Saturday, April 23, 2011

BREAKING NEWS: Cox is Out, Tom Bowen Fails Again, And Ramona May be a Contender

It's All On You, Tom.
"It was very early," Bowen said. "Having the premature negotiations exposed influenced her decision to withdraw."
Bowen did not say why the exposure of the negotiation details led Cox to withdraw.
School board member Jesse "Jay" Cunningham said the board agreed to meet Monday morning to discuss the next steps, but he would not comment about Cox's decision.
There's been speculation that Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson now wants the job permanently. But Bowen said the board hasn't approached her about applying, and that she has not asked the board to be reconsidered.
Bowen said, however, that there is a possibility Tyson could become a candidate now that Cox has withdrawn.
Why? Most likely because the negotiations were leaked:
Channel 2's Richard Belcher has exclusively learned that school board members have settled on a candidate, but contract negotiations are tense -- and may be stalled -- because of the would-be superintendent's "platinum-plated" demands, according to a source. Belcher has been talking with his sources for nearly three weeks about the new developments, and now can now confirm that Dr. Lillie Cox, of Hickory, N.C., is the school board's choice, but the deal is not done. According to one of Belcher’s sources, the nine-member school board arrived at its decision very quickly after a public meeting on March 31. But the decision on Cox was not unanimous. Belcher was told there were six votes for her and three against. But now, sources told Belcher that negotiations are in trouble because Cox's demands are extraordinarily high. Another source told Belcher that Cox wants an ironclad contract, and that her demands may be eroding her support on the board.
How did you allow the negotiations to go public. Obviously a BOE member or DCSS administrator leaked the negotiations to WSB's Richard Belcher. So Cox pulled out when her trust was breached. Why work for a system that cannot be trusted before she even starts to work for it?
Tom, you have no control of anything, as you clearly demonstrated as the Chair of a Board of Education so out of touch that it's then superintendent and Chief Operating Officer were so out of control that they were indicted for criminal enterprise under the RICO Act, which is so unprecedented it's still mind-numbing.
Lillian Cox is out because of the leak. And you are the person in charge, Mr. Tom Bowen. The BOE members who did not like Cox of course ran to the media because you cannot keep them in line and the least bit professional.
This is the same Tom Bowen who has relatives working for the school system which he conveniently failed to disclose to voters during his past BOE campaigns. The same Tom Bowen who appointed a builder who bids on DCSS school construction projects to chair the citizens committee that helped oversee school construction projects.
-- --
Remember this from a year ago:
The most obvious scandal is the criminal corruption indictment of former school superintendent Crawford Lewis, former school construction manager Pat Pope and her architect husband. But the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is also concerned about nepotism, school employees selling books to the system and other ethics issues. Friday the DeKalb County School Board publicly discussed a letter from SACS that gives them 45 days to answer how it is dealing with those issues. Board Chairman Tom Bowen insists they are not worried about losing their accreditation as Clayton Couunty schools did a couple of years ago. "We're taking a hard look at what we do right, but we're also taking a hard look at those things that we don't do right and we're making those changes to policies and practices," Bowen said. He admits to ethical lapses within the DeKalb County School System over the past years, but says the board is rewriting several policies and making sure all county employees now about them.
-- --
"Not worried"??? What has really changed since the Lewis/Pope indictments? Nepotism stopped? Promotions to employees because of their friend, sorority, fraternity, New Birth connections? Promotions to employees with advanced degrees from diploma mills like "Sarasota University"? Incredible administrative bloat in the Office of School Improvement, MIS, school police, etc.? Money flowing freely to everywhere except the classroom?
This unbelievable leak was the last straw Tom Bowen. Thanks to the new legislation from the Gold Dome, the BOE will shrink from 9 to 7. There is NO WAY you are re-elected. The list of your failures is long. The list of your achievements? Not so big.


Open+Transparent said...

Fulton County's and Cobb County's superintendent searches went pretty darn well. They must be laughing at us. Cobb County hired Rockdale's Supt. Rockdale is our next door neighbor, and their supt., Sam King, is considered a "rising star". Cobb grabbed him away, and he wasn't even a finalist for DeKalb?

We are laughingstocks because we elect laughinstocks to the BOE and we tolerate laughingstock administrators like Moseley, Beaseley, Ron Ramsey, Robert Tucker, Audria Berry, etc.
DeKalb is looking to replace Crawford Lewis, who was fired and later indicted on charges he ran a criminal enterprise in the school system.
Rockdale County school Superintendent Samuel T. King is expected to be tapped as the next school chief for Cobb County, sources close to the search told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
King was named the 2011 Georgia school superintendent of the year by the Georgia School Superintendents Association. He’s about to become president of that association, which carries considerable clout with legislators.
“He’s kind of a rising star in our eyes,” said association Executive Director Herb Garrett, who could not confirm King will get the Cobb job.

Joseph Hunt said...

This may be the last straw with SACS (or AdanceED or whatever) though it seems to have unlimited tolerance for the mess that is DCSS.

We've been laughingstocks so long now it's no longer funny, just biz as usual.

Joseph Hunt said...


That means that she wasn't planning on just lying down and let the Board and the entrenched nepotists walk all over her.

This is truly disgusting!

A glimmer of hope and then bam! the iron door is slammed in our face.

Unknown said...

I heard Cox has another job and was using DCSS to negotiate. Let's wait and see!

teacher said...

I do think that her demands were a little high given that the contract went year to year and was not for 3 straight years. I also thought that her asking to be an adjunct professor before even getting her feet wet here was telling. She had no clue what was really involved in running DCSS.

Hopefully SACS will take over. Fire the board and we can start from scratch. Our kids deserve better than the clowns that are running the district now.

teacher said...

@ James

It wouldn't surprise me. I didn't understand why she would leave her current contract with all of the hopping that she has done.

Joseph Hunt said...


I think that your comment is a misinterpretation of her career. She's young, she's very smart and very-well educated. She seems to be looking for her place. She's steadily moving upwards, and I think she is and will be a great superintendent. Sadly, not for Dekalb.

Did you really want Culver, who apparently let his current employers know that he surely had the DCSS job when clearly he didn't be our choice? What hubris! And he referred to DCSS as a "goldmine!"

If not Culver, who do you think DCSS should hire?

themommy said...

I will say that Sam King early career was spent in DeKalb and per the AJC blog, that may have kept him out.

The community input was pretty clear that an outsider was desired.

SW said...

Does this mean that Ramona Tyson might be earning that raise after all?

I know there are some who would love to see Ms. Tyson stay on as superintendent. Some of the comments during the recent board meeting indicated this.

If Dr. Cox's withdrawal was truly due to the leaked negotiations, hopefully the guilty board member (who else would know, right?) will be publicly called out and disciplined.

It's hard to be optimistic about DCSS making positive change when it seems for every step forward, we lose two steps.

what_what said...

two comments i was going to post on the previous thread.........

first, 28k is vastly too much for a move.

second, and more importantly, an adjunct professor WHERE? one doesn't just walk up to a university/college and get the job. this part made no sense...was it at a school where she currently is and would have to fly back to teach? was she going to job hunt for an adjunct position once here? were there simultaneous negotiations at tech, UGA, emory, GSU, perimeter,....Beside the point that I don't want a new hire to take a SECOND job their first or second year into a NEW, DEMANDING job, where did she think she was going to get an adjunct position? Who would hire her knowing she had a demanding FIRST job? There would be concerns about her commitment to the classroom. Makes no sense to me.

fedupindcss said...

First, you can be sure that "sources" within DCSS are going to leak all kinds of information that is derogatory to Dr. Cox, to make them look like they were the good guys in this scenario. Second, the fact that the negotiations were out in public at all says a lot about the sheer unprofessional attitude of this Board. It is appalling that we elected this bunch of clowns to run a billion dollar enterprise.

I am amused by all the umbrage by bloggers here about her demands. When you negotiate, you start high because you aren't going to get all you want. And when you are being asked to run a system this big, with this many problems, that will likely be a 24/7 position, with bosses this bizarre, what she was asking was hardly enough. I wish her well, knowing that she will land on her feet and we will end up on our heads.

Unknown said...

Can DeKalb can anything right? Not with this bunch of clowns running the show. I guess the business as usual - maintain the status quo drama we deal with everyday will continue.

Tom Zarrilli/Cindy Zarrilli said...

I was right in my original assumption that the leak was done to derail the process. But where does the system go from here?

what_what said...

As someone wrote above...
"I am amused by all the umbrage by bloggers here about her demands. When you negotiate, you start high because you aren't going to get all you want. And when you are being asked to run a system this big, with this many problems, that will likely be a 24/7 position, with bosses this bizarre, what she was asking was hardly enough."

Uh, exactly! You are fine to be amused but look at your own statement..."a 24/7 position..." Where would the time to be an adjunct professor fit in? Of all the demands this one was a bit strange to me.

BFF said...

Mark my words...this charade was carried out with the intent of the board's desire to have Tyson as the permanent Superintendent. That way, they can maintain the status quo and all their relatives and friends will remain protected. They needed to put on a good show so they could say to SACS "see, we tried to hire this lady but she turned us down." I hope the SACS people have the ability to see through this scam.

HaHaIToldU said...

I cannot believe you all fell for the "oakey doke" charade party that DCSS has pulled over you. They already know who the new Superintendent will be and it won't be an outsider. Just watch and see!!!!!!

Unknown said...

A star will be found in the DCSS system. Maybe a name beginning with a T or a B. Things will go on as before. It was a great show and the orchestration was really good. But the results were pretty much preordained. (Sounds almost like a church. Now where did I get that?) The friends and family members have won. Paychecks and pensions are safe. Now let's all go back to sleep while County taxes go up and County Government is in disarray.

Unknown said...

I agree that the adjunct professor demand is the most troubling. She clearly doesn't understand the demands of the job or she wouldn't think she had time. It appears that Cox uses each position to set herself up for the next one. Is she looking for a full professorship? It is a good career strategy, but not necessarily good for her employer. I don't think it was hubris of Culver to tell his board he was leaving. He says he will look for something else if he doesn't get DCSS. I think he was honest and wants to let them start a search. Plus, if Cox has other offers, he probably does, too. I say try to get him and his experience before he goes somewhere else. He has improved achievement, the dropout rate, and apparently stabalized finances. Also, as much fun as it is to blast Bowen, it is impossible to control a rogue board member. It is up to US to vote them out.

Unknown said...

Don't blame Cox. Will anyone take the job with this board? Is this a ploy to get Tyson?

Unknown said...

What has Ramona Tyson done as interim super to deserve being named permanent super?

Wyndy Amerson said...

Gee, just as I was preparing to eat crow, Tom and the rest of the BOE - clown patrol - snatched it from me. Does anyone trust these people who look the other way for years at blantant adultery, nepotism and fraud? Lillie Cox couldn't trust them to keep her neogiations secret until a deal was sealed. The BOE in DeKalb doesn't want help. They just want more of our money. Please throw the entire bunch out and let us start again with people focused on education and children and not self-serving bunch of people digging in at the taxpayer buffet.

Open+Transparent said...

Tom Bowen should have stepped down as chair of the BOE the day the Lewis/Pope indictments were issued. It happened on his watch.
Where does the buck stop, Tom? But not everyone has a high level of personal and professional ethics. Tom's got relatives in the system to look after.

This Cox debacle is also incredibly embarassing, especially when compared to how smoothly Cobb and Fulton handled their supt. searches. When did Fulton County become a much better school system than DCSS?

I truly hope the look at Culver instead of keeping Tyson on. Phyllis Edwards at the City of Decatur is a star, but she's too straight of an arrow to consider dealing with such dyfunctional.

The next supt. has to be an outsider or we're forever doomed to dysfunction, nepotism, waste, bloat, test manipulation, leaky classrooms, mold in HAVC systems, $2000 Central Office chairs, losing accreditation, Audria Berry's army, Morcease Beasley's unending busy work for teachers, etc., horrible computers in the classroom because MIS is obsessed with the network not ignores actual student learning, etc.

DeKalb Voters: When are y'all going to wise up and vote posers like Tom Bowen out of office?

Anon said...

Cobb and Fulton only revealed the name of one candidate. The reality is that if that had happened in DeKalb, we would have all would have blown our stack.

Unless it was someone who was widely viewed as "the best", we all would have wondered who else had been considered etc.

Here is the big test for our board -- call out the person responsible for the leak.

Cerebration said...

We have posted over 600 posts on this blog and this one has me more disgusted than anything ever before. How can this board call anything platinum plated when they spend millions upon millions for legal fees for all the nonsense and corruption they have let occur over the last decade? And what's with SACS? What a farce that group is. They are now being paid to conduct a "survey" - I hope you will all participate and tell them what you really think!

DeKalb launching parent, student survey on schools

DeKalb Schools is participating in a pilot of individual campus surveys for students, parents, and staff members. AdvancED, the parent organization of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, is offering the opinion surveys online at through May 26. The school principal will receive a report from the school survey, which can be used to improve practices, according to the district.

pscexb said...

To take what Anon said a step further, could the citizens of DeKalb be part of the reason for this breakdown? We demanded an 'open and transparent' process and wanted to be involved every step of the way. The search firm conducts interviews with citizens to get their criteria. The brought back 3 candidates for the job and had them participate in a public meeting. Some citizens complained they did not have enough time to review the profiles or come to the meeting so it was broadcast on PDS 24. We publicly scrutized each candidate in blogs that the candidates surely were made aware of. It ended with an obvious leak from a Board member (obvious because they are the only ones privy to that information) to the media about the negotiations with one of the two remaining finalists.

Meanwhile the Boards for Fulton and Cobb presented one finalist to the community and that was that. How would citizens in DeKalb have reacted to that? There was redistricting in Gwinnett. The obligatory 3 meetings were held then the Board adopted the recommendation. How would citizens in DeKalb have reacted to that?

Could we be part of the problem? I'm just asking...

Avidfan said...

How disappointing. Either this was a charade -- with no intention to hire Cox -- or a board membar is totally unethical, leaking this to derail Cox's hiring. Either way, not good. Sux.

Cerebration said...

I would imagine that you are right, psc, in that our desire to know so many of the details bit us in the behinds. First, by most likely limiting the candidates to those who are unafraid of their current system's being aware they are job-hunting and second, by our desire to know and opine on absolutely everything. However, the forum where the final three spoke was not out of the range of ordinary, other than I thought the 20 questions was a bit much - a simple 15 minute speech would have sufficed. I thought all three were fine candidates at the time. However, apparently a certain board member leaked info on early negotiations and that's what brought them to a halt. I mean, really, who wants to work for someone who violates your trust before you even get too involved in negotiating. The "leak" was rude, unprofessional and damaging behavior and should be punished to the limit, IMO.

SW said...

@pscexb "Could we be part of the problem? I'm just asking..."

It's a matter of wanting our cake and eating it too. We wanted a high calibur candidate and we wanted transparency in the process. However, the calibur of candidate that we want would not have risked their positions by anouncing publicly that they were being considered unless they were guarnteed an offer.

On the other hand, the way our board has operated did not give the public a feeling of trust and competence which is why we demanded the transparency.

Assuming that Culver does not get the offer or accept it, does that mean the search will continue? Do we have enough confidence in our BOE to back off on the 3 finalists rule and go the route of Fulton and Cobb?

Gayle said...

What jobs do Tom Bowen's relatives hold?

mkemp76 said...

I am a mother of young children who plans to send my children to our local DeKalb schools. I have tried to keep up with our schools over the years as much as I could even though I don't have children in the school yet.

I am quite disappointed in this most recent charade of our board. Couldn't we have at least given Dr. Cox a chance? I know she seemed to have some big demands, but like another commenter said, when you negotiate, you start high knowing you won't get exactly what you ask for... I do think the leak was an inside job and does need to be investigated. She could have done a good job for us. We will never know...

What can we do next? Is there anything? I know there are a lot of people concerned and who have a lot of passion. Is there anything constructive that we can do?

Joseph Hunt said...

If you read the post about Cox in AJC Get Schooled blog, there are mentions of communications to folks in Dekalb, including the Board, and to AJC (Maureen Downey acknowledges that the AJC received the communications) that Culver had falsified information on his application. I thought that the Board had not considered Culver because of this. That's just my speculation. I think Culver may have had more baggage than he claimed.

Joseph Hunt said...

Actually those comments are in the April 19 post when none of us knew anything, other than that Davis had withdrawn.

PolitiMom said...

I have no words. Wait. Yes I do. Disgusted. Duped. POWERLESS.

Unknown said...

This blog is an excellent opportunity to provoke thought and share opinion. But I have seen so much accusation and innuendo about Davis, Cox and Culver that it is frightening. Davis and Cox have dropped out. Can Culver be far behind? All have been vilified with no proof. Davis and Culver obviously had ememies posting with wild claims and gossip. Cox has just been attacked as greedy and lackikng experience. I don't think she has done enough to make enemies, but she has still taken a beating. And that info should never have been leaked. I don't blame her for feeling betrayed. Maybe bloggers whould have to use real names and stick to facts.

Joseph Hunt said...

@ James

I think that Culver would have been the Board's first choice, and that there had to have been a strong reason that the Board entered into negotiations with Cox, rather than Culver.

Unknown said...

@A Blue State of Mind
I am pretty sure the news reports said that Cox was the Board's first choice initally. I take that to mean that for whatever reason (doctorate?) they chose her. That doesn't mean that Culver was not still a viable choice. I assume, but don't know that Davis dropped out because she knew she was #3. Nothing has changed with Culver except some gossip and hate mail. If anyone has anything, we would have seen it. This process has really hurt people. Don't you think that the applications/negotiations of the Fulton and Cobb searches could have yeilded similar "flaws." I don't know how we will get anyone.

Unknown said...

I agree with James. If Cox is using this as a negotiating strategy, I hope it works. If it doesn't, I hope Culver will take the job. If he doesn't, we will never get anyone with experience to come here. Our only hope is that he and his current board are as tired of each other as it appears. That will happen after 9 or 10 years. I just wish we could get someone here for 3 years to clean house. I think he can do that. IF he still cares to try.

Ella Smith said...

I am sad.

Anon said...

Regardless of what you thought of any of the candidates, the behavior of member(s) of our board of ed should be gravely concerning to you.

First, the forged signatures and now the leak. We need a board member to step up and go to SACs. We should not have to wait until October for there to be (any?) consequences for this.

As citizens, I don't think SACs values our input -- but whistle blowing is a key to their investigations.

It is time for the ethical board members to do the right thing.

Sagamore 7 said...

Wouldn't this leak be a job for INTERNAL AFFAIRS?

Ramsey's 2nd job is done for the year and what about Babst?

Let's send emails demanding ACCOUNTABILITY!

With no accountability for their actions the status quo RULES!


Open+Transparent said...

Tom Bowen doesn't have the cajones or ethics to find out who the leak was. Ron Ramsey and Robert Tucker from the Internal Affairs Division sure won't investigate, as they have two of the cushiest jobs anywhere.

Of course the BOE members who have friends and family in the system want Tyson to stay. She'll keep the gravy train flowing for the relatives of Walker, Cunningham, Bowen, etc., as well of the legacy friends & family, like the Edwards/Guillory's, the Callaway's, etc.

pscexb said...

I'd be interested to hear from any attorneys that have insight on severance pay. I realize each contract is a unique entity but I'm sure there are commonalities to be found.

To start, Dr. Brown was the first superintendent in the history of this district to be fired (I heard Hinson was asked to leave, can anyone confirm that?). As I understand contracts, based on how the separation was handled, he was entitled to the balance remaining his contract. If he left on his own, he would not be entitled to anything. How the separation occures is key. Regardless, this was a first for DeKalb and many had opinions on what should and should not have been done.

Per reports, Cox would always have 36 months on her contract. If she were fired, she requested to be paid for 15 months. Should it be based on the reason for the firing that determines the severance paid? If she did nothing illegal and the Board simply wanted a change in direction, I believe she should have been entitled to something. I'm not sure what the something should be but would like to hear what typical severance packages would look like.

In a way, we can compare superintendent compensation packages to that of baseball players. Both are fixed term contracts and allow for a buyout if both parties agree to terminate the contract before the term expires.

Open+Transparent said...

"It was very early," Bowen said. "Having the premature negotiations exposed influenced her decision to withdraw."

Bowen did not say why the exposure of the negotiation details led Cox to withdraw.


Read that again above. WTF??

Any real leader would not be taking this nonchalantly as the feckless, passive Bowen is, but instead would say: "The leaks were completely unacceptable, we lost a good candidate, and I will make sure who identify the person responsible for the leak. If it was a system employee, he/she will be fired. If it was a BOE member, he/she will be asked to resign from the board.

But we have the weak, flacid, failing, nepotism-enabling Tom Bowen as our BOE Chair. And the leaks aren't even registering with this clown.

themommy said...

System employees are not involved in the negotiation, so they could only know if a board member told them. The level of detail came from a board member, either directly or indirectly. Regardless of who gave the information to the media, when the board member shared the information he/she knew exactly what they were doing.

I don't think the internal auditor or Ramsey can do anything about this. The Board must regulate itself.

Senator Emanuel Jones introduced ethics legislation related to the DCSS board of ed but I think it never got anywhere. (thanks Howard Mosby -- got the school system you want now?) By the way, this legislation was the thing that had Paul Womack so upset that he told Emanuel Jones that he was God.

themommy said...

I am sorry O and T, but I don't think Tyson wants this job at all. In fact, I suspect that she is worried sick that they won't fill it.

Many of us have had conversations with her where it is sparkling clear that this not a job she wants. This is in addition to the numerous times she has said so publicly.

No, I think this was a board member and it may not have even been one who wasn't supporting Cox, rather one who is irritated by her demands.

Kim Gokce said...

Have any of you hired or fired employees? It is the most difficult thing I have ever been involved in during my career.

My most recent experience nearly cost me my own job. The project I am leading needed a quality manager on the team in November of last year. This person would be critical to the success of the project and had to start before 2011.

The effort to fill the position was a nightmare - I had trouble finding qualified candidates on a national search, I had candidates no-show for interviews, I had a candidate who was offered the job no-show on day one, and ultimately I located and hired the right resource on January 8.

Had I not located the right resource after another 2-3 weeks, the entire project would likely have been a failure and I would have failed in my duty to staff the team. Odds are pretty good that I would have been rightly identified as an incapable project manager and my time at the organization would have been cut short.

The Board of Education has one employee to manage. One.

If this Board does not bring in a qualified and effective employee at the end of this current process, they are to be considered derelict in their duty and not fit for the positions they hold. I have been relatively quiet and patient with this Board but failure to succeed in this, their primary duty, I have no patience left.

Give me a super Super or give me resignations ...

Stnuocca said...

Just curious.

Why does not the search include a range of pay, benefits, severance package, vacation, extra-curriculars so that candidates who want more need not apply? With all due respect to the candidates, should they have indicated their terms before the selection process?

teacher said...

Wondering if a board member said something to Tyson or Beasley and they leaked it, wanting the job. They figure if she left, than we would be forced to take an insider. They could say see outsiders aren't cut out for a position here, and then we're stuck with one of them.

Anon said...

The level of detail in this leak makes me think that only those in the room could know...

fedupindcss said...

If the Tyson theory were correct, if she did become the default candidate she would be operating under a cloud of suspicion, with people thinking she got her job underhandedly. Would it really be worth that?

September said...

If a board member leaked this information, that person should resign immediately. if it was a school system employee that person should be fired for cause. Under no circumstances should Ms. Tyson be offered this job. This situation only makes it more important for DCSS to have a superintendent from outside the system. IMHO Dr. Cox was exactly the kind of person we needed.

Gayle said...

It would seem that hiring Ms. Tyson to be a permanent superintendent would not bring very much change to DCSS, particularly considering the fact that she was one of only 4 direct reports to Crawford Lewis, she was over Business Operations including Finance and Human Resources when the indictments occurred, and she went from a salary of $99,960 to $165,035 in 5 years thanks to Lewis.

Unknown said...

Only in DeKalb does the crook get to name his successor.

Unknown said...

What is going on. Is Cox reconsidering? Where is Culver in all of this. No one seems to be mentioning him, and he is still a viable candidate unless he has backed out. This needs to end quickly or it will continue to result in chaos and speculation. I don't blame the media. The board brought us here, and they need to clean this up NOW!

Stnuocca said...

Enters Rudy Crew?

Anon said...

That would be awesome but probably unlikely.

It appears that Cox applied for the Cobb job as well. Given the plethora of superintendent jobs available, I expect that she can find better, though perhaps with less of a payout, but also less stress.

The media indicates that the Board is regrouping tomorrow. I expect that we will hear absolutely nothing except when they are ready to either make an announcement or start over.

Joseph Hunt said...

I don't believe Culver is a viable candidate anymore. There had to be a reason the Board did not vote to hire him.

Again, I thought he would be their top choice. Because he wasn't, I don't think they'll go after him at all. I don't believe that he's still in the running.

After reading about the weak slate of candidates, I felt at the time that somehow the Board would deem all of these candidates unacceptable and, out of premeditated desperation, hire from within.

I hope I was wrong, but it's beginning to look like this is what might happen.

Tyson may remain interim indefinitely until she just becomes de facto superintendent.

Anon said...

We don't know that Culver wasn't their top choice. For all we know, his income demands were higher than the board wanted to pay. Remember his current salary is in line with what DCSS wants to pay, but he has 10 percent of the students.

Given that it has been weeks since the forum, I have a hard time believing that the negotiations just started.

pscexb said...

I sit on a scholarship board and we select x candidates to interview and rank them all. If one of the scholarship recipients cannot receive the award, we go to the next person on the list.

I mention this because perhaps Ray and Associates did something similar and may go to candidates 4-6, assuming Cox does not reconsider and Culver is not perceived as a viable choice. I'm not sure if opening this entire process up will yield new and interested candidates, especially in light of what just happened.

SW said...

Someone had mentioned that the BOE had about 51 candidates to consider before they ended of with the 3 finalists.

I guess I wonder if there was anyone in the other 48 that met the criteria that we would find acceptable for superintendent but chose not to pursue it because of publicizing the 3 finalists before an offer is made. Despite the slim chance of anyone wanting to work within DCSS and having to deal with its current board, what's the possiblity of re-visiting that list instead of starting from scratch? And what's the possibility of making a decision similar to how Fulton and Cobb made their decision. Is the 3 finalists presentation a rule set in stone or is it just the way this particular search was done?

I honestly can't see Ms. Tyson becoming the permanent superintendent. In the interim role, she is basically doing what she has been asked to do; that is to keep things going until a permanent superintendent is hired.

It would be difficult for her to start cleaning house because I'm sure many of the people who would need to be cut are "friends" --some of which who may have helped her to rise through the ranks. That's probably why she does not want the position permanently.

And even if she were able to make the hard choices and reduce the headcount of the central office, would she be able to go to the next level and "fix" the schoolhouses? We need someone who can do what is unpopular, be able to stand up to the Board and any other detractors, and get our academics on track.

Hiring an insider will not give us what we need.

Cerebration said...

I don't think Tom knows who leaked the executive discussions (unless of course, he did it himself!). And obviously, that person will never 'fess up, so it looks like they will get away with it. Also, I am firmly convinced that Ramona is sincere when she says she does not want the job. In fact, I am pretty sure she is very much looking forward to handing over the reins to someone else and may be even more disappointed in recent events than even we are.

Gayle said...

@ Cerebration
How telling it will be for SACS if they don't investigate the unethical behavior of the BOE. After all, they are collectively supposed to be working together for the good of the students.

Unknown said...

Um, did you really think a white female ever had a serious chance?

Anon said...

I think at the called meeting tomorrow, Bowen ought to ask who leaked the information? Then, see if anyone fesses up.

Not that we will necessarily ever know, because if you follow the rules of executive session -- what happens in there is suppose to be secret, unless it leads to a public vote!

Kirk said...

Of course they sabotaged negotiations with Cox. They never wanted her in the first place. This whole process is a charade. Dekalb will end up with an insider, most likely Ramona. The BOE has to hire someone who will "do business" with them and not not set the DA on them.

Unknown said...

The Cox situation has just about ruined any chance of any capable person applying for the job. The BOE Has shown its true colors as being a divisive bunch with a core set on preserving the status quo to protect relatives, friends, and relatives of friends. What sane person in his right mind would want to enter a situation where his/her hands were tied and really trying to accomplish something.

For a moment there was a glimmer of hope, but that has gone. The children of DeKalb County once again have been sold down the river because of vested interests.

Gayle said...

If you want to complain to SACS, feel free to load their mailbox:
Mark Elgart
Southern Accredidation of Colleges and Schools


Also, if you want to complain to Governor Deal, here is a link to his contact information. While you are at it, complain to Deal about SACS refusing to move on an unethical BOE:,2657,165937316_166563415,00.html

...and of course, everyone needs to mail ALL BOE members:
See Cerebration's one click link that will email all BOE members on the right hand side of the home page of this blog.

Unknown said...

Who said that Culver is not viable. I read in the Champaign paper that he was told that there were two finalists- him and Cox. She dropped out. His credentials make him viable. Does a Blue State of Mind know something that we don't? Nothing that I have seen disqualifies Culver or changes his status as candidate #2, unless it is his salary/perk demands.

Anon said...

Does anyone else wonder if Culver was the first choice-- but he was to expensive?

No Duh said...

Excuse me? For nearly $300k, I'd take it on the chin for a year and then move on (with a nice consolation prize) to my martyred place on the "I really tried to do the right thing"-list of former school superintendents.

Where else is Lilly Cox going to get an opportunity to pad her resume and her pockets with such meteoric speed?

Cerebration said...

There is no reason to believe that Culver is out. In fact, with the other two dropping out - it would appear that he will be the one to get and take the job. Just because Cox dropped out doesn't mean Culver doesn't want it. I think that he probably does. These were simply negotiations with Cox - did anyone say the board wasn't planning to negotiate with both and see where it led? We surely don't know. And hopefully we won't - hopefully our pitiful leaky board member will zip it!

Open+Transparent said...

Do you believe serious professionals at the top of their game like Sam King and Robert M. Avossa would ever consider working with such minor-leaguers as the DCSS Board is, led by Tom Bowen?

And our next door neighbor Sam King is about to become president of the Georgia School Superintendents Association.
And both were presented as the sole finalist.

Sam King and Robert Avossa are MAJOR LEAGUE. The DCSS BOE is not and will never be.


Rockdale County school Superintendent Samuel T. King is expected to be tapped as the next school chief for Cobb County, sources close to the search told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Cobb school board is expected to announce him as the sole finalist next week, a source close to the search said. By law, the district will have to wait 14 days after naming him before a final vote.
Cobb is Georgia's second-largest school district, with about 106,000 students.
King was named the 2011 Georgia school superintendent of the year by the Georgia School Superintendents Association. He’s about to become president of that association, which carries considerable clout with legislators.

Fulton County has tapped an executive from one of the nation's largest school districts as the sole finalist for its next school superintendent.
An announcement is expected to be made Tuesday as to when parents and teachers will be able to meet Robert M. Avossa, the chief strategy and accountability officer for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina, during a 14-day review period before the school board makes its final decision.

Open+Transparent said...


By naming Avossa for the Fulton job, the school system has moved ahead of three other large metro Atlanta districts in search of a new chief, Atlanta Public Schools, the Cobb County School District and the DeKalb County School System. Of those three, only DeKalb has named finalists, choosing three candidates from smaller school districts.
Big chores await whoever takes over Fulton, one of Georgia's largest school systems, including raising students' test scores, tackling the disparity in academic performance between north and south Fulton schools, and steering the system through redistricting.
"I'm ready for whatever needs to be done," said Avossa, reached by telephone at his Charlotte office. "The challenges facing Fulton are similar to what we've encountered here in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The districts are very similar, and we've made big gains in improving students' academic outcomes and closing [test score] gaps between schools."
Fulton School Board President Linda Schultz said Avasso was selected after a four-month national search that began in January, when current Superintendent Cindy Loe announced her plans to retire at the end of the school year.
Schultz declined to say how many applicants were screened, but that the board plans to offer Avossa the job after the review period.
"We think Robert is perfect for the job," Schultz said. "He is a strong coalition builder who believes that every child can learn. He's handled districts this large and larger in his career, and we're confident in his strength and experience."
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has a student population of 135,000; the Fulton system serves 92,000 students.
In Charlotte, Avossa led the district in driving key performance management initiatives, including managing district and state testing, conducting independent research on student and teacher performance, and developing assessments for the district’s 2014 strategic plan.
"We can track individual students' performance month to month and see whether we're on the right path or not," he said.
Liz Payerle, a parent and former officer on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Parent Teacher Association's executive board, has known Avossa since he first came on board in 2007 as an area superintendent covering South Charlotte.
"Apart from being a heck of a nice guy, Robert is very intelligent and approachable," Payerle said. "He listens to everyone's ideas and never dodged a phone call."
Payerle said Avossa facilitated a parent's idea to hold joint PTA meetings between elementary, middle and high schools so parents could better coordinate their efforts.
Avossa said his schools made education gains with the students by focusing on teacher development and giving the teachers extra training and classroom materials when needed.
He said it's too soon to make any broad-brush pronouncements on Fulton's needs. But he said performance disparities between schools is something he is ready to address.
"Where we made gains, it was from investing in really highly qualified teachers and building on their talents," he said. "It's not a one-size-fits-all approach."

Open+Transparent said...

Robert M. Avossa

Professional experience

Chief strategy and accountability officer, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Charlotte, N.C., August 2009-present. Executive leader of a 38-member team charged with driving key strategic performance-management initiatives, research and evaluation, school improvement, and student assessment.

Area superintendent, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, June 2007-August 2009. Executive leader for the South Learning Community, an area with 25,000 pre-k to 12th-grade students, 29 schools and a budget of $125 million.

Chief of staff, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, 2006-2007.

High school principal, Orange County Public Schools, Orlando, Fla., 2003-2006. Instructional leader of a comprehensive high school with 3,250 students (20 percent poverty, 50 percent minority), 225 employees and a $12.5 million budget.

Elementary school principal, Orange County Public Schools, 2001-2003. Instructional leader of an elementary school with 1,400 students (46 percent poverty, 80 percent Hispanic), 130 employees and a $5.5 million budget.

Assistant principal, 2000-2001.

Teacher, dean of students and other posts at various schools, 1995-1999.


Educational Doctorate, Educational Leadership, Wingate University, Matthews, N.C. Anticipated completion date of August 2011.

Broad Superintendents Academy, Broad Center, Los Angeles, Calif. Anticipated completion date of November 2011.

Specialist Degree, Educational Leadership, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., June 1999.

Master of Arts, University of South Florida, Tampa, August 1995.

Bachelor of Science, University of South Florida, Tampa, May 1994.

Georgia Gal said...


Since there will likely be an extension of the search with more candidates I would like to suggest a man for a 3 year contract with a charge for change. Dr. Wayne Urban is an authority on the history of education in the South, black education, and teacher unions. He is retired from GA State and now at the U of Alabama, but is not that old and ran a department in the School of Education at GA State. He put 2 children through the DeKalb schools so is familiar with the system and the way it operates.

SHS said...

@ Maureen Downey

"But here’s my position: If I know something important, you are going to know it, too. The newspaper is not paying me to collect information and then hide it from readers."

Maureen -- let's see you put your money where your mouth is. Who "leaked" the information about DCSS's negotiations with Dr. Cox?

Surely the AJC did not just take Richard Belcher's word for what he claims was leaked. This was a critical leak, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars and consigning DeKalb students to an inferior education for the foreseeable future.

The AJC and WSB had to know Belcher's source in order to run the story as factual. Clearly, if Belcher's story is true, the source is someone privy to the negotiations.

Maureen, you jumped right on the bandwagon to defend the AJC for running the story. Surely you must know Belcher's source, as well. Otherwise, why would you risk your professional credibility?

"... here’s my position: If I know something important, you are going to know it, too."

Who is the source, Maureen? Who improperly -- and possibly illegally -- leaked the information?

Atlanta Media Guy said...

This makes me so angry! Why are any of Clew's leadership team still in place? Ms. Tyson want to earn your salary, start firing people now!

ENOUGH! Mr. Bowen you have overseen your last BOE meeting. I remember you once told a group of people that you were aspiring to become a full time politician and looking at higher office. Your derelict of duty to this system should pretty much keep you from reaching your goals. A crime syndicate is running right under your nose you don't even realize it even after being warned by CFO Turk. You just kept the practice of hiring friends and family intact. You oversaw the building of the $50 million dollar Palace with funds slated for a different project. You got your $5000 chair. Your interim super couldn't handle the tough task of redistricting, so we hired a consulting company and paid them hundreds of thousands of dollars and their report basically told us the very same thing DCSS staffer Dan Drake told you a few weeks before the Charettes began. A person on staff takes 2 unauthorized trips on a DCSS P-Card with the Super and that person keeps her employment and oversees how Title 1 Funds are spent! This person has an army of "coaches" that do NOTHING except take money from the folks doing the real job of teaching, OUR TEACHERS!

Mr. Bowen ENOUGH! Your time has come and certainly gone now! I will find it very funny if you attempt to run for higher office.

Ms. Tyson it's time for you to do your job. Before a new Super is hired you must ask for the resignations of Yourself, Moseley, Thompson, Mitchell-Mayfield, Turk, Ramsey, Clark, Tucker, Beasley, Guilroy's (Both of them), any other Edward's (former BOE chair)family member, any Bowen family member. This is just a start if you do not clean house, the taxpayers deserve what they voted for, a criminal operation that is actually taking money allotted for kids education and spending it on lawsuits, search firms and other things that really have nothing to do with teaching our kids.

Joseph Hunt said...

I think that Culver was the Board's choice when ODE made the ridiculous decision to endorse him. Why would they endorse the loser candidate, especially if they wanted to get in good with the new Supt.

I think that something caused the Board to step back, eliminate Culver, and vote to negotiate with Cox.

Anon said...

Knowing how a few of our board members work, it might have been ODE's endorsement that caused them to step back.

The AJC/WSB are not all obligated to reveal their sources. In fact, even in criminal investigations, sources are protected.

There is a solution though -- one that would make a big difference to children in DeKalb. The ethical board members need to file a formal complaint with SACs over both the leak and the letter with the forged signatures.

DCSS needs to be in the same precarious situation that Atlanta finds itself in to get the remedy that is needed.

Stnuocca said...

According to the morning news, we are back to the accidental superintendent. I did not expect that this would be the outcome of a national search.

Anon said...

That isn't exactly what they said -- they said that we were back to square one.

This is a good place to be, I think.

Let's try to get stronger candidates this time -- ok?

Leo said...

Embarrassing. It's really the only word to describe this fiasco. At any company I've ever worked for or advised, leaking this type of confidential information to the press would be grounds for immediate dismissal. Not only is it ridiculously unprofessional, the most senior leadership of our county's school system can't keep something like this confidential. Who are these people?

For the first time, I'm considering that we might really have to move. Bravo DCCS BOE.

pscexb said...

You have a good point Leo! I googled Executive Session and noted that the discussions are considered confidential. Someone leaking confidential information is wrong. Knowingly reporting on something that is confidential is questionable journalism. We knew how the vote went and only Board members would know that information.

There is a LOT of blame to go around with this situation.

Anon said...

Just a reminder that if Bowen steps down then Womack becomes chair!

Susan Curtis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan Curtis said...

If the "leaker" on the BOE doesn't have the guts to step up, admit to it, and say why he/she leaked, then I think other BOE members ought to "out" him/her. I want to know who to actively campaign against besides Tom Bowen. He should have condemned the leak in the strongest terms. As a former DCSS teacher and a current Dekalb County taxpayer, I am disgusted beyond words. I don't mind that the AJC printed what they learned; I mind that personnel matters discussed in executive session were then discussed by at least one BOE member publicly. That is unethical and immoral. Shame on the leaker. And what a shame for our school system.

Anon said...

Maybe a recall is in order -- of all of them if the leaker doesn't step forward.

It isn't easy but it is doable...

teacher said...

One of the problems with asking about the open records act, is that we have school board members who do not exclusively use their DCSS email account for DCSS business. We have people use yahoo and other accounts that we may and may not know about as well, which I do not think are covered under the open-records act.

We will probably never truly know who leaked the info. We need an entire new school board who is genuinely focused on the kids, but I don't think tax payers really want that or several of elections from November would have turned out differently.

Anonymous said...

Where else, No Duh?

Countless places. Cox has a real PhD, not a pretend educational degree. She will be highly-sought after. Padding her resume? Right, because leading DCSS would have been such a cushy proposition. It is unfathomable to me that posters criticize Cox for her demands, when we increased Tyson's pay so astronomically - and Tyson does not have the experience, training or demonstrated ability to lead. Cox had a right to confidential negotiations: those conversations were conducted in Executive Session. We shouldn't even KNOW what her demands were. Yes, had she been selected, we could have protested and argued against further raises. But an individual has a right to discuss his or her compensation out of the public eye. She was right to withdraw. Our problem is not some sort of technical misunderstanding - i.e. Lillie Cox was too sensitive to the media. DCSS is a criminal enterprise. Just watch. Ramona will be the superintendent. And there will be no consequences for whomever leaked the Cox information and successfully sabotaged her candidacy. There is no sane, trained, responsible leadership in DeKalb Schools and she figured that out just in time. Those who continue to send their children to school here need to stop wishing it weren't so.

Anonymous said...

I disagree on a recall, Anon.

These are the same voter's who re-elected a known convicted felon over a very intelligent, capable, educated individual, by a 70% margin.

In my opinion, the leaker was one of the Board Members who does not want to see change, or a white woman.

Anon said...

Maybe -- or it could have been a Cox supporter who has gone to the media before about other issues and would use words like "platinum-plated."

teacher said...

Anon, I have been wondering the same thing. Maybe it is someone who voted for her thinking that they could push her around and after her demands realized that they needed someone different to run their current agenda. We'll probably never know what really happened, but given the current board, there are so many possibilities as few members have the children's interest at best heart.

Susan Curtis said...

Okay, my outrage is now back on simmer, and I'm ready to move on. First order of business is to show up at every board meeting asking them to hire a quality person FROM OUTSIDE of Dekalb County. Next order of business is to find qualified, quality people to run against unsatisfactory board members - (Jester and Edler are the only two that I'm willing to leave alone for now - unless one of them turns out to have been the leaker.). Thirdly, we need to start building public reputations for those running NOW - we should be able to do that in a year. Who do you all feel (and I'm looking county-wide) are potential candidates?

Fred said...

Which Board member would use a term like 'platimun plated'? I don't think it was Ms. Copelin-Woods so that should eliminate her.

SHS said...

@ Maureen Downey

Maureen -- you know or you could know who leaked the information. The AJC and WSB are owned by Cox. Even though Richard Belcher is a bottom-feeder as far as reporting goes -- or, maybe, especially because Belcher is a bottom-feeder -- the source of his story had to have been checked out and found to be credible.

I have always considered you to be an ethical, upstanding person and reporter, Maureen. So, considering the character of the initial reporter (Belcher), I believe you have the name of the source of the leak, probably checked it yourself and are confident it was credible.

Following your stated reporting philosophy, Maureen, of "If I know it, you will know it," -- who is the person who leaked this information (confidential by Board policy) -- unethically and possibly illegally -- costing DCSS hundreds of thousands of dollars and condemning DeKalb students to an inferior education for the foreseeable future?

If your word is good, Maureen, you will answer with the name of the person who leaked the confidential information.

Wyndy Amerson said...

We need an investigation of the leak and have that person removed from the Board. Tom should have the backbone to demand it. We need a full desk audit of the Central Office staff to determine if their salaries are in line with job performance and education level. We need to cut all staff at the CO by 25% and offer those who have had their job cut (let's start with those famous coaches) a teaching position if they are qualified. We need a financial audit so Tommy and the gang can understand how the money is spent. We need people to be accountable for their actions including the "Godly Womack" on down the line.

Susan Curtis said...

I fully agree with Wyndy.

Unknown said...

It is ridiculous to think that a Cox supporter leaked the information regarding the "very early" negotiations. The leak was meant to undermine Dr. Cox's credibility and get the public in an uproar. Lillie Cox is as every bit smart as most of us thought...she recognized the significance of the Board's breach and bailed. She got a glimpse of the lack of professionalism of our BOE, the lack of intelligence on our BOE and the lack of any true sense of unity and did the right thing for herself and her career. I certainly cannot blame her. I would actually be questioning her intelligence had she not pulled out of the running after the gutter attempt made to make her look bad BEFORE she ever took the job.

Any candidate who is not desperate for a job AND has really taken the time to research DCSS (by reading all the AJC articles re: the construction corruption case, the CRCT scandal, the book sales scandals, the redistricting scandal (thanks SCW), Zepora's threat of violence, Jay Cunningham's unethical business with the District and his garnished BOE wages; by reading this and other similar blogs to know about the rampant nepotism, promiscuity and racial politics that run throughout DCSS and DeKalb County alike and by talking to any local residents to learn of the hold New Birth and Eddie Long have on DCSS) will ask for contractual terms that provide leverage over OUR CRAZY and IMPOTENT BOE.

Without something in the contract to prevent a knee-jerk reaction from the BOE when the new super reorganizes the District, ignores unethical and unreasonable demands by BOE members and starts getting any kind of credit for a turn-around at DCSS--a candidate would be a fool to take the DCSS job.

You simply can't trust our BOE. If a candidate takes the job without any really strong provisions to prevent whimsical termination by the BOE, I question that candidates motives and intellect. AND, DCSS will be screwed.

50 Bucks Josie Alexander is the top-notch legal representative for the BOE on the contract negotiations. She is all over this one.


SHS said...

@ Fred, 1:35 PM

"Which Board member would use a term like 'platimun plated'?"

Paul Womack. Aka "God." That sounds just like him. I can hear his derisive tone right now. His loose lips never had the financial impact this leak has had -- not to mention the negative impact on DeKalb students for the foreseeable future.

Also, Womack let it be known to at least one person following the Q & A session for superintendent candidates (part of which he slept through) that the BOE decision had already been made and Arthur Culver would be the next superintendent.

"God" doesn't like to be wrong.

fedupindcss said...

"God" is also a teeny, tiny bit misogynistic.

Anonymous said...

That would be terrible if it was Josie who leaked the negotiations. She certainly wouldn't do that. She is an attorney with a higher responsibility for confidentiality.

Joseph Hunt said...

Not only are we the laughingstock of Metro Atlanta, but of all the folks in Hickory, NC and Champagne, IL.

Someone should do a reality show about this place.

Gayle said...

Womack likes Tyson and he liked Lewis. He says the BOE hired Tyson on Lewis's recommendation:

AJC article:
"“Dr. Lewis was the one who thought maybe it would be a distraction [to have him remain],” board member H. Paul Womack said. "...
"Lewis recommended Tyson take over, Womack told the AJC."

Xanadude said...

If you watched the Channel 2 news tonight, you know that the three who voted against Cox were Bowen, Elder, and Cunningham. Five of the others (excluding Walker) met with her today and offered to meet her requests -- she said no. I think it's clear that Bowen was involved in the leak, and, we have got to demand some sort of internal investigation.

Five from our board offering a job in secrecy while the others are part of a media leak? We're beginning to look like APS. At this point, the person who gets the job is secondary to the fact that DCSS is headed for some seriously insane days and likely more than suggestions from SACS. I'm embarrassed to even be associated with the craziness.

Anon said...

Which channel? And how did they get all that information?

Anon said...

Sorry missed that first line of your posting...

It isn't yet posted on WSB site...

teacher said...

This is all that I could find. They don't mention who voted for and against her in this broad cast or that anyone went back to ask her to reconsider.

Why would they ask her to go back. If she doesn't want the job, giving into her demands probably isn't going to keep her. If I were her, I'd want more.

Sagamore 7 said...

We should hear a public comment from Bowen and the BOE in a couple of days.

They are extremely tight lipped right now.

I wish they were tight lipped last week also!

I'm thinking an OVERSIGHT Committee from the county tax payers should do the trick!

Do we have anyone willing to attend ALL of the board meetings and sit in on the Executive Sessions and disseminate all the information to the tax payers of the county? For Free?

That's a lot to ask of one person!

I would also suggest that we use the public comment period for Wednesday's Budget Meeting to express our concerns regarding the Super search and for the accounting of the 2012 budget!

That's my 2 cents for this afternoon.


SW said...

Can't be all that tight lipped if WSB-TV knows that some members approached Cox to try to get her to reconsider.

fedupindcss said...

Did anyone else notice in the AJC article tonight that Ramona did not definitively say she didn't want the job?

Stnuocca said...

With all due respect to this blog's guests and moderator, I have to note that now we are arguing the merits of a superintendent candidate out of a proposed threesome that just a month we deemed too inexperienced. We also wailed at the size of the district whence they came. Did we not?

The question should be "when is Ray Associates going to furnish another group of qualified candidate to pick from....(qualifications: for example, at least 4 years of experience as super, at least 40 000 students, and the required panoply of achievements, and ..etc...).

Prospective candidates should pre-consent to a range of compensation (salary, moving expense, severance pay, termination parameters, contract length) according to the yardstick of their qualifications.

In the meantime, the BOE should hire a retired and motivated superintendent with a 2 year contract with modest emoluments while we wait for Ray Associates ( or its replacement) to produce the desired result.

Otherwise, my dear fellows, we are fighting to feast on crumbs instead of bread.

Cerebration said...

Marcia Coward, president of the DeKalb County Council of PTAs, said the school board should redo its national search for a superintendent.

“They need to start all over again,” Coward said. “None of the three candidates that they brought in in my opinion were qualified candidates. At this point, where they are negotiating with the least experienced candidate at the level that they are negotiating is atrocious. There are qualified candidates out there that they can find to lead DeKalb to where DeKalb needs to be. Right now, that is not what we have.”

DeKalb mulls future of superintendent search

Stnuocca said...

Marcia is thinking what I am thinking.

We are feuding over candidates without minimal gravitas.

If feuding we must as we are the county that feuds, let's feud over half-gravitas candidates.

Cerebration said...

I agree with Marcia too! And this time - zip it board!!!

teacher said...

I agree. I hope this time, they pick their candidate, get a contract, and present it to us. No more drama!

SHS said...

Start over -- YES!

Use Ray and Associates -- NO!

Ray and Associates is not licensed to do business in Georgia. They are not even licensed to do business in Iowa, where they are located.

Ray and Associates must be asked to return all monies that were paid to them for the "nationwide search" and related costs!

Before this new nationwide search can start, the person(s) who leaked the details of the negotiations with Dr. Cox must be identified, fired for cause or asked to resign, and indicted for illegal activities. Otherwise, no quality person in their right mind would take a job where they already know they will be stabbed in the back and their confidence will be breached.

Cerebration said...

Here's the link to the WSB report. Carol Sbarge references Dr. Arthur Culver, but Mr. Culver does not hold a doctoral degree, although his resume states he completed the coursework in 1994.

Cerebration said...

Oh for crying out loud -- now Culver's dropped out! This was just reported on WSB.

Anonymous said...

It is high time the Board act like adults and not like "terrible twos". I can't believe the actions of the "FIVE", Wommack, McChes, Speaks, Copeland-Woods & Jester. Do they not realizr that they are to be stewards of our (taxpayers) money? I think they got into personal and political infighting and completely lost sight of their role and committment to the students and citizens of this county. The "Infamous Five" should resign ASAP starting with Jester, who has broken her platform pledges in just 4 months.Great for Jester who speaks for the children and so far hasn't joined any click. Let's vote some help for her. The men don't count, they aren't moms.
The leak to the press definately came from the "ring master of the Five Pack".
It's time to get serious and get real. We must begin to work together to save our schools. I am hopeful that it is not too late.

John Heneghan said...

Cerebration for Superintendent !!

Stnuocca said...


Passionate... said...

It is not surprising that candidates are dropping out...DCSS is a mess! SACS, it is time to step in. We need help! We spend millions of dollars for legal fees, but are unwilling to "negotiate terms" without leaking them to the press. School based employees have been stuck in a dark tunnel, thought we were seeing the light at the end and making our way, end of the tunnel was just closed. Who will blast the end of the tunnel now?

Unknown said...

You are very naive. You are right about JA's ability to keep certain things appears that she never did a thing about all the fraud, crimes and other bad acts that occurred on her watch as "General Counsel" for DCSS/BOE. Keeping things quiet and covering up wrongdoing is not the proper role of any attorney or "general counsel."

If Ramona becomes the permanent superintendent, she will NEVER have the support of the public at large. We all know that will be a cop-out move by the BOE. She will NOT do what needs to be done--remove the corrupt and weak (including CFO Turk). She moved up the ranks very fast at the hands of Lewis. Guilty by association has merit here. When you are one of two right-hand men for a corrupt cannot come out smelling like a rose...unless the public is simply turning a blind eye.

Folks, we can't afford to turn a blind eye to Tyson or to ANYONE associated with Lewis' senior staff.

Gayle said...

Tyson is a very safe choice for the BOE. She will maintain the status quo which is what everyone but Jester and Edler have wanted to do all along. After all, a reform superintendent would threaten their friends and family.

Cerebration said...

1.) I am certain Ramona Tyson does not want this job permanently. I have no idea why Tom Bowen continues to hope it to be so.

2.) I agree that we deserve a refund from Ray & Associates. ALL THREE of the final candidates vetted by them dropped out! They obviously didn't work to find candidates who were completely serious about taking this on.

3.) John, you're funny.

Anon said...

I don't know that Ray and Associates owns all of this.

After all, Cox dropped out after negotiations became public. Culver probably dropped out because he heard they were negotiating with Cox and that became public, meaning he would forever be known as the runner up.

teacher said...

We are owed no refund. This entire fiasco is because of the stupidity of the board or a few members of the board. That person/persons need to own up to their big mouth and resign.

I am left wondering why members aren't up in arms about the leak. I would be livid if I were them. I am livid and I am just a tax payer and parent.

Tyson is not speaking out or saying that she doesn't want the job, maybe she has had a change of heart.

I don't trust anything that this board does.

I wonder if this quote from WSB website is telling to who the big mouth is: "But later, sources told Channel 2's Richard Belcher that the board made one last effort to hire her at the secret meeting. The highly unusual offer was approved by five members of the school board, including board vice chairman Paul Womack, but Belcher confirmed that Cox said "no.""

What can we do to help the children of DCSS?

Cerebration said...

Big clue there!

Now, here's the news telling us that Culver has officially withdrawn from the DeKalb search AND resigned his current post with Champaign.

CHAMPAIGN — Champaign school Superintendent Arthur Culver has resigned from his job, and he has also withdrawn his name from consideration for the superintendent job of the DeKalb County School System in metropolitan Atlanta, The News-Gazette has learned.

Culver resigns, withdraws candidacy for Georgia job

SW said...

Maureen Downey's current blog topic concerns a possible campaign to make Ramona Tyson the permanent superintendent.

Again, Ms. Tyson is doing a good job in the capacitiy she was asked to serve -- as INTERIM superintendent.

One of the reasons we wanted a superintendent who had no previous ties to DCSS was to help alleviate the perception of cronyism and nepotism. Ms. Tyson is perceived to be a part of that network.

Another reason we wanted someone with no previous ties to DCSS is that we needed someone to objectively access the personnel, especially in the central office. That person would need to determine who is actually qualified for the position they are holding, where the top-heaviness and inefficiencies are, and make the needed cuts or re-assignments. Ms. Tyson's ties to DCSS makes it impossible for her to be objective and probably to make the obvious needed cuts in personnel.

In addition, we need a superintendent who can make a possitive impact in academics. That includes accessing the performance of administrators and teachers, determining which principals are being effective in their current assignments, determining what professional development is needed, determining what academic programs are working and what programs aren't working, and to bring consistency and equality to all the schools throughout the county. I'm not sure that Ms. Tyson is qualified to take us to the next level in that regard. Many did not want to consider the three finalists because they were not QUALIFIED to run a system the size of DCSS. So why would we want to accept someone not qualified just because they are already a part of the system?

Now that all three finalists have withdrawn, we need to start a new search and not just go for what appears easiest. It does not resolve the problems. It just puts a patch on it while it continues to fester. Eventually, the problems will become bigger and will make it even more difficult to find a qualified person willing to take on this challenge.

Cerebration said...

Well, I guess it wasn't Womack!

Womack blasts fellow board members for leaking information

Question: Why isn't TOM the one doing the blasting?

Gayle said...

Why can't someone ask for the votes under the Open Records Act? Then we can see the 6 members who originally voted for Dr. Cox and the 5 members who continued to vote for Dr. Cox. That would narrow it down the considerably when trying to determine the unethical BOE member.

Cerebration said...

Richard Belcher reported last night on WSB that the 3 who voted against Cox were Bowen, Cunningham and Edler.

Walker may not have been present.

SHS said...

Wow! Maureen -- what a cop out!

"I can assure you that unnamed sources are not used lightly and have to be approved by top editors at the AJC." (Tuesday, April 26, 2011)

"But here’s my position: If I know something important, you are going to know it, too. The newspaper is not paying me to collect information and then hide it from readers. If it is relevant, if it is newsworthy, if it involves tax dollars, then my job and the job of this newspaper is to report it." (Sunday, April 24, 2011)

Here's my position, Maureen, and I am sure it is similar to that of other AJC readers and subscribers:

The REAL story is that a DeKalb County School System Board of Education member, for personal agenda reasons, knowingly broke BOE policy and revealed confidential contract negotiations with a candidate for superintendent who had been approved by the majority of the BOE.

It now appears very likely that the person who leaked the information may have been BOE Chair Tom Bowen.

In your holier-than-thou post on April 24, 2011 (appropriately Easter Sunday) aimed at people like me who objected to the AJC and WSB running this particular story, you said, "If I know something important, you are going to know it, too. If it is relevant, if it is newsworthy, if it involves tax dollars, then my job and the job of this newspaper is to report it."

Well, Maureen ... knowing the name of the person who leaked confidential negotiations:
(1) is relevant (this person has virtually assured that no worthwhile or viable candidate for superintendent will have any interest in working for a back-stabbing BOE who thinks nothing of breaking BOE policies to satisfy a personal agenda.)
(2) is newsworthy (in a state and a county with abysmal education results, this person has consigned DeKalb's public school students to an inferior public education for the foreseeable future.
(3) involves tax dollars (this person has cost DCSS hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars; restitution must be made)

The person who leaked this confidential information must be held accountable -- morally, fiscally and legally. This person must be fired for cause or told to resign, must reimburse DCSS for all taxpayer dollars spent during the superintendent candidate search, and must be prosecuted to the full extent allowed by law.

As you said, it is your job and the job of the newspaper to report what you know.

So, Maureen, you and/or upper management at Cox/WSB/AJC know the name of the person who leaked the negotiation information.

Report what you know or resign. Your credibility is shot if you don't follow your own statement:

"If it is relevant, if it is newsworthy, if it involves tax dollars, then my job and the job of this newspaper is to report it." (Maureen Downey, Sunday, April 24, 2011)

Cerebration said...

The thing is – salary negotiations are supposed to be “personnel issues” which the board is absolutely forbidden to discuss publicly. These are legal negotiations and are very delicate. To violate the sacred trust of executive session and the legal responsibility to uphold a person’s privacy is unconscionable.

It is obvious that ’someone’ was very afraid that the board was going to vote to hire Dr. Cox and this ’someone’ didn’t want Dr. Cox so this ’someone’ sabotaged the negotiations.

This is so bad on so many levels. If the board thought they didn’t have the public’s trust before, they have no idea just how untrustworthy they have now painted themselves.

Cerebration said...

This came via email to the blog from a community member in Champaign -

One thing I do want to say is that regardless of the ill feelings some have expressed about your BOE members in DeKalb, I take my hat off to them for allowing your process to be so transparent. That transparency was the only way we, in Champaign, found out our Superintendent was running out the back door with 3 years left on his contract and a ton of questions he consistently refused to answer or provide information to.

Let this be a lesson to us all. If a person fears full disclosure on any level--pre or post hiring, then there are way too many skeletons in their baggage for any of us to be held contractually hostage to or have to forcibly bury afterwards.

gapeach920 said...

Maybe the "search firm" or the Board need to ask some of these folks to apply (just Google their names):

Dr. Ed Davis--Supt., Union County Public Schools, NC (NC Southwest Regional Superintendent of the Year 2009-2010).

Paul Gust Vallas--Supt., Recovery School Dist. of LA, former CEO of Chicago Public Schools and School District of Philadelphia.

Dr. James A. Williams, Ed.D. Supt., Buffalo Public Schools since 2005. He has a B.S. in Bus. Admin., an M.A. in Counseling Psychology, and his Ed.D. in Admin. and Curriculum from George Washington University.

Dr. Franklin Till, Jr. has served as Broward County, FL Super. for 7 years. He raised student achievement in the County and closed the achievement gap between ethnic groups. He has won many awards.

Also, check out Dr. Raymond Bryant--Supt. in Elmira, NY and
Dr. Robert Tomback--Area Asst. Supt. Baltimore County, MD.