Monday, June 13, 2011

Superintendent Search - Setting the record straight

This email was just sent from Nancy Jester's newsletter server -- it went out her constituents and others on her email list. Assuming this is public information, we have taken the liberty of reprinting it here on the blog.

DeKalb Citizens,

I am writing on behalf of the DeKalb Board of Education members Don McChesney, Pam Speaks, Paul Womack and myself.

Unfortunately, on Friday, June 10, 2011, someone leaked information about the superintendent search process to the media. You can view the story by clicking here. The leak included the name of a candidate and violated confidentiality. Had this action not been taken, we would not be writing to you today. Everything that we are writing about is already available to the public.

We are writing because we feel compelled to set the record straight on this candidate. We ran for our positions to do something and not be something. We believe that we must hire a leader from outside of our system. This is not to say that we do not have capable people within our ranks. We have many wonderful employees. Unfortunately, we also have real structural impediments to success combined with a lack of public confidence and a myriad of perception problems.

When we began this process we thought that we were on our way to finding a qualified and dedicated professional. Our search firm provided us with a host of diverse and worthy candidates. As you know, our search has already been plagued by leaks that were purposefully made to undermine the will of the board and caused candidates to withdraw from consideration. This was a great loss for DeKalb from a superintendent perspective and it damaged our ability to attract candidates. We are convinced that the latest leak has made DeKalb radioactive to potential candidates. These actions have damaged the students, employees and the taxpayers of DeKalb County. Furthermore, they have potentially damaged a candidate who did nothing other than graciously accept our invitations to speak with us.

We want you to know that from the beginning, Dr. Duron emerged as our number one choice. It was abundantly clear to us that he had the temperament and experience to lead our district. We independently reviewed his record. We familiarized ourselves with the accountability standards in his state. We examined the population of his students. We read the impressive references that were written on his behalf.

We would like to set the record straight on Dr. Duron's record. His district has seen steady improvements under his leadership. He has even proved creative and resourceful in obtaining grant money for inventive ways to tackle achievement problems and re-purpose once closed schools. We have put together a PDF that you can download from the blog tab of Click here to go directly to the link. You will see that with a significantly poorer district, Dr. Duron has outperformed DeKalb with respect to AYP standards. In DeKalb (2010) we had 5 failing subgroups for AYP as a system. Dr. Duron's district had only 1 sub-group that failed.

There are some members of our board that would have you believe that Dr. Duron isn't a qualified candidate because his district received a label of "academically unacceptable" from the TEA. Please review the website PDF for clarity on this matter. You will note that Texas standards include a completion rate. Districts must track all students even if they leave your district and move out of the state or country. Each district is required to document that a student that leaves is enrolled in school elsewhere. SAISD missed their "completion rate" standard by 9 students that they were unable to locate. Please note that for the academic year that just ended, Dr. Duron's district is projected to meet this standard and receive the "academically acceptable" rating from the TEA. Again, you can see this documented in the PDF on my website.

We ask you to stand with us and support Dr. Duron. He is a qualified professional that will serve and represent our district well. He will bring accountability, ethics and innovation to DeKalb. We cannot wait. Our children cannot wait. If you agree with us, please email the board. Here are their addresses:

Thank you,
Nancy Jester
Don McChesney
Pam Speaks
Paul Womack

Read the following blog posts regarding the leaks on these supposedly highly confidential personnel meetings:

BREAKING NEWS: Cox is Out, Tom Bowen Fails Again, And Ramona May be a Contender
Another board member trips the superintendent search (again?)
Zepora: The Rant


Cerebration said...

BTW - While we are all squabbling over the superintendent search - It looks like the board may have put the T-MOBILE CELL TOWER contract back on the ACTION ITEMS on the agenda for this evening's meeting -- They plan to VOTE on this tonight apparently!

Agenda Item G.5. T-Mobile Wireless Tower Placements

Atlanta Media Guy said...

Do we know how much DCSS plans to make from the T-Mobile deal? Which staffers will be involved with T-Mobile. Why such a hurry all of a sudden? I smell a rat and it's Tom Bowen.

Nice to see the Jester contingent come out for Duron. This process has been a joke throughout, since Tom Bowen is unable to be a true leader and LEAD! I hope Tom resigns his Chairmanship tonight, he has been worthless and as the saying goes, three strikes you're out! Three times this process was hijacked by the "obvious" 5. Tom's leadership has been lacking and it's time we scream from the Palace steps that DCSS = EPIC Criminal Enterprise and is a failure!

Anonymous said...

Here comes SACS. This is the worst thing a Board member could ever do...parttake in a blog. Wow , is this so wrong. Now , we know the 4 who have really been messing this thing up. So soprised that Speaks & Wommack would go down this road.

Gayle said...

@ melaniestef

My understanding is that Nancy Jester sent this email to constituents, not this blog.

I think SACS should be involved because other BOE members have been "leaking" information to the press in order to keep DCSS from hiring anyone but an insider.

Cerebration said...

Yes, I should have clarified that - I reprinted Nancy's email newsletter - it went out to all of her constituents or anyone on her email newsletter list. She did not send it to nor write it for the blog.

Anon said...

SACS should be involved because the process has been a joke for months. I am certain the 4 board members who sent this letter did so because they were desperate.

Anonymous said...

I am really disappointed in Ms. Donna Elder! I thought she would be a welcomed change, but it turns out she is more of the same.
Interesting how Tom and the PR people remain quiet about all the leaks. As Board Chair, he should be outraged and demanding an investigation. Unless he has reason to worry what an investigation may uncover...

Cerebration said...

SACS has not even raised an eyebrow to the destructive, unprofessional behavior of the board members who leaked so much of these superintendent negotiations. I take that as a public symbol that SACS will not take action against this outrageous behavior and so now, the gloves are off.

Decorum be damned - and we have the fake "oversight" of SACS to be thankful to.

Anon said...

Not the PR people's job. Board has sole responsibility for Super search. Bowen on the other hand. What a joke

Marie said...

Really, melaniestef -- REALLY??? The worst thing a board member could do is partake in a blog - which, if you would take some care to READ before you post, you would realize didn't happen in the first place. But SERIOUSLY. That's the worst thing a board member could do???? Worse than leaking details of confidential salary negotiations that harm potential superintendent candidates??? Or facilitating the hiring of their children by the BOE with salaries far higher than those of veteran, CERTIFICATE-HOLDING teachers??? Or verbally threaten a news reporter??? (Zepora's memorable "I'm gonna slug you...")Jester's comments clarify what was published in the AJC after it was LEAKED BY ONE OF THE OTHER BOARD MEMBERS. Listen, we know you want Ramona Tyson to remain as superintendent. But give it up. We will go to war to ensure an OUTSIDER is hired who can rid this district of corruption, cut its ties to the New Birth mafia and clean up the mess that is DeKalb Schools FOR THE CHILDREN'S SAKE.

Marie said...

And as for the cell tower business: the customary rent paid to property owners for towers is $25,000 PER YEAR. Even after some crumbs are thrown to PTA's, DeKalb stands to enjoy a nice little income producing stream of unrestricted dollars.

FieldsGrove said...

@ melaniestef
I don't follow your logic... Are you suggesting that Speaks, McChesney, Womack, and Jester are the ones who leaked confidential information to the press about Cox and Duron, only to come out later publicly supporting Duron? You've got to be kidding. That doesn't make any sense.

Their newsletter to constituents is clearly a reaction to the unethical actions of the BoE members and/or DCSS staff who repeatedly have leaked confidential information to the press (and Zephora Roberts). Somebody wants DCSS to keep failing with the same old business as usual, but it's not these four individuals.

Kudos to them for their courage and bold action. They didn't spinelessly "leak" information anonymously in an effort to manipulate the outcome; They told their constituents exactly where they stand in the search for a new superintendent.

It's clearly a plea for our community to wake up and demand action from the BoE to find a highly qualified educational leader for DCSS NOW. Where are the people who let their voices be heard during redistricting, school closures, and SPLOST promises? You should be emailing you BoE to let them know that it's time for new leadership with Dr. Duron for DeKalb.

Cerebration said...

Before this – we had Zepora Roberts – former board member – go to the microphone last Monday and make a public comment decrying the board’s current choice (she didn’t name him by name at least)… So there’s another leak.

What is it with people who openly chat about these very confidential issues and then blab publicly with no fear of retribution? No one – not SACS, not the governor, not the search firm or the chair of the board has uttered a single word of admonishment for such bad behavior. In fact, it now looks like the DeKalb Chamber (which includes Robert Brown and David Moody – both of whom benefited greatly from DCSS SPLOST projects) and WSB (their surprising BFF Richard Belcher) are complicit! I am befuddled and totally embarrassed of the community I live in. I am shaking my head in disbelief.

Good for Nancy and the others for breaking out of their silence. I guess it was either go public or bite their tongues off completely!

Cerebration said...

Melanie - I simply can't follow your logic. Could you please explain what you mean by these are the "four who have really been messing this thing up"? How have these four messed up the superintendent search? They seem to be the only ones following proper procedure - vetting, interviewing and researching candidates to focus in on the best choice. It seems to me that some of the remaining five are the ones "messing this thing up"... Clearly, they are behaving like children - and when it looks like they aren't going to get their way they go crying to the media to help them! (Obviously, Belcher is all too happy to comply.)

Cerebration said...

As a matter of fact, this case is not even a case of getting their way - they have no other candidate! It's not as if they are advocating for "their guy" - they just seem to be the "Group of NO" - they want things to stay as they are -- with Ramona at the helm. (Didn't SACS give the board a deadline for hiring a new super?)

Anonymous said...

I think that Walker was the leaker. He has the most relatives (3 or 4) to protect.

Bowen must want something from the Walker 4 or be afraid of something. He seems too compliant with the fiasco that is going on. Maybe he is part of it.

Glad to see that Rocky Roberts was back in the ring. I sort of miss her racial rants.

SACS is a joke. It (Elgart) likes the $75k yearly "dues" (hush money?) that it gets from DCSS. Doesn't
an ex DCSS employee work at DCSS? An incestuous bunch of snakes.

Auntie said...

I sent an email to all the members of the board of ed. I am not optimistic that this is anything other than an exercise in futility after the redistricting fiasco of the past winter. All the board members seem to be in somebody's pocket; the only question is whose. Children--shmildren. Education--whatever.

My guess is that the only thing keeping middle class parents of whatever ethnicity in this county is a combination of ignorance of the issues, apathy, and the lousy real estate market.

I should change my handle to Glum, or maybe Eeyore.

themommy said...

Tom wants a minimum of 6 votes for the new superintendent. That is a problem -- it is a problem because we should be able to get it, but we aren't going to be able to and it is a problem that there is no reasoning with anyone.

I will say that maybe Donna Edler will have a change of heart and vote for Duran.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

You'd think after the first episode that Belcher would have told his "source" I can't in good conscience write anything about the current negotiation with Duron. I'm sure the source would have gone somewhere else.

So we have one white woman, Lilly Cox, and a Hispanic man, Duron whose negotiations were leaked to Belcher. Do you sense a pattern here?

Cerebration said...

If Donna truly wanted the school system to move forward for the sake of the children, she would go ahead and endorse Duron. Then Tom would vote along the same and we'd have a 6-3 affirmation.

She really has no idea what it's truly like to endure one of our "regular" schools in some parts of the county. Her children went through the magnet program - she has been isolated. These regular children need a leader who is solely focused on their education.

The fact that John Evans came out publicly to say that his grandson cannot read should be the straw that broke the camel's back. All other issues aside (SPLOST, Budgets, Redistricting, Scandals, Lawsuits...) --- we need leadership who focuses on student outcomes!

Anonymous said...

Does the Chair have the power to withhold a vote until there is a majority he wants rather than a simple majority (besides doing what he has been doing, which is leaking info and intentionally derailing the process)?

If there is 5 votes, so be it. Let's move on.

Unfortunately, I don't think Donna is up to the task. She would be the 5th vote. She seems a little overwhelmed, somewhat uninformed and possibly a little intimidated. I thought she would be a strong leader, but I am afraid she's more of the same.

Perhaps she'll surprise us all. I certainly hope so.

Cerebration said...

No - obviously, Tom is the 5th vote. But he isn't 'comfortable' with a 5-4 vote, so until someone else crosses over, he is holding them all hostage by not voting with the other 4. Doesn't matter that he's chair - he would work this way if he wasn't chair.

But, as chair, I would think he could lead a meeting that would have direction, relevant discussion, note-taking, perhaps diagramming or listing bullet (Pros and Cons) on a white board, etc. He doesn't appear to be doing this. He is a wimpy leader, IMO.

Anonymous said...

Marie Etc.
Anytime you have a Board member writing a public letter about Board business which should have occurred in Executive Session is a PROBLEM. Anytime, you have the SAME 4 Board meembers always voting together --- It's Block voting whether is is along party lines, race or sex.
To set the record straight, I am not a Tyson fan , but I do think she has done a great job with whatever power the Board gave her. She didn't ask for it and it must have been a huge family sacrifice.
It takes 5 votes to get a Supt. So if there are 5 votes, what' the problem... Go for DuRand.
However, if you don't move on and find a great Supt. ( and some are out there).
Don't be so easy to throw stones unless you have proof of leaks. Everybody knows who comes in for interviews if they have eyes. You have employees on both ends who book flights, make hotel arrangements etc., attorneys etc. Get real...everybody ain't stupid. And please let's get a competent Supt. void the racism and is only interested in educating all of the children. We can not continue to let Fulton, Clayton, Cobb and yes Atlanta hire top notch candidates while we deal in troublesome, questionable supt. candidates. Our kids deserve more and WE are a big part of the problem.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

We the problem,? really? How so? We only have 3 minutes per citizen to have a voice at meetings. We also get to vote for BOE members. WE tried to expose the corruption for years, only to be shut down by these BOE members and others. I've been threatened with arrest for telling the truth at a DCSS function, have you? I was even respectful! Too bad the DCSS police were not.

I guarantee you, unless the new Super is black, everything the new Super tries will be racist. Just wait when the Guilroys, Jamal Edwards, Zepora's daughter and others get the axe. You'll have Francis Edwards, former BOE Chair and Zepora, former BOE member screaming racism, it's what they do!

WE are not the problem, Tyson, Turk, Moseley, Thompson, Mitchell-Mayfield, Berry, Beasley, Ramsey, Tucker and the friends and family members are the problem. We're on for the ride with hopes someone inside the Palace will start blowing the whistle on these frauds. The numbers speak for themselves, there is no improving going on right now in DCSS, if there was don't you think we'd be hearing about the successs?

Cerebration said...

Well, one thing's for sure, whoever leaked the details about Cox's contract certainly WAS in the meeting!

Stnuocca said...

Let's follow this logically with our rational mind:

1. SACS is threatening Dekalb Schools with loss of accreditation, right?

2. SACS is advising Dekalb Schools on steps to take to maintain accreditation, right?

3. Do we know if SACS is advising for or against Dr. Duron?

4. The Texas equivalent of the Georgia DOE is threatening Dr. Duron's San Antonio Independent School District with some kind of warning or probation, right? See link:

Dr. Duron's San Antonio Independent School District School Board has handed Dr. Duron a vote of non-confidence, right? See link:

Why are we then blindly going hog-wild for Dr. Duron?

We should appoint a super soon, this summer, maybe even a tough "old" interim to clean things out but we need to use our heads.

As Newt Gingrich said, I paraphrase, we should not put up with extremism from either the 4 BOE members or the 5 BOE members.

Stnuocca said...

We should appoint a super soon, this summer, maybe even a tough "old" interim to clean things out but we need to use our heads.

Old and comfortably retired superintendent from a far away State on his way to the Florida or Arizona pastures. Hire him or her on a 1 year contract renewable for 1 more year AND no more.

Stnuocca said...

An old Northern Federal judge type person....

Gayle said...

"To set the record straight, I am not a Tyson fan , but I do think she has done a great job with whatever power the Board gave her."

Please provide a link to the student achievement improvement figures under Ms. Tyson. Ms. Tyson is only successful if she improves student achievement, the only reason DCSS exists.

What has Ms. Tyson done to improve student achievement? Has she let go of admin and staff personnel in order to preserve teachers who directly instruct students and ensure they are mastering educational content?

Has she asked EVERY cost center to tie their jobs to increased student achievement and support of the members of the classroom (students and their teacher)?

Has she set meeting the needs of the classroom above jobs preservation for non-teaching personnel?

Ms. Tyson has made many difficult decisions, and so far she has maintained the status quo. That's not moved our students' academic achievement forward. Her failure to understand that student achievement is the #1 priority says that she should not be our permanent superintendent. Ms. Tyson does not understand DCSS's core mission of educating EVERY student.

Cerebration said...

Apparently, the NAACP even believes that jobs are more important than children ---

NAACP Should Support Poor Children, Not Status Quo

Gayle said...

@ Cerebration

The Wall Street Journal would not be my pick as public education supporters, and I care little for NAACP beliefs since they are not in the classroom instructing students on a daily basis. Students and the challenges of effectively instructing them is not written in black and white. Nor do I think charter schools will solve all of our educational ills. The resources for an excellent public education are there - our students and teachers. We need strong, ethical, academically focused leadership to go to the next level.

Empowering teachers and involving parents is critical for student success. DCSS needs a fresh start. Making the needs of the classroom members - a teacher and his/her students - the top priority is the missing ingredient in the DCSS educational mix.

September said...

What bothers me about this whole situation is that a member of the school board is trying to control the outcome of the superintendent search by leaking information to the public.

Zepora Roberts should not know anything about the search process or the most recent candidate. When she made her comments at the meeting last week, it was obvious that she had confidential information about the superintendent search. This is wrong. Very wrong.

I would like to know who is providing the information to the media. This person isn't a whistleblower. This person is sabotaging the selection process. That is the story the media should be reporting on.

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely correct, Ms. Tyson gas not put forth aplan to increase student achievement and I did not say she had. I said she had done an exceptional job with the "authority the Board probably gaveher". Inheriting an Interium Supt.PRIOR to Lewis' permanent leave, dealing with a eficit budget which involved pay cout a nd furlough days ( including her own), Dekalb's leader indictments, SACS on the verge of declaring "probation", an Associate Supt. in Inst.(Associate Gloria Tally)...whom CLweis was afraid to fire. Yes, the one who hired America's Choicd and made Berry pay for it ( no defense of Berry): Bookgates;Test cheating .
Yes, I think Tyson has been great holding this ship in the road.

Gayle said...

@ melaniestef

The one fact you have left out is that Ms. Tyson was Mr. Lewis's right hand person - one of only 4 direct reports. She was in charge of Business Operations including Human Resources and Finance. Ms. Tyson is honest, but she has not right sized the most costly portion of DCSS - personnel. Personnel account for 90+% of the DCSS budget. Ms. Tyson has cut teacher positions and increased class sizes for thousands of students while preserving virtually all jobs outside the schoolhouse. Her most important job should be ensuring the success of the core mission of DCSS - educating students. That's why I would say she is too much of an insider and too involved in preserving the status quo.

If you are aware of substantial cuts in personnel outside the schoolhouse, please share those facts with us.

Anonymous said...

The number one reason we cannot leave Ms. Tyson in place as Interim Superintendent (or Superintendent) is that she does not feel she has the power or the authority to hire a permanent Director of Instruction (or Teaching and Learning) or whatever the title du jour is. This is the MOST important position next to the Superintendent.

Beasley is inexperienced, ineffective and has absolutely no respect from the teaching professionals.

I presume the administration has not started a search for a permanent replacement for this position because they felt that the new superintendent should have substantial input into that hire. We CANNOT go another 17 months with Beasley in this interim position. That alone is sufficient reason for the Board to hire Duron.

pjacobi said...


Agree, I don't think the support for Jester is necessarily blind endorsement of Duron. I find the sabotage of the board's hiring process extremely childish and unprofessional. The status quo now seems to be that if you don't like a candidate, leak that they are in talks with the DCSS, they look bad back home in their local district, and we look like fools. They'll back out. You get your way through manipulation.

Its the sabotage of the process that has people angry.

Cerebration said...

@travelingjoe -- It was Tyson who hired Beasley as Interim Assoc Superintendent of Teaching and Learning. She really has no instructional gifts. She did do a good job managing the cheating, 'Bookgate', the budget and certainly redistricting. She's much better at the numbers and buildings etc. Instruction -- teaching and learning -- not so much.

themommy said...

I think she was pressured into hiring Beasley. Anyone from S. DeKalb have any insight as to why certain board members were/are so enamored with him?

Stnuocca said...


He wrote an opus about turning around schools.

--Anyone up for a Federal Retired judge with a contract expiration date?

Stnuocca said...

Will we ever know the answers to these question:

Did Mrs. Tyson really clean out his office?

Who are the candidates being considered along with Dr. Duron?

What is SACS suggesting about Dr. Duron, ye or nay?

Dekalb Schools needs a new sheriff right away...

If passionate surgeons perform surgery; passionate astronauts fly in space even when their spouse has a bullet in the head; and passionate teachers is it that any school superintendent or administrator be called passionate when they run away from the classroom or schoolhouse?

Stnuocca said...

typos:questionS, HER office.

Getting ready to go perform surgery passionately--Talk to you tonight!

Anon said...

Cellphone towers were pulled from the agenda last night.

Gayle said...

Below is a direct link to the academic performance record for Duron. It’s contrasted with Ms. Tyson’s (and to be fair Lewis’s) academic performance record. Posters can see for themselves why BOE members who are concerned with student progress are so interested in this candidate. Academic progress is the ONLY reason a school system exists:

Susan Curtis said...

The rumor is that SACS is urging the BoE to wait on hiring until the BoE can get a better than 5-4 vote. I'm beyond disappointed at SACS lack of response to DCSS. I have heard several BoE members are not satisfied with Dr. Duran because he is not black. Until this county gets beyond the color of a person's skin and deals with the content of his character (thank you, Dr. King), I do not believe that DCSS will improve. I vote NO for SPLOST until we have leadership that hires an effective, honorable instructional leader from outside. I have never voted against school funding before in my life. I will be urging my neighbors to vote against SPLOST 4 also. Sadly, I believe that holding SPLOST 4 hostage until the BoE hires an outsider may be the only way to make the BoE behave in the best interests of our children and schools.

On another note, I applaud Ms. Jester and her fellow writers for releasing the additional information about Dr. Duran. He sounds like an outstanding superintendent. What a shame that our BoE couldn't have hired him - and what a shame that someone on the BoE chose to undermine another hiring by leaking the information. The deliberate destruction of this only helps those who want to separate from Dekalb County.

Anonymous said...

@ The Mommy, Beasley is also a preacher. He spoke at my school and generated quite a few "amens." His style fits with the image that the board embraces.

I have to say that as a teacher, his continuing to be part of the DCSS leadership is the single most demoralizing aspect of this whole mess.

Gayle said...

"The rumor is that SACS is urging the BoE to wait on hiring until the BoE can get a better than 5-4 vote. I'm beyond disappointed at SACS lack of response to DCSS.'

To let SACS know how you feel about waiting for a 6 to 3 decision on the new superintendent, email and/or call Mark Elgart:

Dr. Mark Elgart
AdvancED (SACS/Casi)
9115 Westside Parkway
Alpharetta, GA 30009

Or Call -
888.41ED NOW (888.413.3669)

Anonymous said...

ATL says: "Academic progress is the ONLY reason a school system exists:"

In the normal school system that would be true. But this is diverse (code word) and inclusive DeKalb County. It, like many other school systems in "diverse" locations is for the purpose of being a vehicle to create and maintain jobs and to transfer taxpayer money to these employees and favored contractors and suppliers. All show the same results... wasted resources and poor performance.

Stnuocca said...

With all appropriate respect, in addition to academic progress, schools exist to perform many other functions in order turn the K-12 youth of our nation into functioning adults of as high a degree as is possible.

Sadly for teachers (not administrators who have sold out)only the academic progress seems to evaluated often at the detriment of all other aspects of education.

What we have is a confluence of opposite symbiotic forces operating as we educate children.

All of these nefarious forces profit from the resulting chaos to make money (Collegeboard, test makers, educational publishers), some to gain elective office ( W. Bush, Obama), others to make a small fortune (superintendents), some to unilaterally re-engineer society (Bill Gates, Eli Broad), and others to provide high income/low work employment for friends and family (BOE's all over the USA)

Trouble is, we, the gullible and easily divided public take the bate..And how we run with it!

Imagine if some entity (State or Federal) declared that any defense lawyer who lost a death penalty case could no longer practice?; if any medical doctor who lost a patient to cancer or to a high speed accident could not practice?; and if any paramedic who failed to resuscitate a Lake Lanier drowning victim who had been under water for 20 minutes could not work in emergency services??

Would that be OK?

Anonymous said...

@ Cerebration.

My point (perhaps not clear) is that Ms. Tyson only feels she can hire an "interim" Director of Curriculum, not advertise for and hire a permanent replacement for Talley. Thus by leaving Tyson in office as an interim superintendent for another one or two years (gasp), our teachers and students may be stuck with Beasely. This is simply untenable.

Stnuocca said...

Did we misplace my 5pmish post to: ATL says: "Academic progress is the ONLY reason a school system exists:"?

themommy said...

Atlanta has announced their top 3 candidates for superintendent. (No leaks!)

I am surprised that none of them are superstars on the national stage. Perhaps this is intentional as the situation with Hall didn't work out so well.

Anyway, all come from really large systems or have had ample experience with large systems.

Anonymous said...

Not much diversity in the APS finalist. While they all may be very good candidates there are politics at play here. Good luck to APS and the students.

Cerebration said...

All three candidates for APS are graduates of the Broad Superintendents School. Interesting.

This is what the Broad Foundation has to say about the job of a superintendent:

The superintendent is responsible for the education of every student in the district. Additionally, the superintendent oversees the budget, curriculum and instruction, human resources, labor relations, facilities and community relations. The superintendent must develop a vision and strategy that encompass all of these elements and must engage a number of stakeholders—district staff, teachers, parents and the greater community—to do what is best for students.

With this incredible challenge also comes an incredible reward—the chance to improve the lives of children. To be an urban superintendent means the opportunity to change the lives of some of the 6,000 students who drop out of high school every day, it means the opportunity to improve the lives of some of the 70 percent of eighth-graders who do not read at grade level and it means the opportunity to help end the crisis in America’s public schools and make sure every child is prepared for college, employment and a productive life.

Yep. Can we find someone who embodies all that? Has anyone ever met anyone who embodies all that?

No - schools have become the next BIG business - with big contracts to be let out and lots and lots of high-paying jobs to fill. Sadly, very, very little attention is focused on the children.

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with the lack of diversity in the APS candidates. If these are the best three, so be it. Actively seeking to vary the race of candidates sounds great on the surface but is ultimately just another form of racism.

Gayle said...

I don't think this is a diversity concern. Most large urban school systems are majority African-American so it follows that administrative personnel would be African-American who climbed the ranks in those systems.

Posters keep clamoring for superintendents who have experience at the top of school systems comparable in size to DeKalb. The law of averages says that superintendents at the helm of schools systems that size will be African-American. Looking for a white or Hispanic candidate who is the superintendent or very high ranking administrator of a system the size of DeKalb really narrows the field and IMHO is discriminatory.

The nepotism and cronyism that we have seen under Lewis and his cohorts did not begin with him and has nothing to do with race. DeKalb has had this problem for decades (yes - with white superintendents) although Lewis carried it to new heights. Brown (African-American) tried to reverse it, but the "DeKalb Way" did not allow him to continue his reforms. Such is the entrenched power structure (put in place by white superintendents). The economic meltdown just exposed this system of patronage that has existed for decades as it became more and more difficult to "hide" the admin and support bloat.

IMHO, the race or gender of the superintendent does not/will not make a whit of difference. Factually, it has not made a difference in the past so why would anyone think it would in the future.

Again IMHO I think it matters not if we have a particular race or gender or even a superintendent from a large school system. DCSS needs a reformer with solid classroom experience combined with business acumen. Do we want someone who is good with budgets, but knows nothing about educating children? Conversely do we want someone who is passionate about educating children, but knows nothing about finance? Finding a leader who can combine the attributes of academic and financial competence is critical to the success of our students.

Does Duron have a substantial amount of successful classroom experience and in addition, has he demonstrated he understand budgetary constraints? Is he a reformer who can take on an entrenched bureaucracy? If he can do this, he has my support.

Cerebration said...

Duron is history. Not up for debate anymore. The point is -- the board "leaked" info on the white and Hispanic candidates in order to sabotage the negotiations... that to me is the racial issue.

Obviously, there are very well-qualified black superintendent candidates -- Atlanta found THREE! What's up with our search firm that they couldn't find these people? If the majority of the board is hell-bent on a black leader (and actually, there are reasons I wouldn't argue that thought) - then by jove - go and get one!!!

This "stick with Tyson" idea is a bad deal for kids.

Anonymous said...

Once this entire process is over, I want to know if the finalists for Cobb, Fulton and APS applied to DCSS. If yes, why did they not make the cut.

I agree with Cere that the DCSS search firm should have come up with these candidates. Maybe DCSS is so tainted that they did not want to apply.

Anonymous said...

A good leader does not have to have educational experience. A good leader hires qualified competent people and sees to it that they get the job done. But is hiring qualified competent people possible in DCSS?

Gayle said...

I respectfully disagree. I have both extensive business experience as well as years of educational experience. Both are invaluable when assessing the Return on Investment for an educational system. Understanding the needs, challenges, and parameters of the classroom members (the teachers and his/her students)is paramount in the decision making process.

Stnuocca said...


You nailed it. Leadership is what it takes.

That is the logic they used in hiring all these football coaches with PE degrees and marching band directors as principals and high administrators! Rock on!!

themommy said...

We know that Cox applied to Cobb. There are a variety of rumors about how far she got.

The superintendent from Dallas wanted to relocate to Metro Atlanta because one of his children is expecting his first grandchild. That child lives in DeKalb, so may have warned his father off.

No idea about the women from Atlanta. Atlanta Schools seems to have an "obsession" with both Broad and Gates and so it is hard to know if their parameters limited their search to only Broad graduates. If so, their firm would have had to go out and get those folks to apply.

themommy said...

The superintendent from Dallas, who is the new guy in Cobb,

left that detail out

Gayle said...

Read Maureen Downey's new post:
"Get Schooled
Is DeKalb radioactive? Is the problem the school system’s size or its management?"

SHS said...

I no longer read Maureen Downey's "Get Schooled" blog.

Maureen Downey was and is part of the problem at DCSS. Downey and her supervisors came out strongly in favor of that shopworn Richard Belcher and the "story" he broadcast about Dr. Cox -- completely missing the REAL story: that legally required confidentiality concerning personnel negotiations had been breached, illegally.

It has now happened twice more for a total of three illegal "leaks."

The AJC and WSB, not to mention Maureen Downey and Richard Belcher, still have not seen fit to cover the real story. Do they take their marching orders from old buddy Jeff Dickerson or from New Birth? Who is really running the news divisions of WSB and the AJC?

Move over, Richard Belcher. Maureen Downey is looking pretty shopworn, herself.

becky said...

It's PUBLIC money what are you hiding???