Monday, October 11, 2010


Leaving the Search-gate too fast, -- way too fast …

The upcoming search by the DCSS BOE for an experienced, high-quality superintendent with a successful track record in turning around a large, very diverse urban school system has gotten off to an inauspicious start by selecting two very questionable finalists for the search firm choice.

The DCSS RFP stated: “The DeKalb County School System is seeking proposals from highly qualified and capable firms specializing in nationwide public school superintendent searches. The successful search firm shall possess a demonstrated track record of success in identifying and attracting the most competent K-12 public school district superintendent candidates available in the United States. The successful search firm shall have no agency representation relationship with potential candidates and shall not function as a placement firm for a pool of clients.”

Since apparently DCSS BOE advertised the RFP for a search firm only in The Champion, the DeKalb County legal organ (circulation 20,000), the RFP may not have come to the attention of many successful and quality national search firms. DCSS BOE did advertise twice, but that does not equate to a 40,000 circulation – which still would not be enough. An RFP for a national search firm must be advertised nationally to catch the attention of national search firms.

FINALISTS for Superintendent Search Firm:

· Georgia School Boards Association

The Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA) is currently conducting only one search -- for Appling County Schools with 6 schools and fewer than 3500 students. On their website, the Georgia School Boards Association does not list their previous clients or how successful they have been. GSBA clearly is not a search firm who is familiar with or has a track record of attracting national candidates for the superintendency.

Did DCSS BOE member Zepora Roberts, district director for GSBA’s 4th District, recuse herself from the vote taken to select GSBA as a finalist for this critical assignment? If not, why not?

· Ray and Associates, Iowa

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 [Ray and Associates] 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 (below) 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.

Cert. No.
Filing Date

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! It seems that they still have not taken corrective action.

See these websites for more details and information:
All of this was quickly discovered via the Internet while sitting on my sunporch on a lazy Sunday afternoon.


Anonymous said...

Great job Sandy as always.

No one who knows DCSS ever believed for a second that Tom Bowen, Zepora, SCW, Walker, etc. would ever have a true national search for the new supt.

Of course Zepora won't recuse herself. She knows her ties to the GSBA give her even more influence on choosing the next supt.

Same old, same old.

Anonymous said...

With the superintendent and COO under indictment, Tom Bowen better damn make sure every DCSS BOE member is up to date with their
annual training requirements.

If any of the five up for re-election haven't met their requirements, that's an instant loss for them in the upcoming election.

Anonymous said...

Just in case you missed this the first time:

Anonymous said...

Well, this certainly doesn't sound good.

Anonymous said...

According to this document they were released from the tax lien:

Cerebration said...

People, this is serious. Please email Mark Elgart at SACS and let him know that you are concerned about the shadiness of this search. (Anyone know his contact info?) We were promised a NATIONAL search - by a NATIONAL company yet we have only two search firms, one of which, the Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA), lists Zepora Roberts as the district rep for DeKalb! Add to this, the GA group is currently the low bidder - against this Iowa company that is apparently not even registered in their state... that looks kinda manipulated to me...

Anonymous said...

A couple of thoughts.

First, if there is no office here I can't see why they would have a GA license.

Second, the national firms search all the times for RFPS. They don't look for the ads. In fact, I can't even figure out where you would place an advertisement announcing the RFP.

The school board hasn't conducted interviews yet and may find that they need to do more to find a additional firms.

It is also possible that no one, no matter how desperate for work, wants this gig.

Anonymous said...

I agree about GSBA. They shouldn't be on the list.

Almost more important than the firm, is the process they will use to find candidates. Last time, the placement firm clearly had a roster of available candidates and that is all they drew from. This time around the RFP made it clear that this wasn't acceptable.

GSBA (or another similar organization) will be the cheapest option because they are non-profit. Cheaper is not the way to go this time.

Anonymous said...

Only advertising in the Champion? Speechless.

As I have feared since Beasley was put into his current position, I do not see any outsiders advertising or even knowing about the opening to apply. We will be stuck with a friend or family member for sure.

Our children are in very bad hands. Why isn't someone higher up doing something? Are more than our current board in cahoots?

Anonymous said...

I'm fairly certain that Mrs. Tyson has been speaking to Mark Elgart with regards to the Super search.

Cerebration said...

Anon, 5:01 PM -- the company Ray and Associates is not licensed in THEIR state -- Iowa. There's obviously no reason to expect them to be licensed in Georgia.

Anonymous said...

"Georgia is considered one of the leading states in the effective use of technology at the board governance level."

This quote comes off the GBSA website.

Must not be talking about our board since we use sharpies to

Anonymous said...

DCSS did a D&B process on these companies...that is part of the RFP.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if the GSBA (Georgia School Boards Association) is the right agency. It sure seems that the GSSA (Georgia School Superintendents Association) would be a more likely agency in touch with current, former, and prospective superintendents if one wants to go the Association route.

Anonymous said...

Or better yet, how about the American Association of School Administrators if you want national reach.

Anonymous said...

Might want to start copying the governor... I thinkt he gov. office has authority to remove board members... maybe that's the most effective thing to do...

Anonymous said...

A little gem from the net. From a Google review of Ray and Associates:

Extremely rude company‎‎
By Mike - Jul 1, 2010
A woman from this company called our company, I assume to solicit business, and was extremely rude when I asked if our CEO (whom she asked for) was expecting her call. If that is how Ray & Associates treats their prospective clients then the candidates whom they are representing should think twice about Ray & Associates representing their best interests for employment opportunities. Bad character in their own employees should be a more important criteria for an executive job candidates provider!‎

Oh well....

Anonymous said...

Governor can only take action if accreditation level of the system is lowered.

Anonymous said...

Sandy, nice job on the research, as usual!

I did an online search and I found DCSS Superintendent online search webpage on page 3 of Bing and Google. Not bad if you're looking for government work and if you can get it.

I know a bit sarcastic, however, is this the best our current BOE can do? A local ad in a County newspaper, The Champion and a webpage? I want to ask anyone planning to vote for an incumbent, do you feel like our BOE is doing a good job searching for a Superintendent?

-The two search finalists, a company with ties to DeKalb and possibly a current BOE member. The other a company in Iowa, not licensed in Iowa, months late in paying Federal Taxes and a shady past with a couple of their former clients.

Gee, I wonder who the BOE wants to win?

-If Dunn and Bradstreet did an investigation on these two companies, is that report available to the public?

I also love it how the RFP goes out August 18th, dated on the document which is on the DCSS website, with a deadline of 2pm September 14th. Less than a month to respond to an RFP.

Why does it seem that everything this BOE does has to be done in a hurry? We've known all summer that a search was going to take place.

It also seems to me that this BOE wants a certain bidder to win. Why?

Once again, I ask the folks who want to vote for an incumbent, are you good with how this search has started? Why would we want to vote for anyone of the 5 folks running for re-election?

This is so embarrassing, just like the work that Turk did with the +$50k vendors approval. I think they need to hit the re-do switch on this one.

They must actually think we're not watching or care. Guess what? We do and are watching closely.

Anonymous said...

Off topic..

Just finished watching the 40 minute BOE meeting at The Palace.

They approved the QSCB $58 million dollar bonds. Let's hope that Mr. Turk and staff can prepare the paperwork properly, since the timeline is tight!

November is the date to watch for, that is the deadline for the decision how the QSCB bonds are used. This will of course be after the election and during the lame duck sessions of our BOE. This timing and the decisions that have to made really worry me.

One other funny note about tonight, at the end of the meeting PDS-24 plays some funky music over a shot of the Palace Ballroom. Then up pops Ernest Brown from last week, and his LOUD public comments in support of the Interim Super and the staff! Along with the cheering from the peanut gallery! How ironic, was this planned Ms. Guilroy? I feel if you show one public comment, all of them should be shown!

The Friends and Family strike again!

Anonymous said...

Why would it be made known nationally if Morcease Beasley is vying for the position? If he's selected it won't be anything new...that's how it's done in DCSS.

Teacher in DCSS said...

This is great information and we teachers are SO glad that you all are keeping track of the BOE's shoddy attempts to foil the SACS and the intent of community efforts to improve things in DCSS. It's not that they want things to stay bad--increasingly, it seems like they just don't know another way. Pity them...and then vote to remove them so they can get the help they deserve!

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:01

Interviews don't need to be conducted to realize that a real search for a superintendent isn't being placed. The board will use lack of applicants to appoint Beasley. I see it happening.

I don't trust the current board of ed, or administration to find a good candidate without DeKalb ties. Someone must be up for this challenge. If I had the credentials I'd apply. We're not talking rocket science about what needs to be done. Fire everyone and start from scratch!!

Anonymous said...

Here we go AGAIN!!!!

Anonymous said...

D and B reports can be purchased. I don't think they give them away.

The majority of this board despises Zepora Roberts. In fact, at least one board member is openly supporting one of her opponents. Another board member reported her threat. Anyone who thinks she is why GSBA is on the list is delusional.

I don't think GSBA is a good choice. I have written my board members and asked they repost the RFP.

Anonymous said...

The D&B report is part of the response to the RFP. And yes, the companies responding to the RFP had to send payment along with the RFP.

Did any of you even read the RFP?

Anonymous said...

It isn't just DeKalb. When googling superintendent search, it seems common that school boards aren't getting many responses to their RFPs. It also seems consistent that state level organizations like the GSBA are offering this service.

and this... look at the cost difference between the firm that Wake County went with and the NCSBA. (NCSBA must have been in the 20K range.)

After debate over how much money should be spent to find the next leader of the state's largest school district, the Wake County Board of Education approved a recommendation that a Chicago-based firm should conduct the search.

Board members voted 5-4 in favor of the hire of Heidrick & Struggles at an estimated cost of $82,500 to find a replacement for outgoing superintendent Del Burns. The group was among a number of options the board's Superintendent Search Committee considered for the job.

Heidrick & Struggles initially bid $110,000 for the search but later renegotiated. The school system will also pay expenses related to the search as part of the contract.

School board member Carolyn Morrison objected to hiring Heidrick, saying the committee ignored a more prudent bid from the North Carolina School Board Association, which would have saved $75,000 and costs associated with travel, since the group is local.

Anonymous said...

And this from Huntsville AL

Laurie McCaulley, representative for District 1, said she is ready to get started on the superintendent search, but warned that the school system's budget needs to be taken into account before the search begins.

"Our finances are going to drive the search and whether it will be local or if we can do a nationwide search," McCaulley said.

McCaulley said from information she has gathered, it could take up to $100,000 to do a nationwide search, as opposed to searching only within the Southeast.

"If that's the case, a nationwide search may not be in our range right now," she said.

Anonymous said...

And this from Clark County, NV -- Las Vegas

"You have to ask yourself --did the company that did the procuring of the applications and the vetting of these candidates really do the best job possible? I hope that they did," says Ruben Murillo, President of the Clark County Education Association.

As the public starts learning more about the three proposed candidates some parents want to get more involved.

"Bring these people in. Let us interview them. Let us ask them questions," says Gonzalez.

The public will get their chance next week when candidates are flown in.

"I think we have to find the right candidate that is clean and that is going to be able to work towards addressing those issues that are important to us in Clark County," says Murillo.

The superintendent candidates are coming from Texas, Colorado, and Florida. Some parents are wondering why not save money and hire locally?

"I think they could find someone here and save the money and put it back into our schools," says Gonzalez.

"There's no perfect way. There's maybe no good way. This is probably the best way of all," says Jim Rogers, former Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor.

He offered to do the job for free. When he was passed up, at least one parent was pretty upset about it.

Anonymous said...

I don't trust DCSS either. I ran into someone who works over at the mountain industrial complex and he whispered to me that they already knew who the job was going too and would be announced prior to April 15th. I couldn't get him to give me a name, but he insisted they already knew. I know it is just hearsay, and I tried to get more info out of him. Very tight lipped.

Anonymous said...

Here is Cobb's plan:

Dear School District Stakeholders:

The Cobb County Board of Education has begun the process of hiring a new superintendent for our school district. As you know, current Superintendent Fred Sanderson has announced his retirement effective June 30, 2011. The school board also is experiencing transition with at least two new members taking office on January 1, 2011. The current board met on August 23, 2010 to discuss the superintendent search process and timeline, and made the following decisions:

* The new superintendent will be hired by the Board of Education that takes office on January 1, 2011. The current Board will begin the process of gathering public input and accepting applications.
* In early September, the school district will conduct an online survey that solicits input from the broader community on desired qualities of superintendent candidates.
* In early October, the school district will conduct focus groups to determine desired qualities and attributes of superintendent candidates.
* The superintendent position opening will be advertised sometime in November or December.
* The Board of Education will hire a neutral outside group or firm to receive applications and pare them down to a manageable set of qualified candidates.
* In January, the Board of Education will begin considering and interviewing candidates.

We wanted to share this information with you to ensure you are informed throughout the process, and we will update the timeline as needed. We look forward to your input and believe that together we will find an outstanding candidate to lead our great school district.


Cobb County Board of Education

Anonymous said...

I have to tell you after spending the last 30 minutes reading through the links that google found for superintendent search, I am very discouraged.

From coast to coast, school systems are struggling to find competent leaders. It is disheartening.

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration 4:49

You are right. It is critical that DeKalb parents/taxpayers email and/or call Mark Elgart, SACS President:

Telephone: (888) 413-3669

Anonymous said...

Why can't the board of ed contact quality candidates and try to entice them with a job. This is done all of the time in the corporate world.

We can't wait for quality candidates to come to us, we must go out and find them ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Education Week would be great place to start advertising. It is a national periodical geared toward all levels of education. Many districts, nation wide, post a variety of education related positions. In any event, it certainly beats the Champion.

Anonymous said...

In corporate America, at least before the economic slowdown, if a corporation wanted to attract superstar talent or hire a certain high caliber candidate, they could up the ante -- higher salary, great relocation benefits, stock options etc.

In the government sector that has never been the case.

The challenge is that for superintendents who are doing a good job and feeling the love from their communities, it is hard to move on. Especially to struggling school systems, especially when you are happy where you are.

Anonymous said...

Your post stated On their website, the Georgia School Boards Association does not list their previous clients or how successful they have been.

If that is correct, then how did you conclude that GSBA clearly is not a search firm who is familiar with or has a track record of attracting national candidates for the superintendency.?

Teacher With Atitude said...

Please remind us--how do we contact Mark Elgart? Many of us want to know what's happening to the retirement fund that was the substitute for Social Security that the Board took away 2 years ago (the Board TSA), and whether it is legal to make us work without either Soc Sec or that retirement fund. Other Georgia school districts pay into Social Security. We would like to ask Mr. Elgart this and, of course, DCSS does not make it apparent how to contact SACS.

Anonymous said...

Lord, help us.

Anonymous said...

SACs has very little to do with that issue. (Their only issue would be whether or not DeKalb violated its own policy, which I think it did.) y

Are you a member of ODE or PAGE? Have you contacted your representative to ask them?

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 9:30

"Please remind us--how do we contact Mark Elgart?"

This is the contact information I have for Mark Elgart, President of SACS. Let me know if this is not correct:

Telephone: (888) 413-3669

Anonymous said...

Looking at my Education Week. I see job advertisements done the following ways:

1. From the district itself

2. school exec connect Highland Park, Il (very few schools with this choice)

3. Ray and Associates, Inc (very few schools with this choice)

4. State School Board Associations

5. Does the South have something like this?

**Why doesn't the board of ed put their own ad in the paper copy of Education Week and also on the internet version and see what happens.

Nothing should be done before the newly elected people are in place. We have waited this long, what is a few more months?

Anonymous said...

I think we need an intermediary. Someone who can make the job sound good. Then you get them hooked and tell them the "rest of the story."

Anonymous said...

Mr. Bowen, with your vast knowledge about how it's done and what with your law and accounting degrees, will you please help us to understand via this blog why oh why you guys didn't write to your constituents like Cobb County and lay out a plan we could trust, with a timeline that makes sense? There has to be a reason that your board continues to make the wrong decisions even when now all eyes are on you. Maybe you all are in self destruct mode. Maybe deep down inside you all feel you deserve it.

Anonymous said...

The Cobb board has said all along that they may go with an insider. That is why they aren't hiring a firm to do a national search. They will post the ads and then use an outside firm to vet the applications, but they very well may hire someone already on staff or known to the system from having worked there before.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it great how Cobb County treats their stakeholders? Making sure the public knows everything about the process. Asking the public for input. Very refreshing!

At DCSS, they have a morning meeting at The Palace. They really don't report anything about their decision, except the announcement of the two that were chosen. They choose a DeKalb firm, that doesn't have much of a history with large urban school systems. I don't recall them asking the stakeholders for any input. It took Sandy to uncover some of the information that they should be willing to share.

So let me get this right... according to a previous poster, the BOE already knows who the new super will be and will announce before April 15th. So if they know, why do we need to spend a dime on a search firm? Unless of course they want to help out another law firm like the GSBA.

If this is true then these folks at DCSS are a fraud!

Let's ponder who the new Super is!
-Tyson (who claims she does not want the job.
-Beasley (who acts like he is the super already)
-Moseley (which would be a huge mistake, why this guy hasn't been fired yet is beyond me.)
-Someone from GADOE?
-Someone from another metro school system?
-Frankie Calloway (Just kidding.. you can clean the coffee off your computer screens now.)

Anonymous said...

Sell The Palace and move back to Buildings A & B ... give the money to the schools where it belongs. The central office should be a bare bones operation, giving support to the principals who run their schools. This would be a start toward goodwill, toward helping us to trust again. Do the right thing for once. This would go a long way.

Anonymous said...

Let's ponder who the new Super is!
-Tyson (who claims she does not want the job.
-Beasley (who acts like he is the super already)
-Moseley (which would be a huge mistake, why this guy hasn't been fired yet is beyond me.)
-Someone from GADOE?
-Someone from another metro school system?
-Frankie Calloway (Just kidding.. you can clean the coffee off your computer screens now.)

Thank you thank you thank you for not mentioning Ron Ramsey. Although he would find a way to work it in among his other jobs if given the opportunity.

Cerebration said...


The Southwest DeKalb High School PTSA
Board of Education Candidate Forum
for Districts 5 & 9


District 5

Jesse "Jay" Cunningham (I)

Jacques Hall, Jr.

Dr. Kirk A. Nooks

District 9

Dr. Eugene P "Gene" Walker (I)

Ella Smith (Coach Ella)

When and Where

Tuesday, October 12, 2010
7:30 pm to 9:00 pm

Southwest DeKalb High School Cafeteria
2863 Kelley Chapel Road
Decatur, Georgia 30034

Come make your voice be heard!!!

Sponsored by: CrossRoadNews, Southwest DeKalb High School PTSA and the Southwest DeKalb High School Local School Council

Early and absentee voting has begun!!!
click on:

Advanced Voting Sites

to find the site near you.

Anonymous said...

Barraging SACs with information about things that are out of their purview just makes it harder for the concerns that make valid SACs complaints to get through.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 9:56
I don't think the public knows enough about what important to SACS to make that determination. I would rather err on the side of too much information to SACS than not enough. I think SACS is like any other organization that depends on taxpayer funds. They need to know how upset taxpayers are with this BOE and administration's ethical and alleged criminal violations.

Anonymous said...

While everybody is debating how the money is going to be spent by the BOE, here is how $1,197,150 is going to be used. NOT on any direct instruction for students.

Another new expensive learning program has been added to the list of learning programs we already have in place -
Teachscape Online:

Let's add this to America's Choice ($8,000,000 a year along with the $8,000,000 a year for 80 non-teaching Instructional Coaches to support America's Choice and $21,000,000 to support the non-teaching personnel in the Office of School Improvement headed by Audria Berry), and Springboard ($1,400,000). All from Title 1 funds.

Now we have the BOE approving $39,000,000 a year for programs and NOT one teacher to teach students.

Reference the 9/7/10 BOE meeting (Go to the website below and click on Purchase of Teachscape Online and Purchase of America's Choice).

Anonymous said...

So sorry. I forgot the $11,000,000 for eSis and SchoolNet. That brings us to $50,000,000 for programs that have not proven effective for students.

Anonymous said...

I love the buzz words like;

TEACHSCAPE -A system how a teacher can effectively escape the DCSS with his integrity intact.

AMERICASCHOICE - I choose liberty, freedom, capitalism, free market enterprises and ideas, less government, less government corruption and a better local school system!

$39 Million dollars this year? They snuck this vote the day after the Labor Day holiday. The DeKalb taxpayers have been bamboozled again!

Please send some money to the people that do the real work for DCSS, the teachers! I can't wait for the public comments next month. Everyone get on the list to speak so we don't have to hear the cheerleaders for the current administration that has driven OUR school system off a cliff!

Anonymous said...

Reference the 9/7/10 BOE meeting (Go to the website below and click on Purchase of Teachscape Online and Purchase of America's Choice).


Hey Ernest Brown, Ramona's biggest cheerleader: Please explain this million dollar plus expenditure. It's "techie", and we all know Ramona loves tech stuff as the former head of MIS.

The Central Office and BOE, despite the various scandals involving DCSS finances, are still in love with blowing millions of our tax dollars for non- school house expenditures. It is amazing how many ridiculous, no Return on Investment programs they purchase instead of putting resources in the actual classroom.

And it ain't ever going to change until a new supt. comes in and clears house.

Anonymous said...

Until the quality of teacher instruction, which partly deals with the curriculum and instruction department and partly deals with lack of teacher knowledge in the areas of reading and math in the very early grades, the instruction levels across the county will not be able to improve.

There are too many kids that are being lost because they are not learning how to read in a way that is effective to them. The teachers don't know how to help them, because they lack the knowledge and training. The coaches that we spend millions on, aren't working with these kids and even if they were most probably don't have a clue on how to help these kids.

Until all of our children are reading at grade level and not being passed on, until our special ed students who need help in working on their areas of need stop getting modified work without addressing the true problems, until the people running DCSS honestly care about the children and what they are not learning, as much as what they are learning, we will never have a school system that is looked upon favorably.

Buying expensive programs and equipment without addressing the problems is not helping improve the education that our students are getting. Fancy equipment is wonderful, but the children must have the basics first.

We have kids, too many kids that are not reading and have trouble with basic math, because they are not taught it in a systematic way.

Until the real instruction and learning problems are addressed in matter that helps improve the quality of instruction that the children are receiving and that the teachers are delivering, the children of DCSS will remain behind their peers.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we should change the name from DeKalb County School Watch to Sandy Spruil holds forth on DCSS.

First people were crtical that the search was not happening and then the paid administrators offered to provide the board with a list of ciandidates

The the board said no thanks-the search is our job. The paid professionals in this case would have advised ads in Education Week and including Heidrick and Struggles. However, no pun intended finding a great superintendent will be a struggle. In additon to dealing with a the lingering effects of previous admininstrations and the board they will face a vocal group of pirana like detractors who have nothing postive to add the problem.

This blog could be a great place to talk about what we could do rather than criticize what other people do.

Anonymous said...

I used Piranha as a metaphor and intended no actual labeling of any individual.

Anonymous said...

We do talk about what we could do, but we also MUST talk about what the DCSS administration and the BOE are doing and have done! They are to often thinking that we are not watching them. If it wasn't for folks like Cerebration and Sandy Spruill we would be in the dark. It's one thing to receive and agenda for an upcoming BOE meeting, it's another thing to be able to break it down, research and find out what it all means.

A lot of us do not have time to scour the web and do the research that Cere and Sandy does. This BOE and administration tries often to sneak things by the taxpayers with these consent orders and other early morning meetings.

It's time we take our system back. Even Edukalb was an epic failure! I even suspected it would be when they announced their plan to endorse candidates.

We can't trust anyone on the BOE and in the current administration. They all got us in the mess we are in and now we expect them to fix it? Please!


OhWell said...

Regarding some of the issues raised in this discussion:

1. I can assure you that regional and national search firms are well aware of the RFPs posted in The Champion newspaper. Any firm looking for business outside of their immediate area will monitor any and all local news organizations where such items are typically advertised, either directly using their own marketing department, or, more likely, through a subscription service that does this as their principal business. In my office, we received a daily report from our service that listed all relevant opportunities that they had found advertised nationwide. We would use that list to choose which projects we would pursue.

2. The comment that has been made that the GSBA “is not a search firm who is familiar with or has a track record of attracting national candidates” is inaccurate. On the GSBA website, on the page describing their Superintendent Search Services, they provide both a “status chart” and a “historical list of searches” as conducted by the GSBA. The status chart identifies 16 searches conducted by the GSBA in the past year, including Richmond County (Augusta). The historical list indicates 216 searches the GSBA has conducted since 1987, approximately 10 per year. That list includes Muscogee County (Columbus), Cobb County, Fayette County and Chatham County (Savannah). Granted, most of these searches have been for very small districts, but it does show that they have been doing this for a very long time.

3. The GSBA identifies two individuals, Dr. Don Rooks, director of Legislative and Superintendent Search Services, and William Sampson, Professional Development Specialist, as being primarily responsible for conducting the searches.

4. As the GSBA provides a range of services to all of Georgia’s 180 school districts, including training, education, and Board development and standards, they will already have a close relationship with the BOE. Whether or not you love or hate the Board, collectively or as individuals, this close relationship and presumably easy communication between them would have to be considered a plus as the search evolves.

5. Zepora Roberts is noted as the GSBA District Director for the 4th GSBA District, which includes only DeKalb and Rockdale Counties. I assume that this means that only the Board members from those two counties (plus Decatur) are to be considered for this post. One of the DCSS BOE members will almost always be a District Director. Although I know nothing more about the responsibilities of this position, I cannot imagine that it is all that powerful or influential, and is probably a position that is readily given to whoever asks for it the loudest, as just another item to list in their resume. Given all the other committee memberships she has or has had, and the overall size of the GSBA, I doubt very much if Zepora has any great investment or influence in the GSBA, or would have any influence whatsoever over the conduct of the search.

6. My main concern on the GSBA proposal is its cost. The $15,000, once broken down for overhead, costs, consultant fees, salaries, etc., would nominally work out to no more than a total of 200 available hours to conduct the search. Simply speaking, that is little more than two weeks fulltime work for two GSBA employees. As the search would require multiple candidate interviews, Board presentations, reports, community meetings, vetting the candidates and so on and so forth, this would seem to be painfully inadequate.

7. I do not believe that the American Association of School Administrators or the Georgia School Superintendents Association offer a superintendent search service.

8. And no, I have no relationship or ties to either the GSBA or Zepora Roberts. Just another concerned DeKalb School Watch lurker frustrated when simple opinions are overstated with no real understanding behind them.

Anonymous said...

FYI, The Chamblee "possee" is getting together and planning to make sure they get all of that money for "their" building - you know the school with only 700 resident students?

Anonymous said...

Today it might only have 700 resident students, but it is a Charter School with students from all over the county. I promise you it will not lose it's charter status either.

Plus, with Dan Drake's redrawing of the lines and balancing attendance zones, there will be more than 700 resident students and charter students attending CCHS when the new building opens up.

Anonymous said...

The State of GA really tightened up the Charter requirements this past year - after CCHS submitted theirs last year. Renewal is no longer automatic.

Why do you assume there is going to be a new CCHS building?

It's troubling to me that millions upon millions of dollars is going to be spent building a new school that is only "held together" due to an influx of students outside its attendance area.

There are elementary schools in DCSS that are much older than CCHS and in much worse condition than CCHS. Why should CCHS lay claim to all this money?

Passionate... said...

Three current excerpts from other school districts hiring search firms for superintendent:
1)The Pella School Board met in regular session last night and the main topic up for discussion was the consideration of search consultants for the new Superintendent of Pella schools. Dave Els, from Els Group and Gaylord Tryon from Tryon and Associates were on hand to give presentations to the school board to make their case to be the search firm chosen. In the end, the school board decided to go with the Els Group...
2) On Saturday and Monday night the School Committee interviewed four different consulting firms and ultimately made the decision to go with NESDEC on Monday.

“They addressed our concerns and seemed to have a good plan in place for involving the community in the process, which is a priority for us,” Lieb said.

Their process includes doing focus groups and careful consideration of constituents when selecting a search committee.

Other search firms interviewed were Future Management Systems, Inc., Mass Association of School Committees and Educators’ Collaborative.

3) Search firms Hazard Young Attea & Associates and Dave Long & Associates were chosen from a field of seven.

"Both firms demonstrated, in their proposals, an understanding of how to work with the community and build community connection, and appear to recognize the value of engaging the community, staff and the stakeholders of the District," the memo says.

The firm that's selected would carry out the search beyond internal candidates if the board votes to go ahead with the broader process.

The memo says the board has divided the recruitment process into two stages with two price tags:

• Stage 1: Getting staff and community input on deciding whether to do an outside search and developing assessment criteria for candidates.

• Stage 2: Hiring the search firm for a broader search, if that's the decision, and creating the Community Advisory Committee.

The committee will "work in partnership with the Board in interviewing potential candidates. … The stakeholders chosen to serve on the committee would individually rate and comment on each candidate. This input will be considered by the board, prior to the board's selection of the next superintendent."

No costs for either stage were included on the release, however board facilitator Walt Hanline has estimated "a ballpark figure" for using a search firm at $15,000 to $30,000.

Anonymous said...

Pella has 2000 students. How I wish my children were in a district that size.

From the research I did the other night, if a BoE is using a search firm to conduct the whole process the cost seems to be correlated with the size of a district. For a smaller district, you would have an easier time finding a large pool of candidates.


Weren't you amazed at the number of systems looking for superintendents?

Anonymous said...

One other DCSS related point, and a sign of the deep seeded issues that have plagued our system forever. This was pointed out to me by a board member a few years ago.

No one who "grows up" professionally in DeKalb ever seems to leave to take a superintendent's job anywhere else. (Lonnie Edwards is an exception to this I think. Stan Pritchett did try.)

Every school system in GA but two are smaller than DeKalb. In fact, all but about 27 or so school systems in the cuontry are smaller than DeKalb. Our top level administrators should be hot properties with these districts of 5000 students, 10000 students, even 30000 students.

Instead they are so comfortable here that they stay. Or unambitious? Or to well paid? *In fairness, these jobs aren't in Metro Atlanta and perhaps they don't want to relocate, but still it doesn't look or feel right.

Anonymous said...

Good post at 6:06! Not to paint a broad brush but as a whole, I don't see educators as a profession as 'job hoppers'. Sure you will see that in metro areas where there are several school systems in close proximity but in general many stay in the same school district. Educators are the backbone of many of our communities because that is where they live, work, and play. Many are role models for our children both at school and in the community.

You will have a handful of career minded educators that look to move up the ladder for a variety of reasons. When you consider these individuals as a percentage of all teachers, the number is small. I will agree that those that serve in any type leadership position with success become attractive candidates for smaller school systems. A few years ago, the principal from Towers became the superintendent of the school system in Milledgeville.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Michelle Rhee is on the market ? ............
Seriously, anticipate she will relocate to CA with husband to be.
However, it is a good example of what is likely to happen if DCSS really brings in a changer. If that is really, really what the county gets. And I think that is really, really what the county needs. It is not likely to be a long term person because " change agents " upset a lot of people in the process. Can you imagine how " friends and family " would take to Michelle's philosophy ?

Anonymous said...

But it isn't just the friends and family in DeKalb and it wasn't in DC either.

Many of the parents of DC weren't fond of Rhee personally, felt like she was listening to their concerns and worse, ignoring them.

Part of the reason there is going to be a new mayor is the backlash against Rhee from parents.

She is probably headed to California. She wouldn't come here anyway, no union to blame.

Anonymous said...

Just because some parents don't like her, doesn't mean that she did not do a good job.

Having been in DC schools before Rhee and during Rhee-the during Rhee schools have it all over the before Rhee schools.

The superintendent's job isn't to be liked, but to improve the quality of education that the students are receiving. She tried very hard to do that.

The way that I see the condition of education is that the following needs to be done across the county and not just in DCSS or Georgia:

1. Improve the quality of education that teachers receive.

2. Give first and second year teachers lots of feedback and mentoring.

3. Stop tenure.

4. Make it an easier system to get rid of teachers who have no control over their class, and are poor teachers.

5. Hold teachers accountable. How does a child get to third, fourth, eleventh, eighth grade and not be able to read?

6. Give teachers good post teacher training training. No more watered down, filter teacher trainings given by people who don't have a strong understanding of what is being conveyed.

7. Hold principals accountable. If a school is failing 3, 4, 5, 6 years in a row, the man/woman in charge needs to go.

8. Spend money on the children, impacting their education and not on over priced secretaries and administrators, and other personal that do not impact education and that are not necessary to run a school.

9. Realize that the standards are the minimum of what a child should know at the end of the year, and not the end all be all.

10. Give students the grades that they have truly earned. Stop grade inflation.

11. Parents focus on what your child does/doesn't know instead of the grade he/she receives-as in many cases the grades are a gift, and have not been earned.

12. Prepare children for the real world-do it right the first time, turn it in on time, and do your absolute best.

13. Improve the quality of math and reading instruction in the very low grades. No child should leave 2nd grade struggling with reading, there is too much well done research for our reading instruction not to improve.

14. Realize that it's not the amount of money that is spent on an education, but what is done with the money that is spent.

15. Parents need to get involved in the schools and demand better for their children.

16. Allow people with experience running a business, run large school systems. Most superintendents with just an educational background do not know how to manage the millions and billions of dollars spent in our school systems.

Change is difficult for most people, but unless our education system makes positive changes, our children are in trouble as is our country the way that we know it.

Anonymous said...

I know DC, lived by there and have family there.

Michelle Rhee, while a bit arrogant and shooting herself in the foot more than once, did a strong job overall. Her situation is akin to Johnny Brown: She came in making massive changes, and a lot of the old guard who caused the mess rebelled.

Entrenched administrators resist change and any perceived threats to their "kingdom".

If the BOE doesn't allow a new supt. to come in aentirely clean house of the old guard Central Office upper administration, she/he will re-live Johnny Brown's ordeal.

Anonymous said...

Folks this is where our BOE messed up! We needed to hire an interim, not selected by the indicted former Super, but by the BOE. This interim should have been given the task of firing most of the CLew administration.

We could have made due, for a few months, while searching for the long term super. Then the new super could have come in, hire a new staff and move DCSS forward.

By hiring an insider as interim, it's been business as usual. Not many have been fired under Tyson and the work coming from the staff is mostly shoddy. Turks +$50k vendor list is one instance of shoddy work. Moseley's supplemental budget for Gateway and the approvals of the three charters seem to surprise the BOE. Moseley even said that he prepared the agenda item the way the former administration liked it. McChesney had to tell Moseley, this is NOT the way we're doing business here any longer. These two instances are cause for alarm, and I fear the new super will be treated like Johnny Brown, who had issues too, but was never given a chance to clean house.

Boy do we need a Palace cleaning!

Anonymous said...

I agree, though I think Ms. Tyson is trying. I know several people who are seeing results from their complaints/whistle blowing.

We are setting up the new superintendent to fail. In addition, given all the competition there is to even hire a superintendent, having a cleaner house would make us much more attractive.

Paula Caldarella said...

Guess what company Cobb County Schools chose to help with their Super search?

Georgia School Board Assoc.

Paula Caldarella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Cobb has said all along that they were leaning towards an insider. I haven't heard much public outcry about that. The current Super is retiring, not being fired or let go.

I think they had been grooming someone.

Their recruiting plan really only involves using an agency after resumes and applications are in.

OhWell said...

Michelle Rhee came into the DC system as an outsider, too young, too inexperienced, too female and too Korean. In most communities those five qualities alone will alienate a major portion of the constituency, regardless of the job he or she performs. In other words, she wasn’t ‘one of them.’ And with the tough choices before her that were necessary to fix the system, she was guaranteed to lose more support. The biggest surprise was that she was able to make the kind of progress she did.

But this is the exact kind of person DCSS needs. Tough, determined, prepared to make the tough decisions, strong enough to withstand the inevitable criticism, sensitive to the needs of our children, prepared to provide unremitting support for our teachers and focused on keeping our children priority number one. No question, this will be a thankless job. Should that person be found, he or she will need all of our support. If we had been there for Johnny Brown, perhaps things would not have deteriorated so far.

Another point to be made regarding Michelle Rhee is that she came to her position in DC WITHOUT the kind of experience many on this blog have argued is necessary. She had very little teaching experience (3 years) and no experience at all in the administrative side of a school system. Yet she did impress many experts in the field with her competence, knowledge and courage. Perhaps experience at this level is not all it is cracked up to be.

Anonymous said...

Michelle Rhee is now available -- she now has experience running a system fairly similarly and successfully to DCSS -- I say someone should go and get her to DCSS.....

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:45. Cobb is fine with an insider. However, you can't be saying you would want an insider at DCSS as Super, are you?

Please the current administration, has no business running our system any longer. It's time for a total Palace cleansing!

The current staff is loaded with friends, family, cronies and crooks. Look at all that Pope and Lewis were able to get away with. The long time employees have the same issues as the ones who have been there 7 years or less, it was just under a different regime. I can't see going further with any of the current staff. We need a fresh face to bring in fresh ideas and a fresh staff. No ties to the DeKalb County Government Gravy Train! The DeKalb taxpayer needs to have the system move forward under new leadership!

Anonymous said...

I get the feeling that whoever has anything hard and substantive on Beasley had better start getting it into the "open" (to folks like Womack and Speaks) and to the DA if appropriate and to the newspapers... if there's a "fix" for him to be new super. We desperately need an outsider with no ties to DCSS, no ties to DeKalb and, especially, no ties to New Birth.

Anonymous said...

Mary Margaret Oliver is working with another legislator from South DeKalb to re-work certain aspects of DCSS -- if you have any thoughts or comments on things that are a problem, or that can be done differently or better, you may want to contact them directly.