Central Office Reorg Phase II
Jim Collins, author of “Good To Great”, says that, “leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with WHERE but with WHO. They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.”
On every data point, prior to Dr. Green, Central Office administration was bloated and there was no improvement in academic achievement. Dr. Green is bringing on a new team and restructuring the Central Office as he attempts to bring reform and improvement to DeKalb schools.
ReOrganizations To Date
Phase I – (DEC 2015)
Phase II – (MAR 2016)
Phase III – (APR 2016)
Reorganization – Phase II
||Jennifer Hackemeyer – ( resume) (Chief Legal Officer, Office of Legal Affairs) – For the last 10 years Ms. Hackemeyer has been the General Counsel for the Georgia Department of Education.
||Eileen Houston-Stewart – ( resume) (Interim Chief Communications and Community Relations Officer, Communications) – Ms. Houston-Stewart has been in Missouri since 2007. She worked at Kansas City Public Schools from 2010 – 2015 where she met Superintendent Green.
||Oliver Lewis – ( Oliver Lewis resume) (Executive Director of Professional Learning, Leadership Development, and STEM Program, Curriculum & Instruction) – Mr. Lewis has been with the DeKalb County School District since 1993 where he started off as a substitute teacher. He was a Math & Science teacher and in 2005 was promoted to Principal at Hightower ES. He was most recently the Director of Professional Learning
||Manomay Malathip – ( resume) (Interim Executive Director of Student Advancement, Student Support & Intervention) – Superintendent Green worked with Manomay Malathip at Kauffman Scholars and Kansas City Public Schools.
||Laura Stowell – ( resume) (Director, Charters, School Governance, & Flexibility) – Laura Stowell was the Charter Schools Coordinator at Fulton County Schools for superintendent Robert Avossa from 2008 – 2016.
Focused on accurate financial disclosure and academic achievement of charters.
Reorganization – Phase I
Dec 2015 – DeKalb Schools Central Office Reorganization Part I
||Leo Brown – Dr. Leo Brown (resume) was the Assistant Director of Human Resources for Emory University from 2005 – 2011. He was also the Chief Human Capital Officer for Kansas City Public Schools from 2011 – 2012 where he met Superintendent Green. Dr. Brown will start as DeKalb Schools’ Chief Human Capital Officer in January 2016.
||Vasanne Tinsley – Dr. Vasanne Tinsley (resume) started with DeKalb Schools as a School Counselor in 1994. She was most recently the Director of Support Services and is now being promoted to Deputy Superintendent of Student Support & Intervention.
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What is happening to the employees that were previously in these positions?
It’s up to the Superintendent who to put where in his administration. Some people are gone and some people will be given the opportunity to be successful in a different position in the school district. I believe there are a number of staff changes in the central office that are outside my purview. The senior staff adjustments fall within the purview of the board and are the people I wanted to introduce to the public.
For example Dr. Green is now the Superintendent (obviously) and Michael Thurmond is no longer with the district. Jennifer Hackemeyer replaced Ron Ramsey who is no longer with the district. Laura Stowell is the Director of Charters, School Governance, & Flexibility and replaced Jose Boza who is now in Leadership Development. Leo Brown is heading up HR and replaced Tekshia Ward-Smith who was moved to the athletic department. etc…
This is encouraging. It looks like he is replacing at least 2 people I pushed to replace for years. First, the communications officer, the one hired by Michael Thurmond having been Thurmond’s own former political campaign communications director and who I felt was only there to monitor Thurmond’s reputation in the news. And second, the new HR director actually seems to be a professional with professional HR experience outside of DeKalb schools. HR has been a critical roadblock in so very many ways over the last two decades. Replacing Boza with a more experienced director who is not beholden to anyone is brilliant. And of course, replacing Ron Ramsey was a very important fork in the road for transparency and trust within the district even though Ramsey himself retired in order to take a post as a traffic court judge. I am very encouraged to see what looks like a pretty thorough housecleaning and the hiring of people with much more experience and more professional credentials. Good job Dr. Green. Keep going. It’s good to see that you are unafraid of doing the right thing for students. Now build schools where schools are needed – not where it’s ‘politically balanced’.
ps. I see that Ms. Stewart has experience with branding and introducing new logos. Re-branding could be a very good thing to place high up on her new to-do list. Add to a new logo, a list of core values that everyone celebrates and we may have some branding cohesion. Branding sounds ethereal to many, but in reality, branding done well, is the glue of pride that holds an organization together and a written set of core values point the way forward clearly.
Michael Thurmond and Senator Ron Ramsey were fired and told not to show up on day 1 of Dr. Green’s tenure as Superintendent. Alice Thompson is gone. I have no idea why they kept Tekshia Ward-Smith. Dr. Green isn’t a finance guy, he probably hasn’t sniffed out that CFO Dr. Bell is a crook.
Also, why is Joshua Williams still there? Remember Millini Matheny filed a lawsuit against the district accusing Williams of doing some illegal things. That lawsuit was settled out of court. Matheny was paid, but Williams remains … for now.
Yes, positive much needed changes. So happy to see new HR but don’t understand why she remains in athletics? And Joshua Williams another should be gone. Some rays of hope…
There certainly are a few more toxic, less-than-qualified people who need to go. I would imagine there are some kinds of lawsuits already either pending or threatening to be filed by certain people such as Joshua – perhaps some weird deal was made. These are the most letigious people around. Also, Tekshia long ago claimed to have suffered more or less a breakdown due to stress from the job. Never understood why she didn’t quit if it was ‘too much’. Instead she took a medical leave, as did her predecessor Jamie Wilson. Good to know she’s been relegated to ordering basketballs.
Ramona Tyson is dead weight. She is more or less a highly glorified secretary at this point. Waiting for her retirement bell to ring perhaps – so she can go off and collect her highly inflated pension and double-dip somewhere. Hopefully that bell will ring soon.
SO glad Alice Thompson is gone. She’s the person who told me not to hold my breath when I requested a transfer OUT of Lakeside for my child. How about Morcease Beasley – Johnny Brown’s leftover insider – is he still there?
And no – Dr. Bell is not to be trusted. He is a know-it-all, in my opinion, who will not listen to the people. I remember him talking in circles about his reasoning for budget items. He wouldn’t even listen to other ideas or interpretations. The tax levy for example. He and Thurmond ‘bragged’ that they weren’t raising the rate, but neglected to share that they would enjoy a windfall due to rising property values. The rate was supposed to have been increased temporarily due to the ‘Great Recession’ but it has never been returned to its former millage. And, remember his excuse for not moving extra money into classroom in order to get to 65% spent on students and classrooms? He insisted that if you increased the numerator, you have to increase the denominator and talked gobbly gook about it insisting it couldn’t be done. No – moving money from one place to another doesn’t increase the overall amount of money you have (denominator) – it just increases the percentage spent in one area (classroom) and decreases the percentage spent elsewhere (administrators). It’s not good at all when the budget and spending is so opaque. Budgets are made and voted on, but rarely followed… and certainly not shared openly so that the people can see it – or even the board members for that matter. Will we ever see the check register online?
Which brings up the point about Thurmond’s ‘success’ … basically, for the most part, the economy improved, and the property values recovered. But the district never returned the increase in millage rate they implemented during the recession as an ’emergency’ for the budget. So the windfall accounts for most of the budget’s recovery. This is probably why Thurmond and Bell won’t really share a detailed budget. They would lose bragging rights that ‘they’ saved the school system’s budget. Thurmond did end the legal case and the outrageous amount of money streaming into the bank account of King & Spalding. Probably could have settled with more money returned to the district, as some people predicted we could recover in the $30 million range. Thurmond agreed to a bit over $7 million. But, at least the spigot was turned off. After what – $50 million – are no longer writing enormous checks to the highest priced law firm in Atlanta over a construction case with Heery-Mitchell that began as a half-million dollar claim. That reminds me — not to scratch an old scab but is Dr. Lewis still receiving a pension? I think his deal with Robert James, the DA, allowed him to skirt a conviction that would have denied him his pension. I could be wrong – anyone know? Tony Pope and Pat Reid (Pope) are still in jail. There’s no doubt this was a threesome – but Dr. Lewis was able to slip out of the handcuffs and make a clean break. According to testimony I was given when I wrote for the original DeKalb School Watch blog, Dr. Lewis already knew Pat Reid Pope when he hired her and had been paying her as a ‘consultant’. But he presented her to the board as having found her after conducting a ‘national search’. Something is still very fishy there. We have to be very careful to not ever be fooled like this again. A transparent budget with monthly updates on spending and no ’emergency’ decisions would be good starting points.
I also hope that those administrators who have been replaced are removed from the payroll. If they are allowed to remain, the position to which they are moved should be one that existed, one that is needed, and one that is at least one level lower than the one from which they were removed. As taxpayers, we should not be asked nor expected to pay for redundant positions and the function of the School Board’s members is to insure that is accomplished. The Board can approve or reject the budget that is used to pay these people.
My logic for removing leaders from the payroll is that they were not performing satisfactorily in their position and hence they were not performing satisfactorily at their level of management. If they are to be kept on the payroll, then they should be moved to a level at which they can perform satisfactorily and in an existing position that is also a needed position. We should not allow a bureaucracy bloated by moving people who are not performing into positions created to put them on the shelf and on the payroll. Employment is an agreement between an organization and a person – one says that I will pay you this wage and, in turn, you will perform this job description satisfactorily and meet all performance measures for that position.