Friday, October 8, 2010

School board election grandiloquence heating up

Today's AJC has an excellent article, DeKalb school board's behavior in spotlight, highlighting the issues our school system has encountered over the past two years. If you are not in tune with the story, I would suggest reading this latest report by Megan Matteucci and Kristina Torres to get caught up.

This quote says it all, in my opinion.

Roberts declined to talk about the disputes. “It’s an election time. People keep all this mess going to keep me from getting re-elected,” she said. “Everybody who sits on that board is not for an education for all children. We are divided on that school board by race, we are divided by politics, Republicans vs. Democrats.”

Roberts is wrong. These issues have not suddenly popped up because it's election time. The people who sit on the board who are not for all children are up for re-election and she is one of them. Yes, they are divided but it is due to ego-centric control issues, not Republican vs Democratic politics. The school board is a non-paritisan race. Roberts herself is the one pulling out the race card just before the election.


Cerebration said...

"grandiloquence" - like that word Kim? You inspired me to find one that rivals some of yours! Love the online thesaurus!


Dunwoody Mom said...

This is the first I have heard about Ms. Roberts kicking a fellow BOE member in the groin...

Anonymous said...

"As a DeKalb County board member berated the superintendent during a 20-minute rant about school redistricting being racist, another turned his back to her. Two others whispered in the corner."

This disgraceful behavior is completely on BOE Chair Tom Bowen, for allwoing Sarah Copelin-Wood to rant rudely and incoherently for 20 minutes, and allowing other BOE members to talk during the meeting and turn their back on her (even if SCW deserved it).

Did Tom Bowen ever remove builder David Moody as chair of the Citizen's Construction Advisory Board, with his amssive conflict of interest?

Anonymous said...

"Roberts declined to talk about the disputes. “It’s an election time. People keep all this mess going to keep me from getting re-elected,” she said. “Everybody who sits on that board is not for an education for all children. We are divided on that school board by race, we are divided by politics, Republicans vs. Democrats."

Yes, Zepora, you do divide the board by race, by Democrat vs. Reoublican, and you're not for all schools, just your own.

Weird that you unwittingly called yourself out in the paper.

Anonymous said...

What the article failed to reflect is that Roberts hasn't convinced any of the board to go along with all her craziness on ethics and conflict of interest.

And Copelin-Woods is just totally ineffective.

Dunwoody Mom said...

The problem is how to convince those in her district how ineffective she is and how desperately she is hurting the children in her district.

Cerebration said...

DM - she didn't actually kick the board member, she threatened to if he didn't get out of her way. This story has been told publicly several times by that board rep - I've heard it myself directly. No names please.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Oh, sorry, Cere - misread.

Anonymous said...

So you're a small, medium or large business interested in possibly moving to the metro Atlanta area because of its many advantages: busy airport, good highway network, top universities and colleges like Tech, Morehouse, Emory, good weather, etc.

You do your research. One of the top three things that executives look for when relocating is the quality of a school system. Not so much for their own chidren, since most executives can afford private school, but for their staff.

If you have a choice between Cobb, Fulton, Gwinnett or DeKalb, ya sure aren't coming to a school system where the superintendent and COO are under indictment and one of the most veteran Board of Ed members threatens to kick another Board of Ed member in the privates. Yeesh.

And it sure isn't easy to recruit the best and brightest college graudate education majors when they read this stuff in the paper.

Cerebration said...

Maureen Downey has a very good post on the latest eduKALB forum at her AJC blog -

DeKalb voters: Save yourselves and your schools. Don’t sit out this school board election.

I think the restoration of DeKalb, once considered one of the best systems in the state, will take a united effort.

First, the system has to offload its top-heavy central office. Candidates noted two damaging facts about their school district: It has more $100,000-plus administrator positions than any other system in Georgia and it spends less than 50 percent of its dollars on instruction.

As moderator Bill Crane noted, the similarly sized Cobb — with a similar budget — spends $100 million more on instruction than DeKalb and earns far better results. District 7 incumbent Zepora Roberts defended the spending, saying, “Our budget may be the same as Cobb’s but our needs and demographics are different.”

Let me talk for a minute about who wasn’t there tonight: Longtime District 3 school board member Sarah Copelin-Wood, who is apparently spurning most forums and her opponent Robert Lee Holt. (Holt actually dashed in late and then left before his race was presented, telling organizers his wife was in the hospital and he couldn’t stay.)

Neither of those candidates have responded to requests from the AJC to answer questions for a planned two-page spread on the DeKalb school board races. I am putting together these pages for DeKalb and six other counties, and I don’t get why candidates would turn down a chance to present their case to the public.

Cerebration said...

Apparently, Redovian was a no-show again also -

While there was not a full panel for District 1, candidate Nancy Jester - she is one of two women challenging incumbent Jim Redovian — spoke effectively about the need for a reform-minded superintendent from the outside and the stark rise in failing schools in the county based on AYP – from 14 percent to 44 since 2004.

With a background in finance, Jester wants Dekalb to become a model in turning around an urban school district by relying on bottoms-up funding formula that funds at the school level first. Her approach — let’s get past the platitudes and reprioritize how DeKalb spends money and where it spends it – is very fact based. She worked as an actuarial consultant and it’s reflected in her precision.

The second District 1 challenger is Merope “Bobbe” Gillis, who comes across as a concerned parent. Her comments deal more with the parent response to schools and school policy, including concerns over the 4-5 grade configuration now in Dunwoody. (That holds great interest to me as my town also has a 4-5 academy, and I think it is one transition too many for kids)

The size of DeKalb — Gillis likens it to a corporation — requires a revamping of the system, she said, calling for an audit with a focus on bringing money back to schools and looking at schools, staffing and supplies that are under utilized.

Cerebration said...

Gene Walker did show up this time - (Ella has had to go solo the last few forums).

In the District 9 panel, incumbent Gene Walker and challenger Ella Smith were both strong in their views. A Fulton teacher, Smith decried the loss of quality of DeKalb schools and said she would audit the system if elected to see where spending was inefficient.

When asked why DeKalb was no longer the “gold standard” in education and whether the county should look to the success of Fayette, Forsyth and Decatur City schools for guidance, Walker said he would not look anywhere in Georgia for inspiration but to Finland, generally recognized as the nation with the best schools.

And Finland’s secret, said Walker, was its focus on teachers and its support of them.

Um, I must say that NO, Finland's secret is a lack of poverty, a homogenous society and a strong family structure.

Anonymous said...

Cere is right as alays:

"Um, I must say that NO, Finland's secret is a lack of poverty, a homogenous society and a strong family structure."

What is Gene Walker thinking??? This dude was a former state legislator???

Anonymous said...

Oldie but goodie:

Cerebration said...

In the comments of Maureen's blog, someone tells a good story - I have to share it -


While walking down the street one day a Corrupt Senator was tragically hit by a car and died.
His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

“Welcome to heaven,” says St. Peter. “Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we’re not sure what to do with you.”

“No problem, just let me in,” says the Senator.

“Well, I’d like to, but I have orders from the higher ups. What we’ll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.”

“Really?, I’ve made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,” says the Senator.

“I’m sorry, but we have our rules.”

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.

The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.

Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people. They played a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and the finest champagne.

Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who is having a good time dancing and telling jokes.

They are all having such a good time that before the Senator realizes it, it is time to go.

Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises.

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens in heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him, “Now it’s time to visit heaven…”

So, 24 hours passed with the Senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.

“Well, then, you’ve spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity.”

The Senator reflects for a minute, then he answers: “Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell.”

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell…

Now the doors of the elevator open and he’s in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above

The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulders.

“I don’t understand,” stammers the Senator. “Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there’s just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?”

The devil smiles at him and says,

“Yesterday we were campaigning, Today, you voted..”

Vote wisely on November 2, 2010

Anonymous said...

almost LOL'ed last night when ZR said she should be re-elected to maintain "her effective leadership on the board"

Anonymous said...

Cere, isn't it interesting how you and others can say what they want about whomever, but yet Sandy is jumped on ... doesn't seem fair, does it?

Thank you for ALL you do to help keep things transparent and to keep our attention focused on things we need to be up in arms about.

Otherwise, there would be the general apathy out here that keeps us calm and keeps us from getting riled up, and then of course it would be business as usual.

I like what you all are doing and am reminded of this saying: "When I wake up in the morning and put my feet on the floor...I want the Devil to say ...oh no! She's up!"

We need to fight tooth and nail for our children's school system. There's nothing more important.

Anonymous said...

Cere, here is the rest of the article about Ms. Woods and Mr. Holts being MIA at the forums. In fact, I went to the eduKalb forum to talk to Copelin-Wood and Holt as I didn’t want to only run the responses of the third candidate in that District 3 race, Corey Wilson, who took the podium solo tonight and did a good job.

This is the second forum where Wilson had the stage to himself; neither Copelin-Wood nor Holt showed up at a forum last week, either. I think this race belongs to Wilson for the simple fact that he shows up.

I have to wonder why Copelin-Wood and Holt are running; neither have apparently answered other candidate questionnaires. These are not interviews, just questionnaires where the candidates write their responses and they get published.

I think Copelin-Wood has a strategy of evading questions, which she may think will keep her out of trouble. And she may be counting on older voters, with whom she still holds sway, returning her to office. But her strategy of hiding out from public forums where she doesn’t control the crowd or the questions strikes me as a danger sign.

I am not sure about Holt’s tactics as no one seems to know what is driving him and he is running a stealth campaign. (It doesn’t mean he won’t get votes. I have known candidates who never sent out a mailer, attended a forum or kissed a single baby and they still got votes.)
This should be a true sign to our voters "We Can Do Better". I like Mr. Wilson's theme.

DCSS Teacher said...

We want our pension back--or the Social Security that it was used to replace. The Board made the unilateral decision to remove the Board TSA, with no word about when it will be returned. How can they get away with this? It represents millions of dollars in potential earnings, esp for younger teachers. OK, give it up, but at least then give us Social Security. Most teachers don't seem to "get" what a big cut this is. But they will, when they retire--which is when you need a pension.

Anonymous said...

Let me talk for a minute about who wasn’t there tonight: Longtime District 3 school board member Sarah Copelin-Wood, who is apparently spurning most forums and her opponent Robert Lee Holt. (Holt actually dashed in late and then left before his race was presented, telling organizers his wife was in the hospital and he couldn’t stay.)

Neither of those candidates have responded to requests from the AJC to answer questions for a planned two-page spread on the DeKalb school board races.


Hey Robert Lee Holt: if you want to be taken seriously as a BOE candidate, then gosh darn it respond to the AJC's request!!! We want to read your stances and plans. We need someone decent to repalce the bats@#$ crazy Sarah Copelin-Wood. Prove that you are a valid candidate!!

Anonymous said...

Even if the entire BOE was removed, this would not solve the problem. DCSS has to be viewed like a charity organization in which management keeps 90% of the contributed funds and doles out the remaining 10% to the people supposed to be the beneficiaries of the charity.

In DCSS the administration controls the system for the benefit of the administration. It maintains the excessive number of personnel and excessive salaries and perks. Whatever is left over dribbles down to to pay the teachers to educate the children.

The administration gives those(few) members of the BOE who really are interested in educating all of the children of the county only information that supports its position, or does not make the information available at all. Some of the BOE members are complicit in maintaining this environment. Remember, five of the BOE members have relatives working for the administration. Most of their votes are compromised because of this.

While it might be painful for a while, complete surgery is needed. SACS should revoke accreditation so that the State can take over and clean out the place. Another alternative would be to split the system several parts. let the constituents of Roberts, Woods and Walker pay for what they want.

Anonymous said...

Holt probably isn't a valid candidate. This is DeKalb after all.

Anonymous said...

Thanks DCSS teacher. We need to get our pension contributions back. If DCSS employees were a part of the Social Security system, the BOE would have no choice in the matter. They would be required to pay Social Security taxes. The BOE has balanced the school budget at the expense of its employees and our school leaders wonder why morale is low.

Anonymous said...


Jester, who lives near Chamblee, said budgetary reform was necessary to reform the system. “We can’t have education reform unless we can reform how we spend that money,” she said. “You put your money where your mouth is. We can’t just talk about reform.”

And proof that Zepora is nuts:
"Roberts responded that she offered experience. “Let’s keep proven, effective leadership on the DeKalb school board,” said Roberts, who said she first was elected to the board in 2002. “Experience does help.”"

Anonymous said...

Zepora and Sarah, your kind of proven "experience" we can live without. There is absolutely NO WAY you will be reelected. Not with all the unprofessional shenanigans you two have pulled. No one has even the time to sit and hear your rantings and ravings on and on and on, with no one on the board (Mr. Bowen) who is strong enough to say louder than you "STOP ALREADY!! WE GET YOUR POINT!" Of course, we only get 3 minutes to speak. And your threats to reporters and others and the unprofessional way you respond (in writing, unfortunately for you) to constituents is enough to be sure we only have a few more meetings where we have to listen to you. Maybe you can do community service in your own communities where I hear they love you. Say bye bye. You've definitely had your chance to make a difference and you both have failed us miserably.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to simply remove Zepora's district and Sarah's district from Dekalb County - let them tax their people in those districts and run their schools however they want to. I've vote in a minute to give them the buildings, land, and all the furnishings. At least this would allow the remaining school districts in Dekalb County to right themselves and limit the destruction to those two districts.

Frankly, I am looking forward to a SACS investigation and the new Governor, whether Barnes or Deal, removing this entire School Board. This School Board is an exercise in futility. We need to begin anew - new faces on both the School Board and in the Administration.

I have a Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering and would happily teach with no compensation if we can just have some chance at progress.

Anonymous said...

"Lewis pursued some of the biggest changes in decades, including systemwide redistricting and school closures. His tenure included an independent audit that criticized both the school system and the management firm it contracted with for problems in the district’s construction program, including delays and probable overpayments for work."

Okay, this paragraph was taken from the AJC article. Once again they never tell the whole story.
Clew did call for an independent audit, however they miss the most important part. Clew changed the titles of some folks in the central office and then hid the audit. Clew Took it offline and refused to bring it back out into light when others asked to see it.

Clews systemwide redistricting involved four schools. The reporters seem to forget about the Sembler plan to buy the property on north Druid Hills Rd. and clew needing a school to move Kittredge to. Then we get a cut and paste demographers report from Fairfax, VA. Nancy Creek closes and now the other two schools near Nancy Creek are over capacity and have trailers.

How about the parents threatened with arrests at a State of the District address at First Baptist Church? All the parents were doing was exposing the truth.

Ms. Torres how about when parents gave you documents that proved the demographers report was a fraud but also proved that DCSS was not talking with the County Planning Dept and their plans for their rezoning for Vision 2025. I recall Ms. Torres handed Clew the documents, told him from whom she got them, and then wrote and article calling those parents "vociferous and loud"

It's hard to trust the AJC, they like to hit the edges but never seem to tell the whole story. I like Ms. Mateucci however I think Ms. Torres should explain her past friendly relationship with Crawford Lewis.

I just want the truth and the whole story when people talk about the past, present and future.

Cerebration said...

Wel,, let's see... Zepora pays $300 per year in property taxes, so if that's the norm in her district, I can't see how they could sustain a school system.

Also - as far as me getting "away" with saying what I want - believe me, that is not true. I take a lot of flack - much of it from my own Lakeside community, many of whom believe that old adage about attracting flies with honey... to which I say, I'm not interested in Flies. I'm interested in spending our tax dollars on that for which they are intended - educating children.

This blog's many contributors (this includes both Ella and Sandy!) have shined the light on many, many items of corruption and waste. I only hope that enough people "get it" and will make the effort to vote in a new board that we can actually begin to make a turnaround.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon above, don't forget about the Jamal Edwards issue. clew goes on Channel 2 and says there is no nepotism in DCSS. Then parents expose the fact that Mr. Edwards, son of the then BOE chairperson, had been given a raise and promotion, but had not reported for that new job for 6 months. Ms. Tyson was Mr. Edwards direct supervisor and had no idea that he had never reported to his new job and was hiding out at a school. Ready for the name of the school? Nancy Creek.

It was Clew & Debbie Loeb, Asst Super, who met with the parents of Nancy Creek. They actually called Ms. Tyson on a speakerphone with the parents in the room. You should have heard Ms. Tyson AHing and UMing and not knowing what to say. I was in that room during that phone call.

It was not long after that when Debbie Loeb abruptly went into retirement to the North Carolina Mountains.

Just remember when you read something in the AJC, there is usually a whole lot more to the story than what is written.

Anonymous said...

And yet more good news for DeKalb citizens.

Channel 2 Action News has learned the embattled DeKalb County Housing Authority is dealing with yet another scandal.

Former employee Latoya Logan is accused of forging more than $45,000 in housing authority checks and cashing them herself.

Logan appeared before a Rockdale County magistrate judge on Friday morning hoping to get her $90,000 bond reduced.

Rockdale County deputies said Logan wrote 28 separate housing authority checks to herself and cashed them in Conyers.

Logan was an accountant at the housing authority, but a string of problems inside the agency reach the highest level.

Later this month, the DeKalb County Board of Ethics will consider conflict-of-interest charges against housing authority board members Dorothy Williams and George Maddox.

Anonymous said...

I think it is HILARIOUS how some of you hide behind this blog and repeat the SAME TIRED stories about a small handful of people. I would LOVE to see you say something to these people directly. COWARDS! Really, how many times can you repeat a story. You have no idea what you are talking about. Why not blog about how to increase the quality of education our children deserve!!!

Anonymous said...

Before you all bash Redovian too much about missing eduKalb forums and praising Jester for attending consider this: Unlike Jester, he has a job in additon to the BOE, he is responsible for being at BOE regularly scheduled and called meetings as well as BOE committee meetings - which we have all talked about being excessive right now..and as a BOE member, he has daily school and system wide events he is expected to attend throughout the county. As stated previously, he had a client meeting in NC scheduled long before last week's forum date had been set and this Thursday night - also scheduled long before eduKalb announced its forum - was the fundraiser in memory of his son Tim - if you were in his shoes Thursday night, where would you have been? Judge not lest you be judged.

Comedian Derrick Tennant will serve up a hilarious evening of “bleep-free” comedy on Thursday, October 7, in a benefit performance for the Tim Redovian Memorial Fund. The show begins at 7:00 pm and will be held at Dunwoody’s Stage Door Players. The Tim Redovian Memorial Fund was established in 1997 in memory of a young performing artist from Dunwoody, Tim Redovian, who lost his life to a rare respiratory disorder. TRMF grants scholarships to students who wish to pursue studies in the areas of drama, dance, voice, instrument and technical theatre. To date, the fund has awarded more than $200,000 in scholarships. For more information, visit

Anonymous said...

9:37 I don't see your name attached to your post. Interesting, since apparently our remaining anonymous offends you so much!

Perhaps you should visit this forum more often. There have been plenty of great threads in which we have exchanged ideas about how to help our kids.

In many cases, the consensus has been that a new BOE is step one. We are handicapped by the inept administration and cannot move forward until they are replaced.

It's not bashing if it's true.

Kim Gokce said...

Cere: "grandiloquence" ... that is way out of my "kerfuffle" league ...

I think we are falling victim to a bit of group think here on my favorite blog. As intensely as we follow the system's politics and machinations, I do not think our neighbors do - no, not even with the high drama of the past year.

For example, what has the turn out been at the debates? At BoE meetings? Given the fever pitch of the debating and head-scratching going on here I'd expect record attendances. Have you seen it?

Even in these heady times, a very civically engaged individual - an active member of their broad community, an elected President of a large civic association, and a long-term resident ask me, "Who should I vote for in the upcoming BoE?"

Folks, the public at large is not engaged in this dialog. They are only vaguely aware of what the real issues are, of who is who among candidates, or of the nuances of SACS accreditation. I was one of these folks until I walked onto the grounds of CK saw the neglect.

My point is this: It is us, the readers and contributors of this blog that must lead to our schools and to a mission. Leading doesn't mean venting. It doesn't mean pontificating endlessly (me!) about how things should be. It means taking action.

And what of the highest profile group organizing the year to take action? eduKalb was scoffed at by many here from the beginning. Listen folks, it is a start. What have we done?

Why aren't we talking about forming a local education fund? Not for the "Bulldogs" or "Indians" or "Vikings" or "Blue Devils" fund ... a private fund for public education in our County.

I've adopted seven schools with my peers, members, and volunteers at CK Foundation - not schools I went to, not schools where I have children, not schools in my neighborhood, five of which do not affect my property value, five of which are no where in my neighborhood, and all of which need lots of support.

As I've gotten caught up in my mission, I've been less able to blog and I miss it. So by all means, let's keep the dialog going here, let's keep pressure on our officials and public servants, but please let's not forget that the most important part of public education is "the public" ... we have to help our neighbors understand the public system cannot operate without broad public support, vigilance, and engagement.

We've been good at the vigilance part at DeKalb School Watch but I'd like to see more County-level organizing for public support and engagement. Any leaders out there? I'm 125% allocated at the moment with CK Foundation and even I am willing to help.

Kim Gokce said...

Anon 10:57 "In many cases, the consensus has been that a new BOE is step one. We are handicapped by the inept administration and cannot move forward until they are replaced. "

What will prevent the next inept administration and less than ideal BoE from being seated?

Kim Gokce said...

@Kim Gokce: "We've been good at the vigilance part at DeKalb School Watch ..."

Duh! That's why it's called "School Watch" dummy ...

Kim Gokce said...

I think it is worth clipping and re-posting Lynn Deutsch's comment from the AJC piece:

"“I do think they [the school board] are making slow progress — at least on paper. It’s a huge challenge to change a system whose culture has been broken for decades. This board is not any worse than any others.

“I’ve been involved 15 years and I’ve never thought we had a stellar school board.” "

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss ... apologies to The Who.

We need structural changes.

Cerebration said...

It's too bad that the eduKALB leaders didn't make that known about Redovian at the forum. Did they know why he didn't attend and where he was? I was disappointed that the forum they held in Dunwoody (which is in District 1) didn't include Redovian either (I think he was away on business). I would think they would have vetted the dates at least with the candidates in that area before booking the space. Too bad.

Cerebration said...

Yikes! This is very weird - and if the comment above is true and Zepora is a district rep for the one search firm, we are in deep doo doo...

Search firm finalists named for DeKalb schools' job

By Megan Matteucci
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The DeKalb County school board says it is still on track with hiring a new superintendent by July 1, despite not choosing a search firm yet.

On Friday, the board selected two finalists out of the four firms that submitted bids: the Georgia School Boards Association and Iowa firm Ray and Associates. GSBA bid $15,000 and Ray bid $34,000.

The two firms will be interviewed in the next two weeks, board chairman Tom Bowen said.

The board excluded Marietta firm BrockClay, which also bid $15,000, and Illinois firm PROACT Search, which bid $43,750.

It’s unclear why the two firms were selected as finalists. There was no public discussion about qualifications, price or scope of the search.

The board fired superintendent Crawford Lewis in April. In May, a grand jury indicted Lewis and three others on charges of running a criminal enterprise at the school system. A trial is scheduled for January.

Check out the district directors - Zepora is definitely the rep to DeKalb for this group.

Anonymous said...


Sounds like Redovian has far too much on his plate to be a board member. He shouldn't have run again. You must be one of the handful of Dunwoody Moms he listens to. He doesn't seek advice outside of his small group. This cadre of people is nervous about losing their power.

Anonymous said...

Clearly, Roberts could not be directly involved in the search but I fear that she might try to influence those who work in that area.

Putting the Roberts issue aside, I feel we need a candidate from outside Georgia and one with experience with a large diverse urban district. It just does not appear from the GSBA web page like this is their strength.

Anonymous said...

"Unlike Jester, he has a job in additon to the BOE, he is responsible for being at BOE regularly scheduled and called meetings as well as BOE committee meetings - which we have all talked about being excessive right now..and as a BOE member, he has daily school and system wide events he is expected to attend throughout the county."

Well, he's often absent from his responsibilities. He doesn't communicate well - although since Nancy's been running he been forced to be more responsive. If he didn't face opposition in the race, it would be the same 'ol thing. You all know he'll go back to ignoring you, right?! And Nancy Jester has three kids but manages to be at events across the county.

Cerebration said...

Anon 11:00 -- You think she "might" try to influence the search? Really? Nah, not Zepora!

Anonymous said...

I was told by a board member last year, it is on the record that one of the members has said publicly "I make all my decisions based on race".

Well, ain't that a hoot? wonder who?

Been to various meetings, ELPC, school closure task force, school board, and it is evident these folks do not mesh. They need to go. I am hopeful that at least 2-3 of these self righteous, egotistic, ridiculous members will go away. And I am not particular about the race of who does the walking, either. Far as I am concerned, these people are not qualified.

Board Members, listen to the parents and get out the DCSS business. Find something else to do. You obviously can't do the work, you are creating a problem. The only thing that will solve it IS PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY WORK TOGETHER.

Cerebration said...

Bottom line - if they choose the Georgia School Board search firm services, then we have NO hope. This is a big, flashing light that glows in the darkness -- "same old - same old - same old - same old" ...

I wonder if they truly know that there are other states outside of Georgia?

Kim Gokce said...

Can the bloggers at this site fund a search?

Kim Gokce said...

Can eduKalb fund a search? If they want to endorse BoE candidates, why not Super candidates?

seriously, folks, why can't we invest the expense for a search and put forth 2 or 3 of what we and our hired search firm consider qualified candidates?

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:37. Same tired story? The AJC had two writers assigned to a piece that looked back at the DeKalb BOE. They mention Crawford Lewis in a paragraph like he was working hard on audits, nepotism, redistricting etc.. The posters at 6:17 and 6:25 were placing a certain context that the AJC writers had missed. They might be old stories but it's the truth and this BOE is responsible for the problems that exist and had existed.

It worries me that we are thinking about hiring a firm with ties to DeKalb County. I'm with Cere, Same old, Same old, Same old.....

Good grief, when will this interim Super get it? This staff has no intention changing a thing. Did you hear Ernest Brown at the Board Meeting MOnday. he was like a sheer leader, These folks think they have done nothing wrong!

It's good to revisit history and I just wish the AJC could tell the whole truth when writing a piece on the past sorted history of DCSS.

Anonymous said...


That would be a book I am afraid.

Dekalbparent said...

@Anon 11:20pm

Hint, Hint: The Board member who made this statement publicly and on the record officially represents half the county.

How much of the county does he really represent??

Anonymous said...

Kim, if they just laid off one administration staffer (and I am not even talking about the executives) there is more than enough money to hire a national executive search firm. Heck, forgoing all out-of-town retreats for one year would fund it, etc., etc.

Please write your Board Members.

Anonymous said...

The RFP was advertised nationally. Are we so toxic that only two national firms applied?

Anonymous said...

ACJ discussions of school boards and candidates was interesting. I find it hard to believe that some of our board members, particularly those who have served multiple terms, attend so few meetings. How on earth can constituents NOT have a problem with that.

I too have huge concerns with the GA search firm. When reading these descriptors of members, it appears that there are too many ties, even if in the form of continuing ed (I may have read this wrong tho-). I just really would like NO ATTACHMENTS - of the search firm or of candidates. Why aren't we trying harder? And given the RTTT funds we are going to receive (admittedly not a fan, but we're getting them), how can the state NOT GET MORE INVOLVED. Seems like they have a reputation at stake as well.

Anonymous said...

Is this a joke? The BOE picked a search firm that has the Zep on the board of directors? Conflict of interest? They are paying to do business with a firm in which a BOE member has a vested interest?

Cerebration said...

The RFP was advertised nationally. Are we so toxic that only two national firms applied?

From what I understand (someone double check please), the RFP was only actually published in the official DeKalb county legal organ. No wonder we had very few proposals. And yes, one of the finalists (and suspiciously the low bidder) is the GA School Boards Association (which btw, has done very few searches for systems like ours).

Check out the district directors - Zepora is definitely the rep to DeKalb for this group.

Anonymous said...

Actually, here is a link to all of the Searches the GSBA has assisted with:

Cerebration said...

Some pretty small, rural school systems on that list...

Anonymous said...

From reading Education Week each week and looking at the classified ads, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to know which companies do national searches like this. There are far smaller school districts that hire these good firms to complete searches for superintendent. Why does DCSS always do little thinking about important decisions and go the cheapest way? When, oh when, will the children's education be thought of first and foremost?

Anonymous said...

No offense to Dr. Mike Newton but when you google search, you will find he was employed by the same school system he now heads for 10 years and is a native of the area.

Again, he might be the best candidate for them but we don't need a search firm to locate more friends and family of the existing hierarchy!!

EPIC FAIL for not spending the money on a top caliber national search firm. Anyone can call themselves a recruiter. All you need is a phone!

Anonymous said...

FYI, Ms. Roberts is not on the "Board" of the GSBA. She is our District representative. But putting this aside, it just doesn't seem like the GSBA is the type of search firm Dekalb needs to find a new superintendent from outside Georgia.

Cerebration said...

Reread what I wrote please -

Check out the district directors - Zepora is definitely the rep to DeKalb for this group.

Please check the link - you will see that Zepora is officially listed as "District Director" for DeKalb. The webpage happens to be called the Board of Directors.

Anonymous said...

Ray and Associates is a national company.

Anonymous said...

The administration, who crafted the search, wants another CLew to keep the status quo.. Some of the BOE members are complicit in this to protect their friends and family members. The other members are either naive or just do not understand the search process since it was overseen by Ms Tyson. Remember how they all accepted CLew's pronouncements as the gospel. (no connection meant here to NBBC).has his

Sandy Spruill said...

@ Anonymous 3:16 PM

"Ray and Associates is a national company."

And your point is ... ?

"National" does not equate to "high quality, nor does it indicate sufficient, applicable, successful experience." See below:

Of the 8 searches currently open at Ray and Associates, not one is looking for a superintendent for a district larger than 16,500 students; most are looking for a superintendent for districts with 2,350 – 12,000 students

On at least one occasion, Ray and Associates did not fully vet a candidate and the result was a huge legal mess. Here’s an excerpt from an article [] in the Louisville Courier-Journal about a new hire in 2007 that quit three days before starting her job:

“The Iowa search firm hired by the Kentucky Board of Education to produce a list of candidates should have vetted Erwin more closely and targeted problems more quickly, the critics argue.

“And they say board members failed to do their job, ignoring concerns raised by the media and the public over Erwin’s resume, which contained an award she hadn’t won and a presentation she never made, and her reputation for running roughshod over teachers and administrators when she was a superintendent in Texas, Arizona and Illinois.

“ ‘There is no shortage of places where it went wrong,’ said Bob Sexton, executive director of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence. “The board found out all sorts of things about Erwin too late. But in the end, it was the board’s responsibility to make sure that the best person for the job was named commissioner, and that didn’t happen.”

Does DCSS really need any more legal problems?

Also note the chart in the original blog post, downloaded from the Iowa Secretary of State's office on October 10, 2010. Ray and Associates does not even have a current business license in Iowa. Nor do they have a current license in Georgia.

In mid July 2007, blogger Mark Hebert had reported:
“According to the Iowa Secretary of State's Office, the I.R.S. has a lien on Ray and Associates because the company has failed to pay more than $5700 in federal taxes. ... [An] Iowa state web site also shows that Ray and Associates was administratively dissolved in 1994 and hasn't been in good standing with the state of Iowa since then." Until Mark told them...they didn't know it! They still have not taken corrective action apparently.

See these websites for more details and information: