Friday, June 3, 2011

Limbo is no fun - Will the board choose a new superintendent or are they secretly planning to maintain the status quo?

The AJC is reporting on the progress of several metro school systems searches for new superintendents.  Guess what - DeKalb is going NOWHERE - and now we have some well-placed people (apparently feeling content to speak for others) saying that they think Ms Tyson should continue.  To which we say, No. Absolutely not.

Key dates approach in superintendent searches

[The] DeKalb school board is rebounding from the public collapse of its last attempt to hire a new superintendent.

In March, the board introduced three finalists for the position, but none ended up getting the job. Board conflicts and contract disputes caused top pick Lillie Cox to withdraw from consideration.

Now, the board is trying to figure out what direction to go in next. No one has been formally interviewed since the last round of finalists, Chairman Tom Bowen said.

“Obviously our goal was to have the permanent super in place by July 1, but forcing the deadline isn’t as important as making the right selection,” Bowen said.

Bowen said board members are having more discussions about who they want to pursue for the job. Bowen said the meltdown of the last search hasn't deterred other candidates from applying. Potential applicants have since come forward and expressed an interest in the job, he said, but the district hasn’t decided to reopen the search.

DeKalb parent Marshall Orson, co-president of the Emory LaVista Parent Council, said Fulton and Cobb county schools, which recently completed successful searches for new superintendents, have attracted the kind of high-profile candidates that DeKalb should be looking for.

Orson said he thinks the board should consider keeping Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson for two years to allow her to implement reforms and offer some stability as the Board of Education prepares to downsize from nine to seven in 2013, as mandated by state law.

Still no superintendent --Have you emailed the board?

Refer to our post from 10 days ago and use the email listing to insist that the board address this issue ASAP. All other decisions and all future plans hinge on who we have in place to lead the school system in the next year or two. We simply cannot spend this time in a continuing limbo. Ms. Tyson will not make the changes necessary. She does not have the background in education required to improve the success of our students. She has done an admirable job of steering the ship away from the big rocks, however, it's time to press ahead with a truly experienced captain from someplace else.


Anon said...

Of course, Orson is happy with the status quo. No redistricting for Fernbank and now a new building. A bit obvious, isn't it?

Anon said...

Looks like our board has been politicking again. What will it take for SACs to step in?

Look at the additions to the SPLOST plan --

For the vast majority of student who will be sitting in old, run down schools for the next decade or so, I think the 10 million dollars for Coralwood is the pretty darn offensive.

flayshigs said...

Look at the speed in which Fulton and Cobb made their superintendent selections. How long have we been waiting for a new superintendent in DeKalb? We have serious competency issues with all of our board members. They all know the turmoil our school system is in and yet not one of them shows leadership abilities to spur the rest into focusing on selecting a superintendent capable of remolding our dysfunctional school system.

I think this school system needs a little tax tough love and I encourage all of you to protest your property taxes to send a message to board members that we are tired of their games. Clearly, they ignore us. One thing they pay attention to is that diminishing tax digest.

Anon said...

They didn't even pay attention to the shrinking tax digest -- they do nothing about it, but take it out on teachers.

I won't be voting for SPLOST -- I will deal with the small increase in my property taxes because of no SPLOST, but I will vote NO>

I will tell my neighbors, friends and strangers as well.

This must fail.

Cerebration said...

This is obvious to me. Someone (or perhaps more than one) on the board leaked high level contract negotiations with our final selection for superintendent - completely destroying negotiations and driving her to drop out of contention.

That was horrific - and went virtually undiscussed. In fact, since then, there has been little discussion whatsoever regarding that malicious action or any new candidates.

FURTHER - before that - Tom Bowen wrote a letter against the legislation to reduce the size of the board. He signed EVERY board members signature electronically and had it hand-delivered by a school system employee (not under his command) to the DeKalb delegation.

That has also gone virtually undiscussed or of very little media or SACS interest.

Tom has stated publicly in the past that he thinks Ramona should stay. I would make the leap to conclude that Tom is making certain that happens. Why? I would guess it would be to protect the vast network of friends and family but I have no idea. Anyone?

teacher said...

The email that I received from a board member is that what was happening with the superintendent was confidential. That to me says that they are looking inside or doing nothing. Why not say that they are looking at other candidates or what their plans are?

This entire process has been a fiasco and disgrace. The person leaking the information should be removed from their position whatever that may be.

concerned said...

Why on earth does Dunwoody need ANOTHER new school. They have a new ES, new MS and a big addition on the HS. I smell a disgusting ratty dirty boardmember playing politics. Screw the rest of the county as long and Dunwoody and their boardmember get what they want. VOTE NO TO SPLOST

Fred said...

If the choice is between keeping Ms. Tyson and getting a superintendent just to get a superintendent, I say keep Ms. Tyson. Getting the right person for this job should not be a rush job, just to satisfy disgruntled citizens. The search process should reflect careful consideration of the BEST candidates to lead this district.

We are paying Ms. Tyson a superintendent's salary until June 2012. Having her stay on longer until they best candidate is hired saves from another blog on her salary. The question is, does she want the job?

LaLaMeeka Chadwalli said...

SPLOST will not pass. Time for the feds to step in and take over. Corruption, misdeeds, nepotism, unqualified board members, the list goes on.

Cerebration said...

The point is that we are pretty certain the board is NOT interviewing or bothering to continue searching at all! Tom Bowen is set upon keeping Tyson in place as his actions and public comments show. Someone on the board leaked negotiations with Dr. Cox thereby sabotaging her, resulting in her withdrawing from consideration. When you say, gee, we should stick with Tyson rather than "rush" into anything you are playing into Tom's plan!

Tyson has told everyone I know who has spoken with her that she does NOT want the job. I think it's terrible that our board gave her a full pay contract until June of 2012 - but you could look at it as back pay for the many months she held the job at her former pay.

Once again though, this is a board manipulation - it's passive aggressive actually - to create circumstances that make it appear as if the only (or best) choice is the status quo!

Atlanta Media Guy said...

The question is not if Tyson wants the job. The question should be is Tyson willing to DO her job? The entire inner-circle of Clew remains today. Not one person, even the alleged companion on a trip with the former Super to the Bahamas and Reynold's PLantation, remains on staff. It's ironic this person is in charge of distributing 128 million dollars of Federal Funds to Title 1 schools in DeKalb.

We must remove the current leadership. They have failed! Look at the numbers and you have to wonder how long this can go on? They actually think they are doing good work! Even when the staff lied to their boss, Tyson, which actually happened a few weeks ago when they had lied to her regarding the "found" boxes from the E&Y audit of 2004, and if they had gone through them.

I'm voting NO on SPLOST unless Tyson, Turk, Moseley, Thompson, Mitchell-Mayfield, Tucker, Beasley, Ramsey, the Guilroys, any other friend, family, sorority of fraternity member, or former BOE members family are gone! The gravy train must be derailed and the Palace must be returned to the public. Plus, there must be incredible transparency on this one. No surprises added, like the Palace, etc......

Fred said...

Cerebration, my preference is for the Board to diligently search for qualified and quality superintendent candidates for the school system. They are the elected officials and we can recall them if we need to. The superintendent is an employee of the Board. I don't want to settle. We can discuss recalling Board members if you would like for not being more agressive with this but let's not hold the school system hostage because of that.

I take Ms. Tyson at her word when she says she does not want the job. But deep down, if we needed her and there were no other choices in the short term, she would probably do the job. Everyone knows someone who did a job because it needed to be done, whether they wanted the job or not.

Cerebration said...

I want them to diligently search too! I'm just saying that they don't appear to be doing anything. Maybe secretly, they are working very hard to cull more applicants?

SACS has an October deadline for a new super. I don't think they'd be pleased to learn the board stuck with the interim.

DCSS Teacher said...

We need a person for Superintendent who's experienced in turning around a big, diverse urban school district like ours, not one who is experienced in holding status quo while waiting for such a person. The process should be transparent and stakeholders should have a chance for input. To say that the Board needs "more time" isn't logical--it's not like each day brings new insights into what we need or who's out there to apply. Time for what? It's like when you have a lump in your breast and the doc says "Let's watch it." Time to excise the tumor and move toward health. Going this long without strong educational leadership isn't good for DCSS.

Anonymous said...

I am really upset that the AJC quoted Marshall Orson's opinion but not anyone else. Does he have a personal inside connection to the AJC? I don't know of anyone who would want to keep Tyson for TWO years.

If Tyson promised to get rid of the Beasley and immediately advertise for and hire someone with loads of classroom experience plus experience turning around a large, diverse school system, then she would have my respect.

The Board seems to have completely abandoned any efforts to reform/improve/radically change the academic status quo. Experience has shown (at great taxpayer cost) that fancy new buildings do not enhance learning and academic achievement.

Anonymous said...

Sorry folk, I happen to trust that this Board is in the process of hiring a qualified Supt. but wants to make sure the J.Q. Public does not spoil the wantin input..input..input.
Fulton & Cobb citizens did a better job of letting the Board do its job but in Dekalb we want to run the show without running for the Board.
I plan on staying supportive and positive. I am not sure thatr I can support the next Splost, but either way I get one vote and it will count one way of the other.

teacher said...

The problem is that any new superintendent can't do what they really want until next year. They have to fulfill signed contracts, so people couldn't be let go until next May. Contracts have been signed with America's Choice and other companies, so a new superintendents hands are tied here as well. We need to keep this in mind, if/when someone new comes on the job.

@aquafinanow, I don't trust the board. I am waiting for Beasley or Tyson to be named superintendent. Neither would be a good choice for the kids. The board doesn't ask enough questions when making decisions. They didn't show enough anger about the negotiations with Cox being leaked, or when Sarah threatened a reporter, or when another called himself God. When Turk was praised as being the best at his job, I almost choked-really? Come on. Anyone trusting the current board, shows why our county is the way that it is.

Cerebration said...

@aquafinanow Really? You think this board simply doesn't want the public to know about any potential candidate negotiations? This same board that LEAKED the last negotiations to the press? You TRUST them?

SHS said...

Hey Fred, Aquafinanow, et al ...

We had the right person for the superintendent job -- Dr. Lillie Cox.

There was no rush to decision when the process pointed to Dr. Cox. But, someone on the BOE -- someone who is looking more and more like Tom Bowen -- sabotaged the process. Lillie Cox clearly was about changing status quo. The gravy train that is DCSS could not afford any change in status quo -- the children be damned!

DeKalb County School System is NOT about educating children. It is a front for lining the pockets of friends-and-family.

As long as the people who had to know about Crawford Lewis's and Pat Pope's criminal actions -- i.e., Ramona Tyson, Marcus Turk, Bob Moseley, Ron Ramsey, Felicia Mitchell-Mayfield, Audria Berry, et al -- remain un-indicted, on the payroll, failing at their jobs, yet getting obscene salaries and annual raises -- then we have to assume that the criminal enterprise in DCSS is underground, but alive and well.

And the next superintendent will be someone who can be fully trusted to maintain status quo, keep the gravy train running for the benefit of friends-and-family only and manage the criminal enterprise.

Anonymous said...

Supt.coming soon. Trust the Board will learn from Cobb and Fulton and do the right thing by hiring a Supt.with experience from a large METRO syatem with a proven track record. I hope I don'e have to apologize!!

Anonymous said...

Why go after an unknown whenwe have Ramona Tyson. She has done a masterful job with the mess she inherited and with whatever limited power the Board gave her as Interium Supt.
She doesn't have to "know" instruction. We had a Deputy Supt named Gloria Tally who didn't have a clue about increasing student achievement, Ginny Springer was a "stump speaking joke". WE had Hallford and Freeman who didn't know instruction. A good leader surrounds himself/herself with competent people and let them do the job.

Passionate... said...

Premier DCSS cruise ship hit a huge iceberg with indictments, CRCT cheating, etc. Captain Ramona Tyson ordered life boats to be filled and lowered with our keep us afloat until we are rescued. They are patiently waiting in those boats...waiting to be rescued...waiting for the new DCSS 2011-2012 ship to arrive with a new captain, our new superintendent..waiting for the BOE crew members to take orders from the captain, waiting for the DCSS teachers to educate them... waiting for the adults to protect them from the icebergs ahead. The new 2011-2012 DCSS ship needs to return to shore remembering the bottom line of a successful journey in education: Students need teachers. Teachers need provisions. That is how education started-one person needing to learn something-another person having the skills to teach them what they needed to learn.

teacher said...


Cox did not have enough experience at any of her jobs to run DCSS. The person for the job was Mr. Culver. He would have shaken things up for the kids and not have cared about his reputation, as his heart has been proven to be with what is best for the children. My cousin worked in his district in the Houston Area and said that he always put the kids and their best interests first. He may not have been popular with all, but those wanting the kids to be held responsible and receive a quality education liked him. Cox is too young to have this attitude. She has hopped jobs too often climbing the education ladder. She cares too much about her reputation that rocking the boat is not in the best interest of her job goals.

SHS said...

@ Melaniestef

Please be more specific about the "masterful" job done by Tyson.

Please name the "competent people" that Tyson has surrounded herself with.

BTW -- Dr. Hallford was a high school English teacher who eventually worked his way up to principal and then into the DCSS central office. As deputy superintendent and then superintendent, Dr. Hallford was an experienced educator with a real doctorate who steered DCSS through the shoals of the integration court case to settlement and release from federal court supervision.

Anon said...

I think that the board is gridlocked. I don't think they can agree on even what type of person they are looking for.

I think that some, like Gene Walker, think things are fine and we don't need a game changer.

That is very scary to me.

Passionate... said...

A superintendent should wear four hats, possess four leadership styles; relational [human relations and customer service]; operational [supervisory, i.e. effecting change and managerial]; systems [trust building (coaching and mentoring), systems building]; and the fourth dimension, strategic. A great leader is competent in three areas: personal, professional and technological. Think about what makes a great student leader, a great teacher leader, a great administrator leader at the local school house. We need a great leader for DCSS. Someone who has a knowledge base to surround themselves with top-notch effective staff members to do an impossible job-bring us back full circle-where students exceed standards, where students can justify their answers, explain how they find their solutions. A great leader in education knows education...knows instruction.

SHS said...

@ Teacher

Whether you thought Dr. Cox was qualified or not is completely irrelevant.

The superintendent selection process as defined by the DCSS BOE led to Dr. Lillie Cox. The fact that Tom Bowen and/or someone else on the BOE did not like the probable outcome of the process DOES NOT excuse that person for illegally revealing confidential information and derailing the whole BOE-defined process.

Actually, that kind of behavior is pretty much the definition of a criminal enterprise.

teacher said...


I agree that the point about Cox is mute, however I do not think that the board is incapable of selecting a qualified candidate. They have too much to hide and have to care for their friends and family working in over paid jobs that they do not belong in. I don't trust one board member. I had hopes for the new board members, but they seem to be sheep and follow along with the majority. Our kids are doomed until someone higher up can help them.

SHS said...

@ Teacher

The word is "moot," not "mute."

And, the issue is not moot at all. Because you did not believe that Dr. Cox was right for the job, you indicate that you were okay with the illegal actions taken by one or more BOE members. Would you have felt the same way if Mr. Culver was the finalist?

Wrong is wrong and illegal is illegal.

If you "do not think that the board is incapable of selecting a qualified candidate," then you must believe that they are, in fact, capable.

However, the remainder of your comment does not support the topic sentence in your paragraph. What exactly are you trying to say?

Are you a current, certified teacher for DCSS? What is your field and what grade do you teach?

teacher said...

We are going to get who we get. The board isn't speaking and they do not care what type of person the public wants. We can go to board meetings until we are blue in the face and they are going to do what they want to do. They are going to raise taxes and keep misspending our money.

I do not teach in DCSS anymore. Left because I wasn't teaching and was tired of having uneducated people running our district at all levels.

I agree with you that money is misspent all over the place. I agree that we have too many people at many levels of the district expect in our overly large classrooms. However, I don't see this changing. What happened during the proceedings with Cox was definitely wrong, but it didn't surprise me. The school board members -ALL of them- have not shown that they care about our children for some time. Sarah may care about "her" kids, but she fails to look at the bigger picture and also fails to realize that many of her kids are in failing schools.

There is no pill that is going to solve this. Even a new superintendent will need a few years to straighten things out. Contracts have been signed for employees and to worthless companies for services that we do not really need and/or do not work.
Not sure how we can save this district, but I see it getting a great deal worse before it gets better. I honestly expect Beasley or Tyson to be named our next superintendent. The email that I received from one board member and I sent it to them all, was that what they were doing was secret.

I do not think that the way Cox's negotiations were handled were correct (I agree that what took place was wrong), but I honestly have learned not to expect those running DCSS to be moral or do legal things. I do not trust the people at any level in the district. Very few have the children's best interests at heart.

As long as the board is keeping it's mouth shut about what is happening with the board and people are running their mouths that Tyson is doing a fabulous job than we can expect more of the same in DCSS-which is not good for our children or us in the future.

themommy said...

I actually don't think we are "getting" anyone right now. The Board had no executive sessions last week.

As others have said, they clearly are at a stalemate. I think they are making no real progress.

If the June 30th deadline is met, it will be the equivalent of a Hail Mary pass in sports.

FieldsGrove said...

The DCSS BOE must find a new superintendent from outside of the district soon! While Tyson seems to have performed her duties well in place of Lewis, many voting citizens will not stand for a DCSS insider with any ties, real or imagined, to the old corrupt ways of Lewis, Pope, et al. I am a trusting person, but once one has broken that trust, it is nearly impossible to regain. It will be far easier for me (and perhaps other parents, teachers, and tax-payers, too) to trust an outside superintendent than Tyson or any other DCSS insider. I encourage the BOE to make a wise and swift choice for the good of the students, staff, and citizens of DeKalb County.

pscexb said...

Jay Cunningham and Donna Edler attended Stan Watson's monthly meeting this morning. Both adamantly stated that the superintendent search is ongoing and they consider it a top priority. Jay also commented as another blogger did earlier, they are not going to 'settle' just to meet a timeline, they want to get the right person for this job.

There were a few education insiders at the meeting that shared there was one national candidate that got strong consideration however they got another job offer before they began discussing salary parameters. They believed there were a few additional quality candidates under consideration however none could get consensus support among Board members.

Cerebration said...

Interesting. Thanks for the update, psc. I wonder if this board can possibly ever come to a consensus... hope so.

momofthree said...

FYI - These are the messages I received to an inquiry for an update on the Superintendent Search
The superintendent search is a highly confidential matter. Discussion is prohibited by the rules of executive session. Please be aware that the process is continuing.

Thank you,
Don McChesney
I appreciate your concerns. Please feel free to contact me at (number removed)

Donna Edler
I understand the frustration. I share it. I cannot disclose the discussions in executive session but I can tell you that the superintendent search is continuing. During the time since someone leaked information about Dr. Cox, causing her to withdraw, we have continued to meet and discuss other potential candidates and options.

If you have time for a phone call, please send me your number and we can discuss this matter. (
--Nancy Jester.

-----Original Message-----
Date: Wed, 25 May 2011 22:54:15
As we look forward to the new school year, I have grave concerns about the state of our school system. We have many issues to address, a key one being the hiring of a new superintendent. What is the current strategy?
Are you reconsidering some of the candidates put forward by the recruitment firm? Is a new call for applicants being issued?

This is a course and decision that impacts each of the students, employees and taxpayers of DeKalb County. The lack of information about what is going on with this process is of great concern. I respectfully request that an update be released about the status and timeline of the superintendent search directly.


Cerebration said...

Thanks for sharing those responses, Mom of 3. We are all tired of waiting in limbo. It's good to get a crumb or two!

DeKalb Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.