Tom McFerrin, Dunwoody HS Principal, Is OUT

Dunwoody HS Principal Tom McFerrin says he’ll be leaving Dunwoody HS and moving to a job in the central office as Career Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) coordinator.
.pdf link icon DeKalb Schools 2016-2017 Organizational Chart (Org Chart)
According to the latest org chart, Mr. McFerrin will be moving to the CTAE Department with the other specialists and coordinators. The specialists and coordinators report to Director of CTAE (Delmas Watkins), who reports to the Executive Director of Student Advancement (Manomay Malathip), who reports to the Deputy Superintendent of Student Support and Intervention (Vasanne Tinsley), who reports to the Superintendent.
Mr. McFerrin took the reigns at DHS in August 2014. During his tenure as Principal, 100+ students each year have come back to the high school from private school.
Since 2014, DeKalb CCRPI Trends show DHS going from a CCRPI score of 73 in 2014 to a score of 93 in 2016. Peachtree Charter MS is the only school that feeds into DHS. During the same time period, Peachtree’s CCRPI scores have gone from 80 down to 78.
What are your thoughts about this move?

Tom McFerrin Dunwoody

From: Principal Tom McFerrin
Dunwoody High School Principal 2014 – 2017

My journey as a Dunwoody High School Wildcat began as a student, then a teacher, a coach, an assistant principal, and now as your principal. Therefore, after working in the Dunwoody cluster for twenty-two years, it is with a heavy heart that I inform my Dunwoody family about my departure as principal of Dunwoody High School. While I will always feel connected to this community, I am taking advantage of an opportunity to serve Dunwoody High School and the DeKalb County School District as a Career Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) coordinator.
With my teaching experience and expertise in career education, this new role is an exceptional opportunity that will broaden my leadership experience in the district. I am excited about this new position, and I am pleased to be able to impact not only the continued success of the Dunwoody cluster of schools, but all of the schools in the DeKalb County School District.
I will remain in my current role as principal of Dunwoody High School until a replacement has been appointed. Parents of currently enrolled DHS students will have an opportunity to provide input on their preferred leadership attributes through a survey that will be delivered through Infinite Campus. If your Infinite Campus email address needs to be updated, please contact the attendance office by email at before Tuesday, August 1, 2017.
I will forever cherish the relationships I have built with the students, staff, and community over the years and I will continue to be involved on some level because Once a Wildcat, Always a Wildcat.
Thank you for the support you have given me. I’ll be around, so stay in touch!
Go Wildcats!
Tom McFerrin

27 responses to “Tom McFerrin, Dunwoody HS Principal, Is OUT

  1. What is the CTAE dept? But, unless it has football and tons of coaches drawing X and O’s , I can’t see how McFerrin could fit in. So, who is the principal for Dunwoody? Parents are going to raise hell, camp out and light bonfires! Wow, what is life without McFerrin and family football in Dunwoody/Peachtree????Ugh. Please, no blue-eyed blondes as principal at Dunwoody. I would actually like to see Nancy Jester offered a small fortune (say, $950.000 or double that) to run Dunwoody. And, baby, that school would work like no school in DeKalb has for many, many years.

  2. Stan
    It is on Dunwoody School Daze Blog. That is how I found out about it. You see my point. It is better to just announce something than to let people find out bits and pieces. I also appreciate Nancy. You two please hang in there.

  3. Well now that’s a bummer.

  4. Stan Jester

    According to the school district …
    Career Technical Agricultural Education (CTAE) is the cornerstone for preparing students to be “College and Career Ready.” CTAE integrates core academic knowledge with technical and occupational skills to prepare students for post-secondary education and the workforce. The aim of the program is to show students the relevance of what they’re learning in the classroom, whether they plan to attend a two-year college, a four-year university, enter armed services or go straight into the world of work.
    The CTAE curriculum is based on a set of common knowledge, skills and abilities which prepares students for various opportunities. These opportunities include but are not limited to advanced curriculum, dual enrollment, work-based learning, career awareness, career development and employability skills.
    DeKalb School’s CTAE programs allow students to choose an area of interest in high school from the 17 career clusters listed below. Each cluster includes multiple career pathways.

  5. The FY18 Approved Budget shows that the Dunwoody HS principal makes $108,897 + benefits.
    I wonder if a CTAE Coordinator makes more than that. Ms. Malathip, 2 levels above Mr. McFerrin’s new position, makes $116,712 + benefits.
    I don’t blame Mr. McFerrin for wanting to try something new. I believe in CTAE, and I have seen strong evidence through the years that the CTAE Central Office function really supports the schools and isn’t in an ivory tower out on Mountain Industrial. I wish him well.
    But, wow, the salaries!

  6. What the hell do all the people in the org chart actually DO?
    Geez – talk about a bloated organization.

  7. So when someone is good and can make a difference, move him/her as far away from actual students as possible. I also don’t blame him for wanting more, but why not pay him what he’s worth to keep around; And 100K is not too much. Being a Principal and a successful one is worth the $$.
    Just to clarify, all 2/4 schools getting a major renovation and an increase in student bodies will have new Principals! Not to mention LSH Principal comes with only 1 year of experience.
    Way to reach for the stars DeKalb!

  8. Stan Jester

    Central Office Reorg Phase II

    Manomay Malathip Manomay Malathip  (.pdf link icon  resume) will be McFerrin’s boss’ boss.
    Superintendent Green worked with Manomay Malathip at Kauffman Scholars and Kansas City Public Schools.
    2012 – 2016 – Program Director at Kansas City Public Schools
    2008 – 2012 – VP Program Management at Kauffman
    2004 – 2008 – Life Coach at Kauffman
    2002 – 2004 – Advisor at DeVry University
  9. sent via Facebook
    This move makes no sense to me. You give up being captain of a battleship to become a staff officer on base? (Or should I use a Star Wars analogy—he is becoming a storm trooper officer on the Death Star?) He may have good personal reasons for making this move. If so, then I applaud him and wish him well. It is very hard work being a high school principal at a school like Dunwoody. But something does not feel right here….

  10. Bob Freeman

    sent via Facebook
    I think this announcement has nothing to do with Peachtree Charter MS….not sure why that info is thrown out. This is a big loss for not only Dunwoody HS but the Dunwoody community…we have big problems in the entire system when the plum jobs (and corresponding pay) are not centered in the schools where the students are.

  11. Congratulations! Tom. You will serve well in that position with your level of success and leadership in education.
    @Stan, please address the hierarchy. Look at every employee under Manomay Malathip and justify her position. Why is CTAE removed from Curriculum &Instruction?

  12. Ingrid Gero

    So, I have given this a lot of thought. First off, let me start by saying that I ADORE Tom McFerrin. I do. He was a 7th-grade science teacher at Peachtree when I met him, and he had infectious energy then… just like he does now.
    However, to pin CCRPI scores on one person downplays the tremendous amount of work that happens at our 6 feeder schools, at PCMS, and the work that the teachers and staff at Dunwoody High School put in every day.
    People started coming back to Peachtree several years ago. This growth started long before Dunwoody. We are busting at the seams, with one set of single wide trailers for one 8th grade team, and three pods. We do everything we can to prepare our students for success at Dunwoody, all while they are transitioning at the most awkward times of their lives. They are goofy, going through puberty, starting to focus on their peers, and all the while, we teach them to be ready for high school.
    When they get there, they not only have McFerrin, but they have Andy Jameson and Dave Johnson… and other AP’s that I do not know. I have not worked with Mr. Jameson, but I can tell you that Dave was second to none, and I was proud to vote for him as PCMS Teacher of the Year when he was there.
    Peachtree has lost amazing teachers to the high school… Rose Abraham, Lisa Magness Kanesha King, Ted Ward, and Peggy Moler Bussert to name a few. There are names that have been there forever. There is Steve Fortenberry, Ellen Augustine, Alan Ritchey, Keyin Travis, Mike Berry, and Mary Sturken… just to name a few.
    These people are the dedicated teachers behind the scenes, making Dunwoody what it is. My students have RAVED about Erik Vincent and Adrienne Rowe, Rand Wise, Mr, Simony… all who have left. Yet, the school has thrived.
    Think about what makes a school a school. It is not ONE person, but a community of people who care. There are the teachers, the students, the paras, the secretaries, the parents… and they all play such a vital role in what makes Dunwoody what it is. I am sad that Tom is leaving. I was hoping he would be there forever… or at least until my child graduated. That is not meant to be.
    If the community has ideas, PLEASE SHARE THEM. Give your voice to the process. In the meantime, know that Dunwoody will continue to thrive and grow because you have a tremendous staff that loves kids. Hopefully, Tom’s legacy will be one that carries on with the foundation he set. Have faith. I know that this comes so close to the beginning of school but know… the TEACHERS will be ready on August 7. Tom will be there to welcome them in and set the tone. Our community will continue to thrive. Have faith.

  13. Nancy Jester

    I didn’t see any statement that gave credit or blame to one person regarding test scores. The data does seem to drive the question. The delta in the trajectory and the results is just so significant while the student population is virtually the same. Clearly the team at DHS is working well. The leader of this successful team is being moved. PCMS has some amazing teachers. My children have been in their classroom. Ingrid is certainly one of the best! I only wish that the leadership, staff support, and school climate were as high performing as these great teachers.

  14. Ingrid Gero

    My point is that the comment can be attributed to many different factors, not just leadership.

  15. Nancy Jester

    Ingrid, I hear you. I agree that many factors are at play in creating success. Great leaders without great teachers won’t be successful. Great teachers without great leadership won’t be optimally successful. It takes both.
    The data still drives the question. Why are the trajectory and results so different? Is this typical? Do other clusters see these types of variances between MS and HS? What about clusters in the metro and statewide? What are the variance trends nationally? I hope we’re not afraid to ask those questions. Getting answers will help everyone understand where we are and inform how we might improve.

  16. @Nancy Jester, Are you referring to the big difference between 2016 CCRPI scores for Dunwoody HS (93.4) and PCMS (78.8)?
    One big reason for this difference is how Physical Science is handled in CCRPI calculations.
    PCMS’ CCRPI Achievement score for Physical Science is 6.614 points out of 10.
    DHS’ CCRPI Achievement score for Physical Science is almost double that, at 13 points out of 10. And Dunwoody HS doesn’t even teach Physical Science!
    How can this be?
    Well, the Dunwoody HS CCRPI Achievement score for Physical Science is based totally on the self-selecting, high-achieving PCMS 8th graders who took the high school version of Physical Science. (Actually the high school scores are from the prior year middle school scores, but that’s TMI.)
    Dunwoody HS is judged based only on scores from this group of self-selecting, high-achieving 8th graders. (In 2016 115 of the 473 PCMS 8th graders, or 24%, took the high school version of Physical Science.)
    PCMS is judged based on scores from ALL of its students who take Physical Science as 8th graders. 76% of PCMS 8th graders take the 8th grade version of Physical Science. Their scores are combined with the 24% who took the high school version of Physical Science to get the PCMS score.
    This difference percolates through the other CCRPI categories (Progress and Achievement Gap).
    IMO, the difference in CCRPI scores might be more about how the game is played rather than true academic differences between DHS and PCMS.

  17. DSW2Contributor

    @Anonymous’s July 27, 2017 at 4:29 PM: Coordinators in the Palace are a level below Principals, so Mr. McFerrin’s move is a demotion. However, I applaud him for making this move, for work/life balance reasons — as a Coordinator he will actually be able to see his family once in a while!
    I believe we will be seeing other successful Dekalb Principals leaving as well. I can’t blame them: when your boss (Dr. Green) delays offering you a contract until late summer, then fires several of your highest performing peers for stupid reasons, you have to figure out an exit strategy for yourself.
    Stan, please suggest to the rest of the board that it should start the obligatory “national search” for a Superintendent *NOW*. The board and community need to be considering Superintendent candidates before Dr. Green’s contract is up. Let’s skip the year of an “Interim” superintendent, please!

  18. Chamblee Parent

    Green has done such stupid things. I hate to look at the list! Right! Stan, you will have to initiate the start of finding someone who can help DeKalb. Let me ask, would you be willing to take the job? Because, if so, I know hundreds of people who would love to support you.

  19. Stan Jester

    One board member can’t do it alone. The board would have to decide to initiate a search. I don’t think I, McMahan or Orson could get appointed to chair of the board … much less Superintendent.

  20. Dunwoody Parent

    Well, we shall see. It’s disgusting watching Melvin horsing around with his garage and all the other years of grabbing every penny in sight – leasing, selling, buying, and lying. If you can stomach his “soft” voice, patronizing manner, and mincing pranch of a walk, gag, oh, gag.

  21. Mcferrin, when applying for the principal job at DHS, met with school council and committed to stay at DHS for a decade if he got the job. After just a couple years he is gone. The ever growing school population and the construction project were MAJOR factors for him. He is leaving as DHS peaks academically. It’s all down hill from here, but not because of Tom’s departure. When school council at Dunwoody refused to ask for rezoning it was the end of the line for mcferrin. look at the timeline of his interview for new job and it ties directly to the new school council’s action(s).

  22. At today’s BOE work session, Stan asked about using the HYA national search firm to find the next Dunwoody HS principal. The response was positive, though I don’t think they definitely committed to that.
    HYA was also used to find the current Lakeside HS principal.
    What is the policy for using a national search firm vs. just advertising the position on the DCSD website for 10 days? (The Interim HCM Chief said that was the typical process.)
    Chamblee Charter HS needed a new principal in 2015 and again in 2017. No national search was done for them, or for Lithonia HS. I believe that Tucker HS also has a new principal who was hired without using a national search firm.
    There needs to be a clear policy for this. When does a school get the benefit of a proactive, national search by a professional firm vs. the passive 10-day job posting on PATS?

  23. “HYA” (Hazard, Young, Attea Executives Search Division) assists the school district in filling some positions. There is no policy that triggers the use of this firm. The Superintendent makes a subjective decision based on the expected difficulty in filling a particular position. Given the time of the year, it is expected that filling the DHS principal position will be more difficult than filling it over the Summer. I expect the Superintendent to seriously consider engaging HYA to fill the principal position at DHS.

  24. Mr. Jester,
    I totally understand the rationale of using the search firm at this late date in finding the Dunwoody principal. Has the search firm ever been used to find a principal for a southern end school? My concern is that it may appear that the search firm is only used for schools on the north end.
    Also, isn’t this the firm that is supposed to be looking for a Region I Superintendent? They have been searching since May and still no luck. Now we have a Region 5 Superintendent job open. Will this firm be used for that search too? As was stated today, there are a lot of new principals and assistant principals.
    I am not trying to be difficult or ask trick questions. I just feel that so it will not seem like one area is valued over another some explanation should be given.

  25. According to the school district, HYA was used to find the following positions:
    to select the final candidate for the following positions:
    Chief Academic and Accountability Officer
    Chief Legal Officer
    Executive Director, Exceptional Education
    Chief Human Capital Officer
    Executive Director of Student Advancement, Student Support and Intervention
    Chief Communications and Community Relations Officer
    Director, Charters, School Governance, and Flexibility
    Lakeside High School Principal
    So, according to the school district, Lakeside HS is the only principal vacancy filled using HYA services to date. I think they viewed that filling the principal positions over the Summer did not warrant the use of HYA.

  26. chamblee getting screwed

    No one wants to deal with the construction and the influx of illegals coming into their school. Guess how many we already have at Chamblee? 1700! For a school built for 1250. These principals aren’t stupid. Get out before it all goes to hell.

  27. Retired DeKalb teacher fed up with wasteful spending.

    How in the Hell can the citizens of DEKALB turn this sinking ship around? Here we go again, some friend of a friend will be brought in again and it will all begin again. He will be hired without any input from citizens. These board members again will bring someone of their choice. And the Chairman, etc will continue along the same path they have been on for 25 years. By this time there won’t be any good teachers left, most have left already! So sad. I feel so bad for your son and the tee Shirt!