Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ray and Associates – Did they really do the job we paid for?

When Ray and Associates was selling itself to the DCSS Board of Education, one of the things that they indicated was that they would do a nationwide search and bring in candidates from far and wide. Unlike other firms, they assured us, they would go deeper than their existing pool of candidates.

Ok – BUT…..

Pretty quickly, after the announcement of the final 3 candidates, I realized that Gloria Davis had been placed in each of her superintendent jobs by Ray and Associates. I think she even said this during the public forum. She mentioned that Ray and Associates asked her to apply for the job. I learned recently that Arthur Culver got the job as the superintendent of the Champaign, Illinois school system through a search led by Ray and Associates.

So much for them finding new blood – at least from the consultant’s point of view. It doesn't appear that their search really started from scratch. In fairness, we don’t really know what role the consultant firm played in the board narrowing down the candidates. It just feels funny to me, that two of the top three would have a long established relationship with Ray and Associates.

Very disturbing to me is the fact that DCSS had a salary range and two of the three top candidates are already making close to that salary. Why are they even in the pool? Would they be willing to make a lateral move, salary wise, or will DCSS simply be forced to pay more because the systems in Illinois, even those with fewer than 10,000 students, pay such high salaries? (See the posted job position here: http://rayassoc.com/job-details.php?ID=90 )

A couple of weeks ago, the AJC ran an opinion piece by a teacher, Janusz Maciuba, at DeKalb Technical College. Unfortunately, it ran during spring break and I think a lot of parents missed it. Maciuba has interesting comments about the candidates’ current salaries and much more. Here is an excerpt, but take the time to read the whole thing.

The winning candidate will have to deal with scandal, lawsuits, a chance of losing accreditation, a county that is divided racially and socio-economically, inept principals leading failing schools, to name just the most obvious. The north end of DeKalb has parents who will hold their breaths until their neighborhood schools are saved and a south end that has become resegregated and has schools where the T’s outnumber the P’s in PTA.

It would take years just to find the closets holding the skeletons. It would take years to alter the downward course of education in this county, to stem the outflow of good teachers, to recognize effective administrators and to return the useless ones to classrooms, not put them back at the Board of Education working on “special projects” at full salaries. A new superintendent has to sweep in with dynamite and a crowbar to dislodge the bloat in having more than 500 administrators, including principals, at an annual average salary of $90,900 each.

http://www.ajc.com/opinion/dekalb-schools-need-a-898364.

26 comments:

Dekalbparent said...

@themommy

Very good points! I knew that Davis had an association with Ray & Associates - she must have said something - but I didn't realize Culver did too. Also "nationwide" got us two from Illinois towns not that far apart, and one from N.C. Where were the folks from the West? the Northeast?

rumors and preverifcations said...

It is strange that all the comments have almost came to a stop because you have to log in.

People, it is really easy to set up a g mail account, you can even use a fake name to sign up.

I really miss all the great comments, don't be afraid.....

rumors and preverifcations said...

It seems to me that Ray Ray, got paid way to much to do so little and there was no nation wide search, they just pulled a couple people of there data base, what a joke!!! Who got a kick back?

A Blue State of Mind said...

@Rumors

I agree! This blog has gone to sleep!

I really miss the old free for all! This blog WAS DCSS transparency! Now, all you read are minimalist, cryptic press releases in the AJC. The release regarding the proposed budget was so misleading. Even the paper, in its headline, misinterpreted it.

Anon said...

It is so easy to get an id on either open id or gmail people!

Just open an gmail account with all false information -- no one will be the wiser.

Come up with a clever (or not) name and rejoin us.

Anon said...

I was at the public hearing that Ray and Associates held. I heard a woman say to one of the consultants that she was worried that DCSS couldn't attract top talent right now and if the candidate pool was disappointing, could Ray and Associates find an interim that could come in and do some cleaning of house.

He looked surprised that she thought this would be a hard job to fill!

teacher said...

Hopefully we'll get a good candidate. I don't like Cox and see her as a job hopper. We need stability and a true leader who is willing to be here for more than a year or two. Mixed reviews about Culver, but that goes for any boss.

I have tried to log on with a google account and have had trouble with the blog accepting my entries. Maybe others are having similar trouble.

Cerebration said...

I understand some people's reluctance to get an Open ID and post comments, but let me say that I appreciate it! Since going to this method, the spam has gone waaaaay down. I don't have to get into the spam trap 3 or 4 times a day to read through and find the real comments and toss the spam. It was getting tedious - and I don't get overtime. (In fact, I don't get base pay either...!)

Appreciate you all and the cooperation it takes to help me out.

(FWIW - our page loads are about the same and the number of unique visitors hasn't gone down so the blog is still being read just as much as before.)

Dekalbparent said...

when I log on with google and put in a comment, it says it couldn't connect or couldn"y post, but if I hit the back arrow and submit again, it takes it.

PolitiMom said...

I suspect you'll see the regular number of postings once the new person is chosen. We've been in a holding pattern so long, with ZERO house cleaning going on under Tyson. I wish I could get that kind of salary simply for keeping the status quo. :-)

awesome24k said...

I agree wholeheartedly! I don't feel that this was a truly thorough search for the BEST candidate. Although DCSS is trying to make it appear that they are being 100% transparent in this process, it is clear that we are not getting the very best. How many candidates were initially considered? What were their backgrounds? How was the final candidate list whittled down to these three candidates who, to their credit, may be great leaders and administrators in their respective school systems, don't seem to have the experience to truly turn our system around. Heck, look at Fulton County. They at least recruited someone from Charlotte-Mecklenburg, NC schools, a similarly-sized school system that, I might add, went through many of the same desegregation battles as DeKalb County Schools did in the late 60"s and early
70's. We need someone who understands how the nuances of race and nepotism, a north/south divide, and a lack of fiscal prudence have hurt a once exemplary school system. Unfortunately, at this team DCSS does not need someone who has the potential to "learn on the job." The new Superintendent needs to do his/her homework and come in thoroughly prepared to hit the ground running!

awesome24k said...

Just an afterthought...didn't we at one time have a Rodney Ray (a former policeman, I believe) who worked for the system as a Director of Public Relations (system spokesperson)? I believe he left shortly before the Pope/Lewis arrests and did speak on television to answer the questions regarding the private bathroom that was installed in the Superintendent's office on Mountain Industrial. Can someone please confirm that there is no relation between Ray and Associates and Mr. Ray?

melaniestef said...

Thanks! I am doing my research!!

melaniestef said...

Ray & Ass. are a weak search firm. There were 51 candidates but whether they were interested in Dekalb or just repaying Ray for pass favors, who knows?
I think we should have done like Fulton. Looked for successful large systems and approached their top Deputies.
I am calling my Board Members, we must get this right, now. What incentive would a successful Supt. of a large system have for coming to ur "situation"?

Hope in Dekalb said...

Many potential candidates may not want it publicized that they are being considered for another position, especially if an offer is not guaranteed.

While we like the transparency of having the public forum announcing the top 3 finalists, it may also discourage some candidates that many may feel would have been a better fit.

teacher said...

I believe the way that we announced the candidates will inhibit anyone Awesome from ever applying to DCSS. Who wants to have their job looking announced to the world, not get it and have to stay in a position where people know that you've been looking.

The board should have picked their person and made the announcement. I do like how Fulton did their search. DCSS has to realize that until friends and family are out of positions that they do not belong, any outsider will be sabotaged, as the children are not that important to many DCSS friends and family members-or at least they are an afterthought.

SHS said...

Re: Ray and Associates

DCSS and the BOE continue to ignore their legal and fiduciary responsibility to the DCSS stakeholders and the DeKalb County taxpayers.

According to the Georgia Secretary of State, Ray and Associates has owed their annual registration fee since October 2010. It appears that they are illegally doing business in Georgia.

Further ...
According to the Iowa Secretary of State, Ray and Associates is an inactive corporation.

Clearly, we must insist that Ray and Associates return all fees paid to them and reimburse DCSS for all out-of-pocket expenses connected to the superintendent search.

The superintendent search must be re-started. This time, a small oversight committee of taxpayers and other stakeholders must provide the adult supervision that DCSS and the DCSS BOE are so desperately lacking. Perhaps those who have been actively involved on this blog in bringing attention and transparency to the BOE's misdeeds should form the oversight committee.

teacher said...

We cannot afford any more lawsuits. DCSS needs to begin to do business with companies and people who are on the up and up. Instead we would rather give our money away.

Ray and Associates has numerous ads in Education Week. It was DCSS responsibility to talk with other school districts that have used their services to see how happy they were. It appears that DCSS did not once again do their job, and so we can blame no one but ourselves for the poor quality of candidates that we received.

james said...

Ray et all is no different from any other search firm, but their process is bad in my opinion. Most candidates won't go through the dog and pony show. Cox, Culver, and Davis are all getting rocks from their communities for looking elsewhere. It doesn't matter whether or not the firm contacted them first, they applied. Culver at least had the courage to say I am ready to leave. No games. Then he got blasted for that. I think Cox and Davis are both saying that they are happy happy to stay where they are. Bet they don't. Say what you want to about Fulton, but it is easier to get candidates without all the "transparency."

shark bait said...

It was a little hard to come up with a "name"... now I just need some inspiration of something to add!

gapeach920 said...

I just heard on the news that the County was negotiating a contract with Dr. Lilli Cox, and she was being a little more demanding with her contract than they would like.

teacher said...

If this is true, we don't need anyone demanding. Move on. The likelihood that she'll stick around longer than 2 years is pretty slim. The district needs stability and she does not have a stable work record.

teacher said...

From the AJC:

DeKalb County News 7:42 p.m. Friday, April 22, 2011

N.C. educator in talks for DeKalb superintendent's job

By Jaime Sarrio

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Hickory, N.C., Superintendent Lillie Cox is in negotiations with the DeKalb County school board to be the district’s next school superintendent, a source close to the deal told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Cox was named a finalist last month along with two other candidates, Gloria Davis, superintendent of Decatur (Ill.) Public Schools, who withdrew; and Arthur R. Culver, superintendent of Champaign (Ill.) Community Unit School District.

According to the source, the board voted 6-3 to pursue a contract with Cox, who is currently superintendent of the 4,440-student Hickory Public Schools. Negotiations are hinging on Cox’s request for 15 months severance and a due process hearing before she could be terminated.

"I absolutely can’t confirm," DeKalb school board Chairman Tom Bowen said. "Anything related to that would have been in executive session."

Cox, who has been superintendent in Hickory since July 2009, is asking for a $275,000 salary and a three-year standing contract, which means after she completes one year, another year is added.

She also wants 25 days vacation, $28,000 for moving expenses and $2,000 a month for six months for living expenses during her relocation, the source said. Cox also is asking for permission to be an adjunct professor.

But the sticking point, the source said, is the severance package and the due process. Cox did not immediately return calls for comment.

She has been head of a small city-run school system in Hickory, about 60 miles from Charlotte, but Cox has experience in larger districts. She worked as an assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for Alamance-Burlington (N.C.) Schools, enrollment 23,000. She was also an executive director in Guilford County (N.C.) Schools, which has an enrollment of 73,000 students. The DeKalb system has about 97,000 students.

Reports are she's aggressive at dealing with system issues and has earned the respect of the business community by reaching out for help. Former staff members say she's a collaborative leader who knows her field but takes time to listen to those she works with.

Cox’s potential selection comes as a surprise to DeKalb parent Jerrie Williams.

Cox has had multiple jobs in recent years "and to me that shows she doesn’t really have a good stable background,” said Williams, who has a special-needs son at Stone Mountain Middle School. “But I’m all for a new regime, and it’s time for a change.”

Williams is hoping the needs of special education students are high on Cox’s priorities, as well as balancing the needs of all parts of the school district.

“The north side has a tendency to do a lot of complaining to get what they want, and we on the south side have difficulty getting what we need,” Williams said. “I will be watching and holding her accountable.”

DeKalb is looking to hire a replacement for Crawford Lewis, who was fired and later indicted on charges he ran a criminal enterprise in the school system.

Staff writers Janel Davis and Aileen Dodd contributed to this article.

c said...

I cheered when I heard the news that Dr. Lillie Cox got the job. I am sooo glad. There is finally some hope for this place. Not to sound prejudiced but a white woman is what DeKalb needs and deserves. Maybe she can finally demand some accountability from these people and begin a good housecleaning. Trust me she will not have to look far for some incompetence. She can start by sending Dr. Beasley a long e-mail telling him his services are no longer needed. Maybe she can move here this weekend and attend the New Birth Easter service and see where else HR does most of it’s hiring from. Maybe on the short drive home she can go by the Omega headquarters and see the sorority/fraternity mafia step show because that’s all they do here in DeKalb is step. Or maybe if she needs some exercise she can ask one of the many gym teacher principals to help her out with a workout routine. Finally, if she needs cellular service she can sign up for the Dekalb Friends and Family plan. I hope she takes the time to read this and shows these clowns the business end of the door. The kids and staff really hopes she is successful because we are sorely lacking leadership

c said...

Hey Cobb has a black super and DeKalb has a white one. Hell has officially frozen over.

Nora said...

Superintendent Culver resigns from Unit #4 after closed session regarding a personnel matter the News-Gazette reported this morning. Full press conference is scheduled for later this afternoon. The article also said he had withdrawn from DeKalb as a candidate for superintendent.

http://www.news-gazette.com/news/education/2011-04-26/culver-resigns-withdraws-candidacy-georgia-job.html