Saturday, April 16, 2011

Superintendent news

Two articles in the AJC focused on our superintendent search today.

First there's this, Gloria Davis withdraws from DeKalb superintendent consideration

Gloria Davis is no longer in the running to be DeKalb's next school superintendent.

Davis, currently the superintendent of Decatur Public Schools in Illinois, announced Friday she was removing herself from consideration.

DeKalb school board chairman Tom Bowen said he learned of the news Friday. The board met Friday to get an update on negotiations with the two remaining finalists: Arthur R. Culver of Champaign Community Unit School District No. 4 in Illinois, and Lillie M. Cox of Hickory Public Schools in North Carolina. A decision is expected any day.

And then a rather obvious commentary -

Public trust key issue for next DeKalb superintendent

DeKalb County's next school superintendent will be selected partly on his or her ability to build public trust, so successes in their current jobs might offer clues about what stakeholders can expect here.

School board Chairman Tom Bowen said the finalists were asked specifically how they would address credibility issues in the district, which over the past year has been distracted by accreditation scares, leadership scandals and squabbling between board members.

"That was clearly an area we were paying a lot of attention to," Bowen said. "If you look at the things that impact the district, a lot of the issues we have today are tied to rebuilding a level of trust and credibility as a result of things that go back many years.

26 comments:

themommy said...

Do you think that the majority of the Board cares if we trust the system? I don't.

I can't imagine that many of them think that is a priority.

I think Davis withdrew because she wasn't going to get the job -- common tactic in public situations.

something2thinkabout said...

I agree with "the mommy", except I think she withdrew because of ANY possibility she might get the job. The most difficult task will be to change the school system culture. It still has not sunk in for some people that they need to change their focus from their own career paths to students, or that they are not untouchable. The new superintendent will also come under considerable fire if he or she starts trimming the excess "fat" by eliminating non-teaching, administrative jobs.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

Bowen's quote in the last paragraph certainly shows he doesn't get it! Getting the public trust back means you have to tell the truth Tom. You sneaking around in the shadows signing peoples names to a document those people do not support is only one trick that you have been caught doing. Other issues like the E&Y audit. Do you honestly think that the public thinks you guys lost the original document? Come on Tom we're smarter than you think. Tom the problem is YOU! Not the system. You submit your resignation and then maybe the majority of people in DeKalb will believe that the BOE is actually interested in the public trust!

61shruwi said...

And now there's a third article on Maureen Downey's blog:

"Champaign school board calls meeting for personnel matter. Could it be impending departure of its school chief for DeKalb?"

http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2011/04/16/champaign-school-board-calls-meeting-for-personnel-matter-could-it-be-impending-departure-of-its-school-chief-for-dekalb/?cxntfid=blogs_get_schooled_blog

fedupindcss said...

I wish I could say that any of this mattered. As long as this Board is in place, I don't see any Superintendent being able to do anything.

The one thing I find interesting is that after Davis withdrew, all these bloggers from her present system were saying how upset they were that she was staying (I guess they weren't going to tell us before, so we might hire her). I am wondering what we will hear after we hire one of these folks--will they tell us "Thank God you took him/her off our hands"?

DIVAS UNLIMITED BOUTIQUE said...

I worked for
Arthur Culver as a teacher before moving to Georgia 2 1/2 years ago. He does not have a stellar record and from experience did absolutely nothing for the students in our district. He is simply a great figurehead.

atl said...

Here's blog comments on Culver in response to the local newspaper in his area reporting the possibility of him leaving Champaign.

Interesting comments:
http://www.news-gazette.com/news/education/2011-03-29/champaign-superintendent-finalist-job-near-atlanta.html


http://www.chambanamoms.com/2011/04/12/arthurculver/

Atlanta Media Guy said...

I bet Culver comes in and continues the reign of Clew. Tyson and Company are safe and well the BOE who cares, their constituents will decide their fate.? Is there really someone out there that can change things at DCSS?

Reading the comments from the Illinois newspaper really scares me. Words like regime are used. DCSS stakeholders are currently using those words, do we need another one?

fedupindcss said...

Well, Atl, you answered my question for me. Clearly people in Illinois are so anxious to get rid of Culver that they are jumping the gun on their blog posts.

I wonder, though, if the Illinois BOE meeting Maureen referenced (about personnel issues) might be in response to the crappy interview Culver gave the Champaign paper. They might have had enough of him after he bad mouthed them to the local press. At least that would be the way I would like to interpret it...

Anon said...

Getting a school system released from court oversight is a hard job. (DeKalb wasn't released for any other reason then there weren't any white children left. No proof of improvement in education of African-American children was required.)

Culver has made some enemies along the way and it is clear that, just like in Wake County NC, student assignment seems to be a big issue.

In addition, it is a low performing school system.

I think that DCSS board limited itself to sitting superintendents, but because of that, ended up with the pool we got. Supers at high performing systems are jumping up and down to go work at low performing systems.

Perhaps a second or third in charge from a larger system, would have been a good choice.

Dame said...

What I don't understand is why in the world we would consider Dr. Lillie Cox for superintendent? She comes from a school district of 4500 and wants to lead a district of over 100,000. Why would she even be in the top three? Then, I remember adminstrators do that with our schools. In January Dresden got a new principal. She came from a school of 350 to a school that will soon be over 900 students. She walks around like a deer in headlights. At the last faculty meeting she told the faculty we could dress in our spirit attire during testing if we could quit complaining about her.
Why do we do this to people? Was there not a person in the United States that applied for the superintendent's position that comes from a comparable district? Was there not one person in the whole Dekalb County School District with experience dealing with 800 students, experience with Title I and ESOL that could have come to Dresden? We need to clean house from the school board to the area sunperintendents. They oblivously don't know what they are doing.

Dame said...

What I don't understand is why in the world we would consider Dr. Lillie Cox for superintendent? She comes from a school district of 4500 and wants to lead a district of over 100,000. Why would she even be in the top three? Then, I remember adminstrators do that with our schools. In January Dresden got a new principal. She came from a school of 350 to a school that will soon be over 900 students. She walks around like a deer in headlights. At the last faculty meeting she told the faculty we could dress in our spirit attire during testing if we could quit complaining about her.
Why do we do this to people? Was there not a person in the United States that applied for the superintendent's position that comes from a comparable district? Was there not one person in the whole Dekalb County School District with experience dealing with 800 students, experience with Title I and ESOL that could have come to Dresden? We need to clean house from the school board to the area sunperintendents. They oblivously don't know what they are doing.

atl said...

@fedupindcss
Well, blogs are just opinion. I haven't seen any reliable data sources.

Here is some more - some pro and some con:
http://www.news-gazette.com/news/education/2011-04-10/culver-ready-move-after-nearly-nine-years-running-champaign-schools.html

Sagamore 7 said...

Dame @ 11:30.

Please take time and read the resumes of the candidates to better informed. Here is a link to the Superintendent Search page from DCSS.

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/superintendent/search

Dr. Cox is currently the superintendent from Hickory Public Schools in NC.
She was the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction for Alamance-Burlington School System which has 23,000 students and prior to that was Executive Director of Organizational Development, Professional Development and Curriculum in Guilford County School System serving 73,000 students.

In my humble opinion, she has worked in and been in charge of a similar sized school system.

She also is the ONLY candidate that has her Doctorate of Education in EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP from UNC Chapel Hill!

Many administrators in DCSS have online degrees while this young lady has her Doctorate from Chapel Hill!

I feel that research triangle is a pretty darn good place to get an education!

Bring in Dr. COX!!!!

I also feel similarly to ATL Media Guy that Culver will be welcomed by the current DCSS family and friends and assimilate into the existing system without any meaningful or sizeable changes.

I think Dr. Cox does NOT fit the mold of DCSS and will have a tough fight as the new super. But that is what I am looking for and is much needed.

Dr. Cox has the experience of working within a large school system.

I say, bring her in!

S7

susan said...

@Dame -

While the new principal at Dresden may be walking around like a deer in headlights, what I noticed about her was that she was up at the school Saturday during a school clean-up working, more parents were up there volunteering, and teachers that don't normally help were also there. She also made sure parents were fed in order to thank them. She also listened to teachers and community members afterwards about how to further make Dresden a more welcoming place. She may have lots to learn, but she's certainly on the right track. Give her a break - it's not her fault that DCSS didn't hire someone from a larger school.

Anon said...

Sagamore 7

She has changed jobs every 18 months or so. Cox hasn't led a system of more than 1800 students and has a very compliant school board.

I think she would be fish food for the sharks. Don't you?

Sagamore 7 said...

Anon @ 10:22.

Fish food for the sharks?
I assume you are referring to DCSS sharks?
I think she would be considered an outsider and find it hard to assimilate into DCSS.

Let me ask you this question.

How well do you think Culver will assimilate into DCSS or even New Birth?

S7

Anon said...

No, I was talking about the Board. I don't believe Cox has enough experience working in a hostile situation with a board that doesn't do its job well.

I suspect she will get the job though -- perhaps because the board thinks that they can control her.

If she gets the job, I expect that the top leadership of the system will remain unchanged, at least for the next 6 or so months.

She doesn't seem like one who has much of a track record shaking things up, except in instruction. While this is important, DCSS' problems run much deeper.

We need someone who can bring in top notch people, route out corruption and improve instruction.

We truly may be waiting for Superman!

melaniestef said...

"Waiting for Superman" is an understatement! We had better hang on to what we have (Supt. Tyson). At least she is aware of the problems , lawsuits, SACS, CRCT mess, and the dynamics of the board. She has EXPERIENCE as Supt. of a large school system (ours).
Culver and Cox would have an identity shock and could not begin to handle this Board. Cox can't stay in one place long enough to have a track record..good or bad! !8 years expeience in 10 different jobs! FLAG! FLAG! FLAG!
They need to hire Tyson, if she will reconsider, and take the job or they need to go back to the pot.
For our childen, we NEED to get this thing RIGHT NOW!

Sagamore 7 said...

I would consider Tyson for the job if she showed one ounce of backbone!

She has asked for her "Equality" Raise to be paid like a super.

Well, she got the raise,she is the HIGHEST paid superintendent DCSS has EVER had!

Now, besides hiring consultants to tell her what needs fixing in DCSS, what has she done?

It seems pretty much like status quo to me at the Palace.

In my opinion, Mrs. Tyson was given the raise, not based on her position within the school system, but on her ability to clean house.
Cut the fat at the Central Office and head off into the sunset and take her LIFELONG PENSION and work in a small school system and live happily ever after.

She is supposed to be the bad super and make all of the tough decisions before the new super gets here.

Do you think that will happen?
Did DCSS just wind up making Mrs. Tyson the highest paid MIS employee in the country?

$343,000 per year to sit around and do nothing?

Look folks, this school system had been out of control since we had the missing E&Y report from 2004!

Just look at Mrs. Tyson's salary increases in the past 7 years.

Who has gone from making $95,000 as an MIS employee (BTW the MIS department is one of the HUGE overfunded departments within DCSS)
to making $343,000 in 7 years?

And this is within a PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM?

If anyone should be getting this type of pay, it should be the teachers, not highly overpaid ADMINISTRATORS!

Do you get the BIG picture?

The whole system is rotten to the core!

Michelle Rhee is in charge of changing public education for the country. We are in charge of changing public education in DCSS!

This is the Civil Rights movemment of our generation and I would assume Lonnie King, John Evans and the whole crowd would be ashamed of the type of education their grandchildren are receiving in DCSS, if they are actually here or are they in private school.

I know Mr. Evans grand kids are in DCSS.

The board is going to be drastically different after re-elections next year. I think the future of the DCSS board will be more active, transparent and accountable.
Not this current board.
I still can't believe SACS doesn't have a problem with the Chairman forging other board memeber's signatures and the Vice chairman telling State Senators he is "GOD!"

Our new super will have a different board to work for.

S7

Anon said...

In order for SACs to have a problem with the letter, a board member has to report it.

I don't think that is happening. I think that because the board members supported the intent of the letter, they aren't going to complain.

dekalb2 said...

CHAMPAIGN -- With no word from a Georgia school system that is considering Champaign Superintendent Arthur Culver as a finalist for its top job, the Champaign school board has postponed a special meeting originally scheduled for Tuesday evening.

The board had been set to meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday (April 19) to discuss, and possibly take action on, an unspecified personnel matter. That meeting will now be held at 6 p.m. Monday, April 25, according to a fax sent to The News-Gazette and other local news media, at 8:07 a.m. Tuesday.

But the DeKalb County, Ga., school board made no announcements Monday night about its choice for superintendent of the metropolitan Atlanta district. The board met for an hour in closed session to discuss personnel matters but took no action during the public portion of its meeting.

Culver is one of two finalists for the post, along with Lillie M. Cox, superintendent in Hickory, N.C.

The Champaign school board decided Monday night to postpone its meeting since no decision had been made about Culver's status, board President Dave Tomlinson said. That could be moved up if the DeKalb County board makes a decision soon, he said.

DeKalb County Board Chairman Thomas Bowen said earlier Monday that the district was negotiating with one of the finalists but would not say whether Culver is the front-runner.

"We have two candidates that remain. We are in talks with one of those candidates, but we have not eliminated either one," Bowen said late Monday morning.

Culver said late Monday that he had been told by search firm officials that the decision had been delayed, and that "it could go either way."

"The board is working through some things," he said. "As soon as they get those things worked out, the decision will be made."

He repeated his desire to move on after nine years in Champaign, a lengthy tenure for a superintendent of a district this size. He said he has discussed that issue with the Champaign school board.

"I think that's really what's best for the district. I think I've taken it as far as I can," he said.

"I've had 21 different board members," Culver said. "I've accomplished what I came here to do. It's really time for me to turn this district over to a new leader.

"It's like a relay race. You've got to pass your baton. After nine years I feel like I've run my leg. I think I've run a good race," he said.

If Culver doesn't get the job in DeKalb County, "hopefully I'll find something somewhere else," he said.

"I really appreciate all the staff members I've worked with, the community members. I have nothing but joy and satisfaction when I reflect upon my time here again."

Bowen said Monday's regularly scheduled meeting was the first time the DeKalb County board would have been able to act on a new superintendent, but no formal agenda item had been posted to that effect.

Asked how soon the board might reach a decision, Bowen responded, "It's difficult to say. Things could move very fast. There could be a reason for us to call a meeting, or it could be something that takes a few more weeks."

The law requires the board to post a public notice 24 hours before a meeting unless it's an emergency item, he said.

The board generally meets twice a month, with the next regular meeting set for May 2, he said.

An executive session is also set for Friday to discuss legal matters, he said.

Culver has been superintendent in Champaign since 2002. Cox has been superintendent of Hickory Public Schools in North Carolina since May 2009.

reserves the right to remove any #1 .bremax wrote 1 day 5 hours ago
Please let it be Culver. We are in such need of competent leadership, and sadly that is not what he has been providing.

p.s. To the Unit 4 school board. Can you please try to find somebody who cares a little bit about Champaign this time?

Cerebration said...

The article above ends with this,

The new DeKalb County superintendent will oversee a 99,000-student system and replace former DeKalb Superintendent Crawford Lewis, who was fired in April 2010 and later indicted on charges of racketeering and theft in the school system. The district, which now has an interim superintendent, is also $100 million in debt and recently underwent a controversial redistricting.

http://www.news-gazette.com/news/education/2011-04-19/champaign-postpones-meeting-culver-ready-leave.html

Just to clarify - we are not $100 million in debt. In fact, our budget is balanced as far as I know. We are - however - involved in a $100 million lawsuit with a construction company.

Read about it here -

So, how is the civil case between DCSS and Heery Mitchell coming along?

atl said...

Very interesting. One of the Champaign blogs references Downey's blog and in particular DeKalb County School Watch:
http://champaignunit4.wordpress.com/

james said...

What is the board doing????Is this a game or will they hire someone? Sounds like Cox and Culver are both in the dark. Is it money? Is it race? Can the board not agree? This is ridiculous. Fulton had a superintendent quickly and without all the drama. I heard that Culver and Cox were both being talked about for Atlana. Is that just a rumor?

SWinDekalb said...

Concern has been expressed as to whether the three finalists were the best we could have gotten and whether there were people from larger districts that had been considered.

It is my understanding that part of the problem is the process Dekalb has in place for hiring superintendents -- i.e., having a public forum to present the final three candidates before making an offer. Because of this step, a number of people who may have considered applying for the position opted not to. Unless they could say with reasonable certainty that they would be offered the job, they did not want to risk their current positions by having it publicized that they were pursuing another position. So while we like the transparency of being presented with the "top" three candidates and we like having the opportunity to give our input regarding these candidates, we may have lost out on some "better" candidates because of it.

I'm also wondering whether the board is trying to get Ms. Tyson to reconsider; especially after some of the comments during the board meeting on Monday night. Are Culver and Cox really the only persons being considered at this point?