Saturday, January 16, 2010

Did Frankie Callaway encourage cheating and then hurriedly retire?

Don't click the picture - click this link to view the WSB report.

It seems we have yet another disappointment in a DCSS leader. Frankie Callaway (a $165,000 Deputy Superintendent) apparently asked a "Ms. Patricia Patterson" last May to change her statement about pressuring a teacher to alter the grades of a certain student who had under-performed and skipped school, yet still expected to graduate at Redan HS. Astonishingly, she did graduate - thanks to some magic grade changing by someone. When DCSS began an investigation, (prompted by WSB's investigation) Callaway requested that Patterson "clarify" or change her statement to school investigators. Patterson did, stating that "I have made the changes you requested. The changes are actually counter to the facts." Georgia Tech educated teacher, Kesha Lanier left the school system in protest due to this grade-changing event. And guess who DCSS asked the state to investigate, saying she acted unethically? You got it - the teacher - Ms. Lanier. Not Ms. Patterson and certainly not Frankie Callaway. Nope - she retired one week after "clarifying" her own statement to investigators. A school spokesman told Richard Belcher, "Dr. Callaway retired and there are no documents to the contrary. She had 34 years of wonderful service."

As one of our bloggers pointed out, "I can absolutely assure you that DeKalb teachers come under intense pressure to change grades for students who have have failing grades. The pressure comes from parents and flows through to the teacher from the principal. Teachers should not quit - rather they need to seek legal recourse. It is against the law to force a teacher to alter student records. DeKalb officials need to be held accountable for such actions. In the end it is the student who suffers for these unethical actions. Giving a student a passing grade he/she has not earned is dishonest and unfair to all students."


Anonymous said...

The other employee mentioned in the report is not the principal of Redan. Redan has never had a head female principal.Dr.Callaway would never encourage someone to cheat.We have only heard one side to this report. I do not know all of the details, but please let us be careful in our comments.

Anonymous said...

Right, the person mentioned in the report wasn't referred to as the principal, Patricia Patterson, according to the link on First Class, is a high school literacy coordinator located in building B, but the organization label on the main page is Area 6 which leads me to believe she works for an area superintendent.

I am curios why Anon at 9:24 thinks that Dr. Callaway wouldn't encourage a teacher to change grades or at least lie to cover it up? Dr. Lewis is a people pleaser and wants to be loved by parents -- so if this was one angry parent then perhaps the administrators between the teacher and Callaway (and there are layers and layers as well all know) caved in and ordered the teacher to change the grades.

What I find the most disturbing about this situation, using the facts as we know them, is this is a student who didn't even bother to attend class. The parent couldn't have argued that the teacher was a poor teacher because the student had what sounds like a serious attendance issue. (Remember that on the block, missing one day is like missing two. If a student is out 10 days, they have missed more than 10 percent of the class.)

Cerebration said...

Sorry guys, I wasn't clear on who Ms Patterson is. I think I fixed the story. Click the link to the WSB video for the entire story.

Anonymous said...

Greg Goodwin is the principal at Redan HS. Patricia Patterson is the area office coordinator in Redan High's region (and has been for several years).

Also, I find it hard to believe that Callaway decided on her own to have the grade changed. More than likely, someone higher than her TOLD her to take care of it, which she did. There were only two people higher than her in the organization when this happened. Not to hard to figure out. Unfortunately, those higher than her rarely (if ever) put anything in writing. Based upon the way DeKalb operates, Callaway's sin was not getting the documentation she needed to cover herself, so she took the fall.

Cerebration said...

Isn't this basically the same situation we had at MLK not all that long ago?

The more we dig, the more we find

Dekalbparent said...

Cere - you make the call on whether to publish this, as it is hearsay.

I was told that Ms. Callaway did not retire voluntarily, but rather she was summarily dismissed after a disagreement with Dr. Lewis. I do not know what the disagreement was about, just that she cleared out her office and was gone the same day.

Anonymous said...

There has to be more. Dr. Calllaway was a life long educator. She was a Deputy Superintendent. As Anon 9:24 mentioned, there are many layers. Why would a Deputy Superintendent get involved with the grades of one student? Grade incidents must occur every day in a large school system, even with graduating seniors. Why would it reach all the way to the Office of the Deputy?

Cerebration said...

As I understand the story, WSB started to investigate this student's story. When they found out that a teacher had been pressured to somehow give this student every opportunity in the world to graduate. The teacher says that the student didn't do the work and skipped quite a bit of school. On the last day of school, the parent demanded that the student be allowed to graduate (not sure who she demanded this of.) It looks like it became a showdown between parent, teacher, student and "someone" who made the teacher back down. The teacher quit on the last day of school in protest - breaking her contract.

THEN comes the DCSS investigation (Ramsey's dept I'll assume.) This is when Frankie Callaway got involved and asked Ms Patterson - whoever she is - to amend her statement. This is just DCSS attempting to keep bad press away from the doorstep. However, obviously, this would not have been necessary if the school had simply backed up the teacher.

Ella Smith said...

I was extremely puzzled by Dr. Callaway's sudden retirement.

I knew her and and her husband from Lakeside. There children played sports there when I coached at Lakeside. They were very active parents.

Everything I know about Dr. Calloway is profession. However, she also has to do what she is told to do by her supervisors and most of the time their is some micromanagement by school board members. If a school board member was not pleased about something or Dr. Calloway was asked to do something I am sure she did what she was told. However, I would suspect that Dr. Calloway would not be involved in a situation like this unless she was directed to do something.

I know Dr. Calloway and she is honest. I will not believe anything differently. I knew something had happened. I heard something had happened. Is Mr. Calloway still a principal in Dekalb?

Both of them have worked for the school system for a long time and both of them are extremely professional. I believe Dr. Calloway took the fall for something here.

The teacher was smart to leave after becoming a whistle blower. Her teacher career was over in the Dekalb County Schools.

Cerebration said...

So, apparently, this could possibly be a case of school board/superintendent meddling? SACS will want to know. Frankie should share her story with them, if this is the case. I can see the possibility of Callaway being asked to change these statements and then just giving up and retiring in disgust.

Ella Smith said...

I do not know this for sure. However, I do know that Frankie Callaway is a professional. I have nothing but respect for her and her husband. We all know about the miscro-management goes on.

I only suspect that something else behind the scenes had to have happen. Particularly for her to retire like she did and particularily if she did have a disagreement with Dr. Lewis. This is not the first time I have heard that a big disagreement happened. I actually thought another hire ranking school official was gone also. I had a politcal friend of mine check (not involved with the school system)who knows him very well. He disppeared at school board meetings shortly and then I saw him again, but he is not nearly as visible as before. I never see him at school board meetings or speaking much at school board meetings anymore.

This makes me so sad. Dr. Callaway did not deserve to leave this school system with a scandle like this.

However, if the teacher did not contact the parent there could also have been a problem. We are required to contact parents of failing students. If a student is a senior and the teacher has not informed the parents and then the student is failing that is a problem. The teacher did not follow procedures. Again, we do not know the whole story. If this happened at any School District I can see the possibility of the administration asking the teacher to reconsider the decision of failing the student. However, with progress reports today this is probable not a reasonable request. We give progress reports every three weeks. Now if a parent choices not to check their child's progress report this is not the teachers fault either.

I have a problem with students being able to miss all these days and passing anyway. If a student missing more than 20 days in a semester unless they are in the hospital or under homebound instruction they should not pass to start with.

Anonymous said...

Where the heck is SACS??? This situation coupled with the other major infractions with the DCSS is an outrage and an embarrassment to the entire state of Georgia. This story has legs and has spread across the country which makes a mockery of the state's educational system.
We cannot continue to allow such bad leadership from all parties involved.
If Mrs. Callaway followed orders and had the grades changed, she was wrong.
If Mrs. Patterson was asked to ensure a grade was changed and complied, then she was wrong as well.
The ethics of all of these professional men and women are in question here and those of the parents of the lazy student.
I know how tough it is to ensure you maintain employment, but we are bound by ethical standards here and as adults we are accountable for our actions, it doesn't matter who told you to do it, if it's wrong you don't do it.
There is no gray area here, just plain right and wrong.
Were these people wrong in their action? Yes
Should SACS come in and investigate? Yes
I am not judging anyone....just saying don't think this is the first time this has happened....and won't be the last.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that this story is coming out. This is very similar to the situation at MLK Jr. high school that happened earlier that school year.

Everyone should be aware there is an escalation process. An appeal is made first to the teacher, then principal, then area superintendent. Word on the street is that a NO answer was given at all of these levels. Not sure how Dr. Callaway got involved but word on the street again suggests she approved it and there is documentation to support that. It is one thing to give instructions verbally then say you were misinterpreted if something goes wrong. If it is in writing, it is hard to argue what the intent was. Supposedly WSB got a copy and planned to go to air with this.

If the word on the street is true, Dr. Lewis had a tough decision. He could fire her, which would impact her retirement. He could allow her to resign, which could keep her retirement in tact. We see this across the board in all professions as an attempt for people not to lose everything they have worked for.

Give our Board members some credit, they would not get involved in something like this. If the school board member was asked to help and if they did anything more than ask a school official to look into a concern raised by a parent, it would clearly be the wrong thing to do. I believe our Board members know they should not get involved in situations like this.

Cerebration said...

Well, I guess we'll never know the details - like we don't with so many other things in DCSS. If there is something to look into, I hope that SACS or someone of authority steps in. It's time for someone to put an end to this constant flow of ridiculous decisions and bad actions by our system leaders.

Anonymous said...

Many school systems around the country have their sacred cows along with skeletons in the closet. If these allegations are true, it becomes another concern about DCSS and some of its leadership. That said, this kind of allegation does not rise to the level for SACS to get involved. SACS should get involved if there is proof of systematic failures in the policy making areas of the school system, such as Board members meddling with school operations. If SACS were to get involved in something like this, they would be just as guilty as a Board member.

To get to the truth behind this, maybe someone should ask Richard Belcher of WSB. He seems to have insight on issues like this.

Anonymous said...

Last summer there was a grade changing allegation at MLK HS covered by Channel 2. Only this time the teacher taped her conversation with the DeKalb official. It seems they should have cleared this problem up. Maybe we would not have lost a Georgia Tech educated math teacher. Does anyone know how hard it is to find math teachers?
See link below for WSB Richard Belcher's report:

Ella Smith said...

To get answers Dr. Calloway would have to talk.

Again, it is never as clear cut as an administrator asking a teacher to change grades necessarily. Teachers have obligations before they fail a student who is graduating. Now we have no idea what happened in this situation.

I do not see Dr. Calloway getting into a big dispute with the superintendent without good cause.

We can take parts of information we do know and trash Dr. Callaway's name. However, this would be very unfair to a very professional lady.

However, if she was mad their was a reason to be mad. My trust is with Dr. Callaway.

Anonymous said...

I checked in DeKalb's FirstClass directory and noticed that the MLK HS teacher Aquarius Cain who alleged that her grades were changed and secretly taped her conversation with a top DeKalb official is no longer listed in the system. I wonder if she voluntarily left? I noticed the top official was still here. Perhaps DeKalb administrators should teach the classes of the teachers they are driving out of the system. After all someone has to teach the students.

Cerebration said...

Yes, this is eerily similar to the MLK situation - a situation that resulted in losing a qualified teacher. We chatted about it here --

Also - one thing is indisputable, Ella. Frankie Callaway "changed" her statement to the investigator. Why? From what to what? Hopefully, Belcher or the AJC will do a follow-up report with more detail.

Anonymous said...

I have personal experience with Frankie Callaway. She is not the upstanding, straight-dealing professional she pretends to be. Not only do I believe she would encourage a teacher to change grades or lie (if it benefited Frankie), she also has knowledge of a major theft within DCSS and she participated in the cover-up. I would say that Frankie Callaway is an embarrassment to DCSS, except there are so many who should have that title, beginning with Crawford Lewis. It's hard to single out only one.

Anonymous said...

Put your trust in no man...they all will fall short and let us down that includes all parties involved. We don't really know these people...just what we see on the outside...not throwing stones just stating a fact.

Anonymous said...

For many years people have been call in and given a chance to be terminated or retire. Knowing a person will retire. Let me assure you this has the smell of a Rat a big Rat. Sometime they are told that they have to sign a document that they will not discuss anything about the system to the media.

Anonymous said...

Did Frankie Callaway encourage cheating and then hurriedly retire?


Crawford Lewis, after a year or two of scandal after scandal, this one is a biggie. Everyone knows that frankie was one of the kety members of your inner circle. This is a huge hit to your administration, and your judgement.

And Dale Davis came up "there are no documents to the contrary". What an incredible non-denial denial.

Anonymous said...

Word on the street about Frankie Callaway was that it happened suddenly and that she was ESCORTED OUT OF THE BUILDING with little if any prior warning. They got rid of her worthless husband around the same time. Clarence Callaway had been principal at New Birth's "school" in DeKalb County. They still have children who work for the school system.

Anonymous said...

I heard the part of her being escorted out of the building when it happened and it made no sense to be BECAUSE a board member had told me that Callaway's retirement was imminent. So what did the board know when?

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:31, let's hear about this major theft?

I have a question, who was above Frankie other than Crawford? I don't think Moseley or Talley were above Frankie, but I could be wrong. I could also see Ron Ramsey being Crawford's consigliere and instructing her to make sure the without every having any proof that ties it to C Lew.

Dale Davis' "there are no documents to the contrary" is incredibly stupid. A high level administrator working for DCSS suddenly retires right when a local TV station investigates an issue she's in the middle of? How stupid do you think we are are Dale Davis/Crawford Lewis? Superintendent Lewis and his inner circle have lost all credibility. All of it.

Ella Smith said...

Words themself can be misunderstood and sometimes it is important to clarify what you say. I have written things and went back and read them and realized that someone could misinterpret what I intended to saw and went back and said it another way.

Again, we do not know all the facts and the news media probable did not have all the facts either.

I still feel it is sad to bad mouth Dr. Calloway when we do not have all the facts.

I am sure Dr. Calloway is not perfect. However, I have not met anyone yet who is perfect. She is human.

We do not know why Dr. Calloway changed her statement. She may have been directed to do so also and if she did and then retired there might be a RAT in the closet. She would have been fired for not following instructions if this happened to be the case.

Anonymous said...

What's this about a New Birth can't be officially affilaied with DCSS?

And please don't tell me Frankie had children/relatives that work for DCSS?? This nepotism has to stop!!

Ella Smith said...

Dr. Calloway's husband was a grade school principal in South Dekalb. I would not be suprised if he retired also.

Mr. and Ms.Calloway have several great children. If one of them works for the school system this has to be disclosed before hiring them. The Board of Educations members have to be notified to prevent problems with hiring practices. Your school board members are aware of any hires that occurred like this, if indeed they did occur. There is nothing illegal about this at all.

In fact, by looking at the new Education legislature it looks like the educational committees want to ammend the law which prevent relatives of school board members from being hired into the school systems which really bothered me a great deal when I saw this section mark off in the amended verses of the bill. This would be our legislative body going back and changing their mind about a decision made last year.

Ella Smith said...

Hopefully there is not a connection between New Birth and the School System. This would be inappropriate.

Cerebration said...

Is she related to Billy Callaway - an AP at Lakeside?

Anonymous said...

Billy Callaway isn't at Lakeside anymore. He's at Stoneview Elementary, although I'm not sure in what capacity-- probably principal.

Anonymous said...

Billy Callaway is an AP. He is not related to Dr.Callaway.

Ella Smith said...

Billy Calloway is a great young man. However, he is not related to Dr. Calloway.

I have noticed that Bob Moseley is also not as visible as he used to be. He also is a great guy. I just do not see him as much anymore.

Dr. Calloway had her time in. I again feel that if she stood up to Dr. Lewis there was a reason.

Both of the Calloway's loved the Dekalb County School System. I saw both of them at the Emergency Room when there was a family emergency in their family. The two parents were there to support their son and his wife. In talking to them that day I remember how impressed I was again with the love they had for their family and also how professional the couple were.

In talking to them they were so supportive of the Dekalb County School System and the future of the School System.

Again, this is not saying that as individuals that they do not make mistakes. All of us make mistakes. However, both of them are extremely ethical individuals so I have a problem with the whole situation. Something really stinks in this situation.

I would not be shocked it even Pope comes out of her situation smelling like a rose. There may be a reason she always had a smile on her face after the problems began to occur. I am sure the attorneys in the Michell case are looking forward to the information she can provide them during the court case.

I have a feeling the Dekalb County School System made some horrible mistakes regarding the treatment of many of their employees who have the inside information that could possible cost the citizens of Dekalb County a big pay day for attorney fees and even a great deal more if the school system loses their case. The School System and board may have done us all a big favor by settling this lawsuit years ago.

Anonymous said...

This is the tip of the iceberg of hypocrisy that reigns supreme in many school districts across the nation assuming this story is accurate.

While not defending the good doctor, her sin is that she was not vague enough and did not plan for “deniability”. There is a united effort by DCSS central office management to on one hand ask teachers to raise the rigor (or difficulty) in the classroom and on the other hand to increase the number of students passing. DCSS, in that regard, is no different than the Georgia Department of Education, the Legislature, the Governor, and the President. Again, if the story is true, the good doctor is but one of the thousands of creatures whelped by the Political-Commercial Testing-Educational complex that smothers real education and shuns vocational education.

These creatures have but one mantra. This mantra is “data-driven”! The “data-this” and “data-that” are brandied about, for example, to state how many A’s, B’s …etc… students have earned in a particular classroom under the guise of improving instruction even though it does the exact opposite. To collect, compile, analyze, and interpret this data takes a battalion of highly-paid central office folks. These folks prescribe the DCSS regimen ( America’s Choice, High Schools That Work..etc…) for improvement. Well-does it seem to work? Does not look like it is working?

With one key stroke….the State of Georgia increases the graduation rate one key stroke at a time.

Anonymous said...

These “one key strokes” benefit the Georgia Department of Education, the Legislature, the Governor, and the President. The electorate will not complain about increased graduation rate and may return them to office…

Anonymous said...

Here just 5 ways in which the “data-drivel” and micro-management fail us:

1. These data walls, instead of actually describing the students’ readiness and subject mastery, end up caricaturing the teachers. Such data walls put pressure on the teachers to
improve his/her data without necessarily improving the students (they can’t improve all the students just like I can’t get all my children to keep their room clean all the time). Parents and students, perhaps with good intentions but more often with selfish intentions, use these data to declare the teacher effective or ineffective thereby absolving themselves of any responsibility in the matter. While parents are quick to confront a teacher to demand an increase from a B to an A, they—let’s be honest here--- rarely do ask to downgrade an A to a B when they know that the student has not studied, done homework, or ever presented to them a graded product with a score higher than 75. I know because I have yet to confront my children’s teachers about the grade inflation I see on their report cards.

2. The nature of learning is such that skills tested in say 10th grade are accumulated from kindergarten on and not just in the 10th grade. In another words, the student is not parachuted into the 10th grade. The student comes with a cumulative set of knowledge made of multiple combinations building blocks acquired at home and in every previous year of schooling. So to lay the success or failure of a student at the feet of the chemistry teacher is patent nonsense. The student, his/her parent, his/her previous teachers of English, Science, and Math are also implicated in that success or failure! But what if these “previous” teachers were pressured to award grades that were not earned?

Anonymous said...

These are the postions held by the Callaway family: Please correct any incorrect info.....
Mr. Callaway who is retired from DeKalb,is currently Principal at Dekalb Academy of Destiny (double dipping ?) His AP is Verlinda Bailey.also a retired educator and administrator. The Callaway's son was made AP at Pine Ridge within weeks receiving his leadership certification, effectively bypassing staff with lots of experience.
Their daughter, who was originally a para professional, is a prevention intervention specialist. Rumor has it that she received the job without meeting the experience requirement posted for the position.
If you have more accurate infomation, please clear up my errors!

Anonymous said...

3. DCSS has decreed a mandatory grade structure that gives different weight to class work, homework, participation, project, quiz, and test and require that teachers give so many grades in each of these categories per 4.5 week periods. If memory serves, the highest weights go to projects (teacher cannot always ascertain if the work product is the student’s own) and participation (since teacher cannot always ascertain participation with a high degree of objectivity, many simply give a very high grade). The effect of which is that up to 40% can be earned by homework, participation, and project leaving the student with having to only earn about ½ of the points of the remaining categories of quiz, test, and final examination to pass the course! This must be really disappointing to the DCSS brain trust who have schemed this ratio thinking the average student would take advantage the “open book” work to pass a course only to find that the students just don’t want to do the work!

4. Should a student earn a grade of 60-69 in a course--and the teacher did not succumb to real or imagined pressures and did not fail to personally (face to face, telephone, e-mail) alert the parents of this impeding failure—the student can “recover” a passing grade under the auspices of Dekalb On Line Academy. Yes, the student can make up the grades using a computer and the internet to learn from an online program or teacher. Where a student simply did not do the work as he/she is capable this solution seems to be reasonable in cutting costs. But when the student is incapable by every measure in class yet manages to miracle of miracles pass online, does he/she not become a liability to him/her and to next teacher not to mention the degradation of instruction to other students that such a student require?

5. The last firewall to ensure quality is the End of the Course Test and the High School Graduation Tests negatively impact as well. The Georgia Department of Education manipulates or at least decides in some fashion what score is passing and what is not passing. Why the passing criteria are not objectively stated way before these tests?

The consequence of these circumstances is that the very mechanism that is supposed to show success sabotages teachers and results in many students who are ill-educated or ill-prepared for the work force. And now, the Governor wants to tie salary increases to teachers who exhibit the best data!?

Cerebration said...

This is why the administration can state confidently, "raise the bar and the students will rise to meet it" (magically!)

Great comments, Anon. Really appreciate your perspective.

Anonymous said...

Pat Patterson makes $96000 as an assistant to one of the Area Superintendants.

Anonymous said...

Cox Enterprises has it out for DeKalb County School System. There are those in the school system who are not without fault and we should scrutinize what is done. It is fair to say that what happens in DeKalb happens in many school systems around the country. Can anyone here say that our neighboring school systems are without fault? Count the number of articles and/or new stories about DeKalb versus other school system. Is there a balance?

The only ones really making money off the school system now are the lawyers. Ella has a point that it probably would have been best to settle some of the lawsuits years ago. When the school leaders saw what they believed to be a slam dunk case, it was probably hard for them to turn this down, especially if it would have meant getting significant dollars back to the district (over 100 million dollars).

Food for thought, could Heery Mitchell be behind the recent negative articles about Pat Pope? Think about, an article about a car she did not get and a relationship it was determined she did not have. Heery Mitchell stands to gain by have these negative articles appear and creating doubt about the character of Pat Pope. She is the key witness in this case and they would gain the most by damaging her reputation.

Paul Harvey would always say, And now you know the rest of the story. In this case, make sure you investigate all of the story as the AJC and WSBTV both have a tendency to leave out key parts while planting suggestions.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe that Cox Enterprises has it "out" [sic] for DeKalb County Schools. Cox is Chamblee Charter High School's Partner in Education. They have been a reliable, supportive, generous partner for many, many years. (Although, the current Chamblee Charter High School (CCHS) principal does not seem to understand the basics of working collaboratively with a partner like Cox. Hopefully she is retiring after this year when her niece graduates from CCHS.)

That said, WSB definitely needs to put the aging Richard Belcher out to pasture. He is completely unclear on the concept of "investigative reporting", consistently ignoring the most basic tenets of investigative journalism.

Belcher's reports are often little more than hearsay and allegations. But Belcher is big on waving papers around in the same manner as the late Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin.

In fact, McCarthyism is a term generally used to describe demagogic, reckless, and unsubstantiated accusations, as well as public attacks on character and/or patriotism. Belcher is a standout when it comes to employing McCarthyism.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone confirm the relationship between LeSheryl K. Lewis at Chamblee Charter High School and Crawford Lewis?

Anonymous said...

Blame the messenger, shall we?

Come on, you have a document that shows that Ms. Patterson was asked to lie.

DCSS is a mess, in large part because most of the parents/taxpayers don't seem to care. By far, we have one of the weakest superintendents in metro Atlanta.

The children are the big losers here. Make no mistake that CL and his buddies are damaging the educational system in DeKalb.

Ella Smith said...

There are problems with all big school systems. One of the problems is that school systems in the past could not be sued. It currently is still hard to hard school systems responsible for wrong doing. However, I learned in my recent Educational Law class it is becoming easier to hold school systems accountable with recent Supreme Court Decisions. As, the courts did not intent to give entities like school systems total freedom to do as they wanted to without following procedures and the law.Recent decisions do indicate a change in decisions regarding holding school systems responsible for their actions.

Cerebration said...

Well, Anon, I surely haven't heard of any other metro school system superintendents asking the district attorney to investigate one of his key people. How can you do that - then have the DA storm your COO's office and not expect to get noticed in the news? How can you spend $3.5 million for a "report" on how much to sue your construction manager for and not think the taxpayers should be told of this? How can you spend over $12 million on attorney's fees and not expect the people to be curious? How can you decide to move forward to sue a construction company for the ridiculous amount of $100 million dollars? (Only Dr. Evil can say that with a straight face!) How can you cut every single employee's pay and then demand a raise for yourself and not expect to be a news item? Is Lewis so deluded that he actually thinks he can behave any way he wants and remain untouchable - no - instead it simply shows that he is completely out of touch with what people are interested in.

No, Anon, no one else is behaving in this way - therefore - no one else is getting the bad press.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone confirm the relationship between LeSheryl K. Lewis at Chamblee Charter High School and Crawford Lewis?

I heard she was Harold Lewis' sisters, brothers, cousins, wife...

Good grief, who cares. Nepotism is not against the rules in DCSS. Heck there are a husband and wife team both at Kitredge.

Anonymous said...

I agree that it is to easy to become fixated on little things that truly are common everywhere (hiring relatives/friends) to lose sight of the big picture.

However, what we need to focus on and what our board needs to focus on, is how did we get here? And how do we fix it?

DCSS needs to make 50ish million in cuts. This is an extraordinarily large amount of money. I don't support a tax increase, because of the drop in property values, DCSS is about to enter many difficult years. We must trim spending.

I have zero confidence in this administration to make these cuts correctly. I have zero confidence in this school board. Zero.

Anonymous said...

No. Nepotism is illegal in any governmental institution as nepotism means investing relatives in positions without regard to merit and fair employment process.

Having a relative work in a school system is not illegal insofar as the relative is meritorious and was not favored in any way because of a powerful or influential relative already in the district.

Donald Trump Sr. can give any job to Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump because this a privately held company.

Anonymous said...

Nepotism may be in part to blame for the $50 000 000 shortfall. If the shakers and movers are in positions over their heads due to nepotism, might they not be making economically disadvantageous decisions to the district without any educational return? Should that be considered? A million dollar FUBAR here, a million FUBAR dollar adds up, you know?

Anonymous said...

RE: Retired DCSS Employees Working

Here are the rules concerning working after retirement:

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it that Zepora Roberts' daughter...who would have been fired in the private sector for insubordination.....was "written up" by a former Principal and ass't principal. They were both reprimanded by the area superintendent. daughter is now an instructional coach............for a time, son-in-law was also in the system...Please correct any errors!

Anonymous said...

The problem in dekalb is not nepotism ...but "incompetent" nepotisim

Anonymous said...

This blog used to be a source of information and served as a call to action for those interested in making a difference. It's becoming more and more like the National Enquirer, with many comments sensationalized and unsubstantiated.

Cere, I think it's time to think about removing the Anonymous feature so that posters feel a bit more responsibility for what they post. Most of thoughtful and useful contributions are from those who sign their name (or at least use an alias of some sort, rather than the generic "anonymous."

(Sorry for posting anonymously...I need to sign up for a blogger account myself!)

Anonymous said...

"This blog used to be a source of information and served as a call to action for those interested in making a difference."

It still is 6:21. it's actually the onlu source of debate and commentary on DCSS, a billion dollar operation.

And we needed posters to be anonympus if they choose. the Lewis administration is spiteful not just to teacher and staff who question the administration, but to parents to.

Cere, you are doing a great job and don't let people like Anon 6:21 tell you otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Nepotism always brings on problems. Good city governments ban nepotism. Mediocre city governments do not. Nepotism at DCSS is completely out of hand. trust me as an insider, but time after time someone who is related to an administrator or BOE member receives a DCSS job over more qualified canidates. it has happened countless times, and it's worse now under Lewis than it ever was before.

Cerebration said...

Interesting links about the retirement Anon. I wonder if that's how Womack and Lewis have Joe Reed working out of retirement. The records show him as a substitute teacher, although he is actually the principal. He was paid $23,626.45 in 2009. You don't suppose he's working for standard sub pay?

Also - no, I don't think we need to monitor this blog yet. We're still waaaaayyyy nicer than the folks at the AJC blog. We do delete comments occasionally that cross the line - feel free to point out ones that you find offensive.

Anonymous said...

"This blog used to be a source of information and served as a call to action for those interested in making a difference. It's becoming more and more like the National Enquirer, with many comments sensationalized and unsubstantiated."

The DCSS employees may fear retribution if their alias/ID is compromised. Could this be a factor?

Paula Caldarella said...

And we needed posters to be anonympus if they choose.

You can still be anonymous with a blogger account - make up a name. I agree to some extent that some posters are not using this blog in the spirit for which Cere graciously begat and continues on with. This is a wonderful way to share our views on the school system. Unsubstastaniated gossip and rumors do not serve our students at all - JMHO.

Ella Smith said...

I have a problem with spending 12 million dollars in attorney fees in the Michell case and all the big attorney fees to the local attorney the last few years and then cutting teachers salaries bus and drivers salaries, etc. Then they turn around and give Dr. Lewis a raise without concern for the climate for the students of Dekalb.

The problem in this situation is that no one is willing to stand up to the Dekalb County School System. However, with an administration that is willing to spend 12 million dollars of our money to fight a case that probable should have been settled to save the people money who in their right mind would stand up to them. An individual or a group has a hard time standing up to a school system today. However, a group can go after a seat on the school board. This is how individuals get on the school board with agendas.

Ella Smith said...

in the spring or probable early summer to hire teachers.

Ella Smith said...

Something happened to my last post.

If Mr. Calloway is the principal at Destiny Academy he was hired probable last spring or early summer which would be about the time Dr. Calloway had all these problems.

I am wondering if there was a connection there also since the State Board of Charter Schools and Dekalb County School Board and the Gwinnett County School Board have went to court also.

Paula Caldarella said...

Heck there are a husband and wife team both at Kitredge.

I know this situation. The wife was a teacher at a Dunwoody ES and the husband was a Principal at a local ES. They "retired" to the N. GA Mountains to help with a startup private school. Yet, I believe it was 3 years later they both re-appeared at teaching positions at Kittredge.

Anonymous said...
What lies behind DeKalb's ire over schools

Very, very poor journalism for Kristina Torres and the AJC to prnt this article and not mention this blog. Administration, teachers, parents and even BOE members have all stated this blog has been the main source of dialogue on the school system. I cannot believe Torres and her editor printed this story without mentioning how DCSW has been the focal point for discussion about DCSS.

Cerebration said...

Personally, I think the nepotism in the system (especially in high-paying administrative jobs) is very important. I know several highly qualified people who have applied for jobs in DCSS and haven't even been able to get an interview. I don't think they are necessarily hiring the best and brightest for jobs. In fact, I may post a whole article about the nepotism in DCSS. It's viral.

In fact, it's nothing new. Francis Edwards was the queen of ensuring her children were well cared for by the public trough she was a member of.

David Guillory, "Transportation Executive Director", is also the son-in-law of former board member Francis Edwards (2009 salary of $114,639.00). In fact, Francis' daughter Philandrea Guillory is also employed in DCSS - as an "Information Services Personnel" at a 2009 salary of $114,627.00.

Thanks for the quarter-million dollars a year, mom!

Cerebration said...

For a comparison - the Governor only made $139,339.44 last year. Of course, he also gets to live in that nice house.

Anonymous said...

" It's becoming more and more like the National Enquirer, with many comments sensationalized and unsubstantiated. "

Can't solve the big problem unless you fix the cumulative effect of the small ones!

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation of any public organization's nepotism might flush the deadwoods out...

Vox Noctae

Ella Smith said...

However, if indeed some of the state legislature has it ways it will not longer be against the law for School Board members to be school board members in this type of situation. This is the problem.

There must be a code of ethics. There must be guidelines that prevent this from happening. I can not be on the School Board and work in Dekalb County so why can someone be on the school board and hire their children or son-in-laws. What is the difference? Not much at all!!!!!!! The legislature needs to keep what that passed last year and not ammend it and go back and allow this nepotism again.

Anonymous said...

Having worked in DeKalb for more than 30 years, I've seen a lot.
Mr. Callaway has been on the payroll in one way or the other since he retired about 10 yrs ago........He was some type of PE/Health into a scandle over a sex ed program snd retired. My understanding is that retirees are not re-hire fulltime unless they serve in a capacity that nobody else is qualified to hold.........

Ella Smith said...

I think we have only heard part of the story regarding Dr. Calloway. I will never believe Dr. Calloway would never encourage anyone to cheat. These are athletic parents I saw regularily at Lakeside as a coach and teacher when I worked there. I have high regard for both of them and currently there is nothing anyone has said that has changed my mind.

I am a Cheerleader for the Calloways.

Demand.Integrity.Now said...

"Interesting links about the retirement Anon"; 7:14 PM

I have left several anonymous posts, including the one with the information about working after retiring from DCSS with TRS. However, I was not the anonymous poster who said anything about monitoring this blog for offensive comments. Clearly, having several different people post as "Anonymous" can become confusing. For that reason, I am maintaining my anonymity, but will write future posts as "Demand.Integrity.Now"

fedupindcss said...

Cere - The Open Records you are looking at are for fiscal year 2009. During that time (which ended June 2009) Joe Reed was a sub for DCSS. So he won't show up as a principal there until the end of fiscal year 2010.

Demand.Integrity.Now said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cerebration said...

Thanks fedup. I didn't know that the GA open records were for school fiscal years - I assumed they were for tax reporting like regular state employees. But then - I should remember what happens when you assume!

I do have to wonder why someone would interrupt a glorious retirement to jump into the frying pan. Perhaps no one realizes how fortunate they are to actually get a pension -- not many people in the private sector will ever see such a thing. Pensions are a thing of the past for most of us...

Cerebration said...

As far as the nepotism goes - if you are a teacher, obviously you have to have certain credentials to land a job - anywhere. So nepotism doesn't seem to play out too much for teachers. The nepotism is occurring in administrative jobs - which actually pay far more than teaching jobs anyway. It's debatable and subjective to place a person in these kinds of jobs therefore easier to put in your friends and family.

And you're right about the Chamblee job - I hear stories like this a lot - qualified people unable to even get a sideward glance.

Anonymous said...

What about Robert Tucker? He retired years ago and still shows up as being on Ronald Ramsey staff. His title is coordinator part time. This is a salary that could be cut. This is truly a slap in the face to people like the teachers, bus drivers and lay-offs.
He is holding a job that some of these people could have. Wonder what they are paying him?

Cerebration said...

Part-time? Maybe he covers for Ramsey while he's at the dome!(?)

Demand.Integrity.Now. said...

From Anonymous, 11:16 PM, "What about Robert Tucker?"
For Fiscal Year 2009 (July 1, 2008 -- June 30, 2009), Robert Tucker was paid $54,331.89. Supposedly this is for part-time work.

From Cerebration, 11:16 PM, "Part time? Maybe he covers for Ramsey while he is at the Dome."
For Fiscal Year 2009 (July 1, 2008 -- June 30, 2009), Ronald Ramsey was paid $112,120.37, plus an additional $3,261 for so-called "Miscellaneous Activities." As a state senator in Fiscal Year 2009, Ramsey was paid an additional $17,341.68 for the 40-day legislative session -- during which time he was away from his full-time job with DCSS.

In an apparent attempt to hide his full-time employment, Ramsey's senate bio says nothing about his full-time job with DCSS. Ramsey was paid a grand total of $132,723.05 in Fiscal Year 2009. For doing what? Nothing of note.

Paula Caldarella said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Saturday 01/23/2010. Teacher and GAE protest at the capital against budget cuts and crawford's pay raise.Teachers united will wear black on every Thursday going forth.

Parents and students get on board and support our teachers.

Text, Twitter, facebook get the message out.

Students, every Thursday going forth wear all black.

Parents and students show at the state Capital on this Saturday 01/23/10.

Anonymous said...

There is no justice with the DCSS. Take your grievance outside of the school sytem and see how fast you get a call from their attorneys to resolve the issue.

We need SACS to step in the state needs to take over and salvage our school system. We need a new board and a new superintendant.

We need to let the state finish what Johnny Brown started to do.

Clean up DCSS.
* Teacher in the schools for 2 and 3 years on provisionals.
* Retired employees getting a pension and a paycheck as a consultant.
* Principal using their positions for personal vendetta's.
*Board member getting their kids/family "good" jobs over people more qualified.
* Over 14 million in attorney fees for a 500,000 lawsuit
* Underhanded car purchases
* Conflicts of interest
* Unethical behaviour
* Retaliation

Anonymous said...

I am a parent at Miller Grove High. I am hearing some distrubing rumors regarding the principal and retaliation against a student with a disability.

How can I find out about the lawsuit the parent has filed. I went to Dekalb Online judicial system. I did not find anything under the principals name.

How can I find this information with out knowing the parent or the student name?

I have similar issue. I need to talk to this parent. I dont know where or how to fight for my daughter who also has a disability.

themommy said...


The best thing you can do is consult an attorney who specializes in Special Education Law. If the lawsuit has been filed, the attorney can find it for you.

Call the Atlanta Bar Association to get referrals.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

"In fact, Francis' daughter Philandrea Guillory is also employed in DCSS - as an "Information Services Personnel" at a 2009 salary of $114,627.00.:

Other than the director and asst. director, no one else from Info Systems should be making over $100,000 per year. The bloat is out of control in every single DCSS Dept. What are Philandrea Guillory's info. systems-related skills that justifies her high salary? Did she even go to college and graduate with a degree in info. systems management??

Or is her No. 1 skill that Frances Edwards was her mom? Frances has given out DCSS jobs to other relatives too.

Cerebration said...

Dunwoody mom is correct, we simply can't make accusations about people by name. Although much of what these stories convey has been rumoring for a while, it's still not fair to make personal accusations in an open forum. Comments that accuse people by name will have to be taken down.

I will say - although jobs are posted online and you can apply online, I personally know quite a few people with great qualifications who have done this and been completely ignored. As much as I do like what Joe Reed is doing at Lakeside, I still have a problem with the way he was hired. The job was only posted for a week or two and then taken down. No one else was interviewed. This is the second time we've been told the system would do a "national search" for a new principal at Lakeside (the 4th one in 6 years) and no such search was done.

Cerebration said...

Also - if you would like to send a letter requesting records via the Open Records law -- you can go to this website to generate a proper request letter.

You can't ask for personnel files though.

Anonymous said...

The online masters/Ph.D degrees topic is worthy of whole new thread. DCSS should only recognize online degrees from pre-approved colleges. There are DCSS administrators, and teachers who aim to be principals, with online degrees from very questionable institutions.

The nepotism topic is very, very important. Any city or county government or school system has a duty to its "customers" and its "employees" to make sure only the qualified applicant is hired. In an organization with rampant nepotism, like DCSS, there is no way of guaranteeing that the most qualified applicant is hired. And it also negatively impacts personnel. When your staff is aware of the fact that they may be the most qualified but may lose the job due to nepotism, you are unintentionally forcing that staff member to look at working somewhere else.

For example, Marcus Turk is related to a previous DCSS administrator. He had no prior experience as head of a school system finance dept. DCSS is a billion dollar operation. its finances are not to be handled by rookies. The BOE and Superintendent has a responsibility to taxpayers to hire an experienced finance director. Mr. Turk may be doing a fine job, but when nepotism is involved, his qualificiations are always going to be rightfully questioned, as will Philandra and David Guillory.

I tried to talk to BOE member Zepora Roberts about nepotism once. Her instant anger and vitriol were stunning. Clearly it is a sensitive suject with her, since she is one who has helped relatives get DCSS positions herself. Putting students, parents and taxpayers first did not even register with her.

Dekalbparent said...

Anon 8:10 -

There was an article in Atlanta Unfiltered about this - maybe it will help:

Anonymous said...

Re: Philandrea Guillory: some years ago, not long after she had been promoted, our school was awarded a prestigious national award. For months we tried to get her to put out some sort of press release, but instead DCSS kept recognizing some small "read-ins" or a visit from a sports figure.It appeared she was pointedly ignoring it. Finally, our principal got fed up and had a parent send it in to the AJC, where it was published. He promptly got a call from Ms. G (who was on vacation at the coast) reaming him out for doing her job! It was incredible. She told him that because DCSS had PR people, others were specifically forbidden from doing this sort of thing on their own. No explanation as to why she had never done it, of course.

Given the bad PR for DCSS, can't say she has been doing her job now, either.

Anonymous said...

Legally a student's grade can be changed provided over a teacher's protest that somone higher up than the principal sign off on the change and that sign off includes a reason or rationale that would bear scrutiny. If anyone had to leave then either the grade change was not made in the correct manner.

Dekalbparent said...

Anon 11:36 -

I have had the same experience. When I wrote a press release about some school improvements spearheaded and completed by our students, as well as $1500 worth of grants obtained by faculty to support the work, I got only crickets.

In the Garden of Negligent Leaders said...

Anon 9:27- the Georgia Professional Standards Commission no longer recognizes online degrees from institutions that are not based in Georgia. I have heard that this is because of shenanigans at Troy State over which the GPSC had no control, so they decided to outlaw all out-of-state online degrees. A friend of mine working on his PhD from University of Phoenix had to drop out from UP and finish his coursework at West Georgia.

Anonymous said...

Not only does Ms. Edwards son-in-law and daughter work for the system , her son Jamal does to. Last time I saw him he was at the william Bryant center as a computer person. The county purchase a new van for him to drive. Her son-in law came into the system as a admin. There were some people that lost their positions because of him. I once heard a admin. say from the central office it's Political and if you want your job just do it. When the board wants something you can't fight them.

Cerebration said...

From the 2009 State Salary Report -


Anonymous said...

There are several reasons that I believe the anti-nepotism legislation is necessary --first and foremost being that the taxpayers are entitled to the most qualified applicants being hired in each position. There could be a way around the policy if the "related party" is, in actuality, "the most qualified" but such relationships make for many issues going forward from supervising to doing the job correctly. One reason I believe it is so prevalent in DeKalb is that the superintendant and others "buy" support with these placements -- a "rubbing the back" system that isn't in the best interest of taxpayers or the children, who should be "first and foremost" in considerations in how we run things but seem to be at the bottom but they work very well in keeping people in places of employment and power. I've come to also think that it works this way in Washington, too, (call me a cynic) so maybe it's just the way people are and isn't illegal, even if ugly and unwise. It may, however, be a good argument for giving vouchers and charters a "go" -- even if they have their own problems, at least for now, it would at least offer up competition and the monopoly we have at present sure isn't working the way it should.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:37, that was a brilliant post. Nepotism costs us so much, including our public trust.

Anonymous said...

Let me just say that when you work for the system and come to work and do your job and you give 100% and there is a chance to move up and Nepotism steps in and take that from you it really hurts. And don't even try and fight it, you may find yourself in a small room with only a chair and a table.

Anonymous said...

I have known Dr. Callaway for years and out of those years that I have known her, she has been a hard working, loving,and caring person. She will give her EVERYTHING to help YOU PEOPLE. I don't know you and you don't know me ,but I bet that in some way or another she has helped you all in some form or fashion.I know that Dr. Callaway prays whenever she does anything.(In God she does Trust!) When it comes to her family she loves them and they love her. They say all for one and one for all....So leave her family and her alone!!!!!!!!!!

Demand.Integrity.Now. said...

Reply to yet another Anonymous, January 23, 2010 11:46 PM

No matter how many exclamation points you put at the end of your statement about Frankie Callaway, the only person she has ever given her everything to help is Frankie Callaway.

I have personally observed her invoke God and prayer and family ... and then proceed to publicly destroy the life and career and professional reputation of an innocent DCSS employee (who was given no recourse) ... without credible evidence and without a second thought.

Frankie Callaway's unacceptable, non-professional behavior was consistently enabled by CLew-less.

Anonymous said...

Please stop praising Fankie Calloway as if she was a Saint. I too had much respect for until she copped in a situation with my daughter.

I took my matter with my daughter up the chain of protocol. I felt Horace Dunson was doing nothing about the situation dispite my hardcopy evidence.

He totally ignored it. I was so sure once it got to Frankie justice would be served and the matter resolved. NOT!!!

I am now taking my situation outside of DCSS. Let see how quickly I get a call from the attorney at Sutherlin

Anonymous said...

Patricia Pope has got something up her sleeve for DCSS

She is too cool of a cucumber in this situation.

I Heard Harold Lewis is Crawford Lewis nephew? True or False?

I also heard he is related by children with a secretary at MGHS?
True or False?

Anonymous said...

Demand.Integrity. Now ,
You're saying this is from yet another anonymous person, but yet you're still using a saying and not your real name... that's still anonymous. Even if I use one exclamation mark or none at all,it still justifies how wonderful a woman Dr. Frankie Callaway is.

If there was a problem concerning your daughter, and you felt like the problem was not resolved, you can not blame it on Dr. Callaway. How can you have so much respect for her and then when something doesn't go your way you go against her. Sounds hypcritical to me. Don't dislike her because you didn't get your way. You all have called her everything but a child of God. Get over it and stop bashing her name and her family.

Anonymous said...

Calloway is an educator, yet she allowed a student who didn't show up to class and do work to graduate. It doesn't matter how much she publicly invoked "prayer" or her family. A highly paid educational administrator is judged on her actions and performance. In this situation, Calloway failed a teacher, but more importantly, the student. And it is too coincidental that she resigned so suddenly when this situation came to light.

Demand.Integrity.Now. said...

Reply to Anonymous, January 24, 2010 10:25 AM

You are confusing my posting with what someone else wrote. You might want to go back and re-read the two postings before you jump to a response.

I have known Frankie Callaway for a long time and I never have had any respect for her as a professional educator or manager.

The person I referred to in my posting was not my daughter. My reference was to school-level DCSS employee.

Having witnessed the lengths to which CLew-less and his cronies will go for retribution, I have no problem with anyone posting anonymously. It's just that there are so many different people posting as "Anonymous." It's difficult to follow the thread of each poster's comments amd/or to respond to the appropriate person.

Let me repeat my original posting:
"No matter how many exclamation points you put at the end of your statement about Frankie Callaway, the only person she has ever given her everything to help is Frankie Callaway.

I have personally observed her invoke God and prayer and family ... and then proceed to publicly destroy the life and career and professional reputation of an innocent DCSS employee (who was given no recourse) ... without credible evidence and without a second thought.

Frankie Callaway's unacceptable, non-professional behavior was consistently enabled by CLew-less."

Cerebration said...

I agree with you Anon, 8:32 AM. At least I HOPE Pat Pope has something up her sleeve. She knows everything - and she needs to squeal. That's the only way to get this ball rolling and get this school system out of Purgatory and back to Educating.

This madness has to stop.

FWIW - Dale Davis claims emphatically that Harold Lewis is NO relation to Crawford Lewis.

Anonymous said...

Frankie Callaway is not gone from DCSS. Look on PATS. She is the new principal of the new leadership academy. At one point in the spring those were the only openings on PATS. But like all Dekalb big wigs, they find a way to come back, no matter what they do.

Anonymous said...

"Did Frankie Callaway encourage cheating and then hurriedly retire?"

Answer: Yes

But she still secured a sweet gig aa the New Birth Leadership Academy principal, er, DeKalb Leadership Academy principal. So she gets her full DCSS pension plus the DLA pay, and New Birth scores $120k+ in rent. Same goes for her husband with his principal gig. Nice to be one of the insiders.

Anonymous said...

Frankie Calloway's son was placed in the Alpha Cohort Program for upcoming administrators. Yes, Placed in the program. Next, he boasted about getting a job as an assistant principal in DCSS and assisted everyone in his cohort's group. Most of them along with Calloway Jr are incompetent leaders but look, they friends of the younger Calloway. He was a poor leader at Pine Ridge and now is Wynn Brooke as an assistant principal over what? His younger brother is a teacher over at Rainbow and their sister cannot pass the Teacher Exam so her mother moved her from being a paraprofessional to a preventative specialist according to her first class information. So, this does not make Frankie the saint that her friends on this blog is trying to make her out of. She is not a saint and controlled the school system with hiring her friends and relatives. Her son did not impress no one in the cohort program and still landed a job as an administrator over others who were qualified but not in the loop. Let us pray that SACS can and will uncover Nepotism in this county. It is rampant on the south end of the county.