practice. He understands the insurance and the office part. But his main focus is on patient care. I would not want a doctor who views his profession as a business. I do not want a superintendent to view our schools as a business. There needs to be people in that role in the school system but running a business cannot be the main criteria for a superintendent. The kind of questions that the BOE is asking now of the superintendent should have been asked of Dr. Lewis. Ms Tyson is under a great deal more accountability than Dr. Lewis ever faced. This is not to put blame on anyone. There have to be people willing to ask questions. Somehow we lost that on the BOE. Even in times of teacher cuts, the Board with the exception of Dr. Walker passed a pay increase for Dr. Lewis.
Unless we can turn around how people view our system, we will not attract families, the best educators, new companies or the best candidates. The economic climate will improve. If we do not start to focus on buidling a better school system now, we will continue to lose valuable people.
Why didn't we use the money that we are paying for this firm to push SPLOST to add to the search for a superintendent.

Anonymous said...

If the Super ran the school system like a business, we would not be having the discussion of whether the SPLOST III funds were used properly.

Again, the Super is the CEO. The people he/she hires to actually run the day to day business is what makes a system work/not work.

Anonymous said...

This discussion is exactly why DCSS should have hired an interim to clean house for 18 months. At the end of that time, I think we would have a better picture of exactly what we do and don't need in a superintendent.

As a long time observer, the last three supers haven't been grat, but with exception of Brown, the people working at the second and third layer of the system are generally pretty mediocre.

We need a superintendent who can not only get rid of those people but attract and retain top notch talent.

PolitiMom said...

I was the one that wrote the summary. I didn't want to put my own opinions in the summary, but one thing (of many) that concerns me is that the search leader is from Metro Atlanta. With the conflicts of interest inherent in our system, this will just breed more distrust. Also didn't like that GSBA doesn't seem to have the reach of a national firm. I want them looking in big cities in the Northeast--where the schools are known to be better; or even in Chicago, Las Vegas, LA Unified or other comparable size systems. They have 32 people on staff but it's a non-profit association that has other things going on. This is just one of the services they offer, so all 32 won't be working on it at the same time. They are basically saying that everyone from the receptionist to the Executive Director will have some role to play at some point during the search. I wish I had heard Ray & Associates. I went to their website and even just that impressed me more than GSBA--not that GSBA was a poor presentation. It was quite good. I just want an outside GA firm that guarantees the search for 2 years and will do the necessary Lexis/Nexis and D&B searches. Of course, they could save all that $$ by asking the blogosphere to do the investigating! :-)

Kim Gokce said...

i am one of the earliest and loudest critics of our DCSS senior leadership. I, too, am a big supporting of "rationalizing" what seem to be very inefficient operations. That said, that is what Patrica Pope was brought into do as a private sector person and that didn't go so well.

I really think we have to be pragmatic and recognize that the first priority of the system, and there the superintendent, is education. I think what we need is an extraordinary educator and leader who also understand that much of the system requires operational effectiveness that zero to do with education.

supply chain mgt, property management, financial mgt, and even security very may well be provided by non-educators and even vendors rather than employees. A superintendent who doesn't deliver on operational reform is no good to me whether from an educational background or business background.

btw, i'm not convinced that there potential candidates who have experience in both private and public sectors.

a true business executive's first decision would be to give up on customers who cannot afford the service. Their second decision would be to raise prices to be on par with private competitiors. That is business 101. we can't dp that.

Kim Gokce said...

sry, that was supposed to be "earliest and loudest critics on the blog" ... There are many who been warning us abt dcss for many, many years.

Anonymous said...

argh! That was supposed to be, " ... Not convinced there aren't candidates with both ..." ... Mobile typing @ brookhaven arts festival. Doh.

Anonymous said...

I nominate Paul Vallas-former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, Philadelphia Public Schools, and currently in New Orleans cleaning things up.

Michelle Rhea is probably not obtainable, but a girl who cares about education can dream.

Anonymous said...

Please! We donot need or want any more New Birth Members, AKA's,or anyone connected to the Family and Friends Plans. Please! let us hope that we can get a leader who is about business of leading our school district and not someone is who has to repay favors for church members, frats, sororities, and etc. We need a leader who can move the south end of the county into the 21st century. Get rid of the palace people and double dippers who do nothing but get rich off of DCSS.

Anonymous said...

@ Kim

There are people who have both a business background and an educational background. It depends on the parameters the search firm sets and that of course depends on the parameters the BOE sets.

I totally agree that they are not mutually exclusive (I had a decade in education, a decade in large corporate sales, and then two decades in education) before I retired. What a difference it makes when you see both sides of the coin!

Anonymous said...

The entire Palace is infested with grown up acting as though they are still in college wearing greek everything which is not what the county needs to promotes. In the northern part of the state or other states, this kind of foolishness is not promoted. Kids on the south end of the county are interested in wearing frat or sorority colors instead of passing the graduation tests. I am told it starts in Middle school also. I bet this is not what one would see on the north end. And what is so sad,the women administrators actually promotes this mess. If it takes joining or belonging to a group or club, (frat, sorority) to belong or be recognized, then you are really in the wrong field.

Anonymous said...

6:53 and 6:38 Agreed.

We need to be diligent checkers of the candidates that are chosen, as our kids deserve the best.

Ella Smith said...

I visited New Birth last Sunday and I was very impressed. Visiting New Birth did give me a different prospective. I really did enjoy the service and really did gain an appreciation for the Family of New Birth. Bishop Long is a superior inspirational leader. I can understand after visiting New Birth how the family of New Birth would be behind Bishop Long.

I also feel an extremely qualified educator needs to be running our school system. The DC Superintendent might be a possible good choice. I would think the School System would be lucky if she could be a possibility.

Anonymous said...

Separation of church and state is a fundamental to me Ella. FWIW You lost my support on your recent posting.

Cerebration said...

Oh gosh - first illegal immigration and now religion -- in the same day!

FWIW - New Birth is enormous - something like 25,000 members. It's going to be hard for the school system not to employ some of their "members" (I"m told that they don't actually have members - so I don't know what to call them). That said, I just think that there is no reason to house a charter school in a church that already houses a Christian school and who also somehow owns a former DCSS school that it leases back to the school system for yet another charter school. Not only that, the church apparently runs a camp that the school system provides buses for.

I can tell you - if this were the case with my church - people would definitely have a problem with it.

Anonymous said...

“a true business executive's first decision would be to give up on customers who cannot afford the service. Their second decision would be to raise prices to be on par with private competitiors. That is business 101. we can't dp that.”

Kim, what the Hell does that mean? What are you talking about?

I would expect that anyone with a majority private sector background taking such a position in this school system would have ingrained in their plan projections that the end goal is to become the best at educating our students. I would expect that anything to the contrary and they would be weeded out during the selection process. To get to that end point there just may be cuts, changes and additions; however, not at the expense of the improved education we hope to be provided to our students. It is all about management and the selection of personnel to assist in delivering the desired results. First and foremost, this will demand a through house cleaning in this school system. Only then can we be assured that our county education system will be on a new road to success, free from the “family and friends” program developed in recent years.

Regarding Pat Pope, look who brought her in and who protected her for so long. I think a few well placed calls would reveal that many in the private sector were glad to be rid of Ms. Pope and her CL friends and family connection saved her from an eventual dismissal with her last employer.

Help me out here with some clarification.

Anonymous said...

DCSS is a business run with 100% taxpayer money. This taxpayer would very much like to see someone with private industry experience as the new superintendent.

HOWEVER, I think the new Director of Curriculum and learning (or whatever the Beasley calls himself) should be a professional educator with substantial experience in the classroom. I think this person should also come from outside DCSS with experience in a very diverse, large urban school system. They should have experience in turning around Title I schools that are similar to many of our schools in the DCSS.

Kim Gokce said...

@Cere: "immigration and religion in one day ..."

Ha-ha! How could a political system like DeKalb Public Schools NOT get us to those topics - We the People insist on it! :)

Anon: "Kim, what the Hell does that mean? What are you talking about?"

I get that from my wife a lot ...

I am talking about basic marketing decisions and customer segmentation. No business that is in a high involvement product like education is going to cater to the poorer classes. Even many mass market product companies "weed out" customers that are "too expensive." This is a very common way to increase margin per customer and therefore profitability.

My point was that a "pure business" person is no panacea for what ails DCSS. I personally would like to see someone who has had feet in both public education and business and realizes the different constraints faced.

How's that? Did I move up one level of Hades in my explanation? :)

Kim Gokce said...

re: "New Birth"

This one is icky. I am taking a whipping on the blog already for caring about the children of Cross Keys attendance area so I'm going to play devil's advocate for New Birth (no pun intended) folks for fun ...

New Birth is stepping in where no one would to help lift up the children - particularly, those "at risk." They have committed enormous resources to that end. The fact that they are willing to do what others have not for the community's children should be applauded, not criticized.

Are you willing to replace their financial and volunteer commitments? Their leader may be in the sheep dip and their fervor may be unsettling to those of us who fear religion and state lines blurring, but it is hard to criticize their aims.

And Cere, you are right. There are over 20,000 congregates at New Birth - it is statistically impractical to exclude them from public service positions. I work with New Birthers and they are very committed to serving causes of youth and education.

I am not advocating for Superintendent from the ranks of New Birth ... I'm simply saying that if the person had the right stuff I'd be ok with where s/he went to church.

Ready, aim, fire!

Anonymous said...

I know that I didn't mean exclude any one from New Birth, but rather, to hire truly qualified people at all levels of the DCSS school system and stop the current friends, family, frat, sorority, school board member favors, church affiliation, etc hiring that currently is at the backbone of most hiring and promotions currently taking place in DCSS.

We want quality for our children and we're tired of the same old same old.

Kim Gokce said...

It's cool - I was took you literally: "We do not need or want any more New Birth Members, ..."

I get the frustration but my fear is that in our fervor to "clean house" a lot of good people may get swept away. The most important time to be precise is when we are angry.

Anonymous said...

Kim, read this article and you might find that many of the good "foolks" at New Birth have been duped. It is the naive followers that I have concerns about.

Anonymous said...

My point was that a "pure business" person is no panacea for what ails DCSS.

I would hope that anyone without the motivation to turn-a-round this incompetently managed system would be eliminated sooner than later. I find it interesting that you frown on management from the business sector when much of the failures of this school system comes from the career system bureaucrats that are currently in place .

Are we setting ourselves up for failure again?

Cerebration said...

Anon 10:22 PM - Pat Pope's last employer before DCSS was Tony Pope. But you're correct, she, like some others Dr Lewis acquired through a certain search firm, was probably not well vetted. We have asked around and have yet to find a commercial construction contractor who knew of her before her face was in the news. Anyone care to correct me on that one?

That said, I have to make the point that I think Barbara Colman is doing a terrific job. She seems to be a person of high integrity and a solid work ethic.

Cerebration said...

And yes, Kim, it is very nice that the ministries of New Birth seem to care very much about "at-risk" students and offer some interesting programs and support. I have credited them for their dedication to that cause here on this blog before.

However --- the separation of church and state is critical to our public schools. Gee - how would you feel about it if this was a Jewish Temple or a Muslim Mosque or a HIndu Temple? Maybe we should start setting up schools in all churches? See the slippery slope? It's a recipe for the ultimate segregation. Donning my rose-colored glasses, I like to believe that our schools can function fully integrated. I actually believe that they HAVE to - if our American society is to survive as a melting pot and not become a society of small, segregated communities, religious or otherwise.

Churches can offer after school - weekend - summer programs all day long - but to take over public, charter schools is just not a good idea. (And I know - The Leadership Academy is not "run" by New Birth - they just "rent space" there.) I'm just saying it's a slippery slope...

Cerebration said...

I recommend reading this article in the Washington Post sent to the blog by a regular reader today. The writer, Marion Brady, states very eloquently exactly how I feel but only express in my inarticulate way.

Are we still capable of educating for 'us-ness?'

I was raised in the midwest and these values were quite literally taught in our schools - family is the backbone of the country - we are a melting pot - we must always be mindful of our neighbors and live by the Golden Rule. I'm sure it was the same in the south. However, somehow, we've all gotten off track and become much more economically and religiously segregated, selfishly motivated and critical of our neighbors - often viewing "others" as threats.

"New" education management is not the answer. Finding a "business executive" is not the answer. "Accountability" (blame) is not the answer. Training, hiring and supporting quality teachers and allowing them to creatively teach is the answer.

Here's a snippet from the post - I hope you'll check out the entire thing -

So I’ll keep it short, simple, unambiguous:
(1) We educate in order to survive.
(2) We assign most of the responsibility for educating to public schools.
(3) The public-school curriculum drives instruction.
(4) That curriculum is seriously flawed. (It’s necessary but not sufficient.)
(5) Its flaws have been powerfully reinforced by the standards and accountability fad.
(6) The new Common Core Standards that the feds are pressuring the states to adopt will lock the flawed curriculum in rigid, permanent place.
(7) A standardized, permanent curriculum is closed to innovation.
(8) A curriculum closed to innovation can’t adapt to change.
(9) Failure to adapt to change elevates stupidity.
(10) Stupidity guarantees our demise. Period.

Anonymous said...

Ella Smith said...
I visited New Birth last Sunday and I was very impressed. Visiting New Birth did give me a different prospective. I really did enjoy the service and really did gain an appreciation for the Family of New Birth. Bishop Long is a superior inspirational leader. I can understand after visiting New Birth how the family of New Birth would be behind Bishop Long.

THIS IS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT ... YOU NAIVETE IS NOT WHAT THIS BOARD NEEDS. I love FBAtlanta and NPoint, but that has NOTHING to do with the BOE.

Anonymous said...

Leave Ella alone! she's doing such a great job for Dr. Walker all by herself. Keep speaking out Ella, loving it!
Regarding the vet group, I say that the community better start doing their own searches. Then share their finds on the blogs and to the powers that be. I would have problems with anyone born, raised, educated or currently lives in Georgia as a candidate for supt.

Anonymous said...

Not sure where to post this, but since New Birth is being discussed, I will add it here. It looks like Bishop Long has more legal trouble with a mortgage company and the FDIC:

Anonymous said...

Successful turnaround experts hire great people.

I hate sports analogies but if a NFL football team is 0-10 and the owner makes a coaching change, it usually isn't just the head coach who goes.

In school systems, this never seems to happen. Not just DeKalb, but anywhere that I can find. Therein lies the problem, the bureacrats who have failed students remain and continue down their old paths.

There was an article years ago, about urban school systems and the rapid way they were burning through superintendents. One of the comments that was telling was that the central office folks were always confident that no matter what happened they would outlast the new person, so they often didn't cooperate with the new superintendents initiatives.

Anonymous said...

Cere 12:46 and Anon 5:47 well said.

Anon 5:47 the central office may out last the superintendent, but the good teachers will move, looking for an environment where they can teach. When they see that they are few and far between, the good teachers will look for a new career.

Having the government in education is one of education's biggest problems. Not sure if the government is trying to dumb down the kids, but it sure feels like it.

Anonymous said...

Is the GSBA rep. smoking something illegal? "Same problems facing the rest of the country"??? What the heck? There is not one system in America where the superintendent and Chief Operating Officer are under indictment under the RICO Act. And I doubt there is another school system in the country where one church (New Birth) has so much sway over the system's administration.

wrong-check your facts

Anonymous said...

maybe we could get the guy who ran ENRON or the one that ran MCI, no wait they are already in jail. Maybe we get get some big financial CEO who lied about their assets? Big business has so much to offer, like people who really know how to lie, cheat, and steal to the point the Lewis and Pope would look like wanna bes.

Anonymous said...

Education is not a business-it is all about students and who ever we hire needs to think about what is best for students first. The truth is that even with the best of business practices in education we will get what we pay for.

Our superintendent has to hire and manage a staff that can inpsire, motivate, and teach students to be creative, productive citizens. The best investment we can make in our economy, our national defense, and our future is k-12 education.

Cerebration said...

I would think that a visionary leader, with vast experience in education and solid right hand leaders in the finance as well as curriculum departments could make enormous strides in improving our system's education. IF that leader would also rethink how we are spending our Title 1 money as well as our special education money - ie: put it into things that directly impact students - we could have ourselves a trifecta!

Anonymous said...

I find it quite interesting that a handful on this site like to repeat the same story about employees that they obviously have a personal problem with. Those stories are so old and if you would take the time to research, you would see that these individuals have both the education and experience to hold such positions.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:45:

That's the whole problem. This culture at DCSS created this situation and now that the ship is flailing, everyone is jumping on the lifeboats as soon as possible.

I agree with you, we're going to lose many good people, as well as some major friends and family deadwood too. But something has to happen now, to stop the current culture. It is clearly not working and the very people getting hurt are the students and the teachers.. The focus must be placed on them. Bottom up budgeting, NOW!

Anonymous said...

Michelle Rhee "Bring her on!"

Anonymous said...

"Those stories are so old and if you would take the time to research, you would see that these individuals have both the education and experience to hold such positions."

Poppycock. Too many DCSS administrators attended online diploma mills. Too many would never be hired in admin positions for other school districts. Too many have advanced because of family/friend/sorority/fraternity/New Birth/etc connections.

I have met and spoken with almost all DCSS upper level administrators, and many mid-level admin's. Only a handful are impressive. Only a few have listening skills. Only a few don't blame the media, the economy, parents, etc. for problems facing DCSS.

It is amazing that people like Frankie Callaway, Jamal Edwards, David Guillory, Audria berry, and others are employed by the district in some form or another, even with a new superintendent. No house cleaning under Tyson that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

Tyson was not promoted acting superintendent to "clean house." She is there to hold this fragile ship together until a new captain is brought on board. Frankly, I think she is doing a good job.

And she did terminate/discipline a number of the "book gate" folks pretty darn fast.

Cerebration said...

I agree. Tyson is between a rock and a hard place. She has to return to the ranks after this stint filling in... and she certainly never dreamed it would go on this long - and involve this much criticism. I blame the board for not reacting more quickly - realizing that a corrective outside interim would be the best choice and then hopping on to do the search for a new full time super.

I mean - Lewis has been gone for 5 months and they are just now reviewing proposals from search companies! Then, the one they choose has to begin the search!

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration 9:15 pm

I think it's obvious that the BOE members did not want to start this process before the elections. All 5 are trying to return to the Board so naturally they are trying to keep a low profile.

Anonymous said...

I do not think Tyson will take a lesser position once the new superintendent is chosen. She has being superintendent of one of the largest school systems in the nation on her resume and has made invaluable connections while acting superintendent of DCSS. I think she will end up in the Georgia DOE or a federal job like Kathy Cox or perhaps in an educational company.

Anonymous said...

"Tyson is between a rock and a hard place. She has to return to the ranks after this stint filling in ..."

Tyson cannot return to the ranks. She had an opportunity to do the right thing and she chose not to. Tyson, along with Beasley, Moseley, Berry, Ramsey, Wilson and the rest of CLew-less's cronies and "partners in crime" must go.

Make no mistake: What CLew-less and his cronies did to the children of DeKalb was nothing short of criminal. CLew-less and his cronies stole years from our children -- years and educational opportunity that can never be regained. Tyson was part of CLew-less's inner circle and she has allowed the thuggery and theft to continue.

Tyson is dreaming if she thinks she will be hired by GaDOE or by Kathy Cox. Tyson's history with DCSS will follow her everywhere she goes. The Internet virtually ensures that. If not, there are plenty of angry taxpayers who are willing to fill in the blanks.

Anonymous said...

Kathy Cox did not take a job with the federal government. She went into private industury- a conservative private think tank.

Anonymous said...

Funny, the guy from GSBA says DCSS has the same problems every other district has. He must have been out of town for this:

Anonymous said...

Ruffling feathers, destroying a system or getting rid of bad teacher? Rhee used a controversial system to evaluate teachers and then ousted the ones that didn't make the mark. Some teachers need to go, no doubt about it, but I think if the process that Rhee used on her teachers was used in the central office, too, then that might be something I can support. I would venture to guess that the majority sentiment on this blog and DeKalb in general is that teachers aren't the issue - fraud, waste, and ineffective leadership at the county level is. Let's bring in a proven leader who can clean house. My vote is for Gen. Russel Honore...he lives in DeKalb, and he was the boots on the ground in New Orleans. He's a strategic thinker, a proven leader, an honorable man, and tells it like it is.

He'll never take the job, though.

Anonymous said...

AT the ELPC meeting, R.Tyson was asked why the focus is not on reducing the Central office jobs and returning these funds back to the school houses and children.

Her answer went a little like this...that is important work to be done...stumble, stumble, stumble, get a study done, spend more money to do this, stumble more.

They acted like the 250+ folks that were rif'd over last two years was an important number to bring up. There are alot of people working for the school system that should be working elsewhere.

This is an issue for the next Superintendent, but unfortunately we are going to continue taking money from education for payroll until this next super is on board. What a waste. Why does it take a corporation a minimal amount of time to deal with this same issue. Maybe they are concerned with the amount of work the folks left behind will actually have to do.

This is not brain surgery, just start with anyone who works in an administrative capacity. There are countless departments in DCSS where there are three-five employees doing a job that could be consolidated with others.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:14 This hasn't been done because they are all friends, family, frat., sorority and/or church members and it would be too painful to have to face them in public knowing you made their lives tough.