Superintendent Search & Anna Hill, CPA, For Board of Education

DeKalb Schools continues to look for the right Superintendent. The vote on Monday on DeKalb Schools’ sole finalist brings to light why I strongly suggest that you take a look at voting for Anna Hill, CPA, for DeKalb County School Board of Education, District #1 in the upcoming June election.

Superintendent Vote

The DeKalb Schools Board of Education has been in the news recently (WSBTV-2, AJC) regarding our search for the next Superintendent. I did not favor hiring the finalist that was presented to the public. Some of my objections are the same as those voiced by constituents and community members. Some of my objections were internal process problems.

I am grateful that the majority of our Board listened to the community and worked together and earnestly to do what they saw was in the best interests of students, communities, and taxpayers. While I think the finalist announcement was rushed and unwise, characterizing the outcome as a failure is simply not accurate. The children, communities, and taxpayers are always better off when mistakes in leadership choices are averted, even when these choices make some people uncomfortable.

Election – DeKalb Schools Board of Education

All of this has me thinking about what I’m seeing in the current campaign to be the next Board of Education member from District 1. I have chosen not to seek reelection. There are 2 candidates seeking this position. Hill’s opposition recently posted on Facebook some statements on the search and subsequent vote on Monday.

My thoughts on some of his statements

“If Mr. Jester was so concerned about the choice, why did he not come up with valid arguments and persuade others to make a different choice?”

Everything about this part of his post shows his naivete and willful ignorance of the process. To suggest that I wasn’t “persuasive” is an ad hominem attack and demonstrably false as denoted by the vote.

This candidate went on to criticize the perspective and votes of BOE members from other districts; asking

“Why did Dr. Morely and Mr. DaCosta appear to change their minds, despite Dr. Morely saying today that she wasn’t against Dr. Crew? What happened behind those closed doors? Is there a better, second choice waiting?”

This is an odd critique given that this BOE candidate has consistently said that he is going to single-handedly change the tone and relationships on the BOE. It’s also condescending to those BOE members that took the time to listen to the public. The BOE can’t get public feedback on a candidate until the state mandated 14 day waiting period. Should BOE members not be responsive to the concerns of their community?

Did this candidate reach out to the other BOE members that voted “no”? He didn’t reach out to me. I suppose that’s par for the course for him.

He was involved in a school community group whose original mission included the statement, “Provide a forum for parents in Region 1 clusters of the DCSD to hear from DCSD leadership and School Board Members, and interact with those leaders”. At the time, I reached out to him on numerous occasions with no response in return. He ran a closed social media page for this “public group” that was not open to all parents or community members. He organized meetings of this school community group, held in a public building, with the administration about issues that were important to the whole community but did not permit public attendance. This established pattern, to oppose transparency and full participation of the community, is deeply troubling. It contradicts much of his campaign sloganeering. This candidate consistently campaigns on one thing while doing the exact opposite with in his public educational group.

Anna Hill, Certified Public Accountant – DeKalb Board of Education – District #1

There is a candidate that appears to be listening to the people of DeKalb, looking at the data, and adding value. Her name is Anna Hill.

Anna Hill DeKalb Schools Board of Education

Anna Hill is a CPA. She’s been engaged with the school district and BOE regarding the current problems with the audits. She met with Board members one-on-one to give them important information that was not being accurately represented to them by the former CFO.

DeKalb Schools lost their credit rating over the fiasco with the audits. That is proof positive of the need for a CPA to be on the Board. History has solidly indicated that DeKalb’s BOE needs to have a more assertive approach to the financial management of the district. Over the years I have tried to highlight many of the financial problems. You can’t fix the problems in schools if you aren’t managing the taxpayers’ money properly. The district will certainly be negatively impacted financially given the current economic crisis. Now more than ever, a CPA is needed on the Board.

I strongly suggest that you take a look at Anna Hill, CPA. I’m impressed with her.

33 responses to “Superintendent Search & Anna Hill, CPA, For Board of Education

  1. Please tell me you are not leaving Stan! You have been a great voice and advocate for our district! You will be missed!!

  2. Stan Jester

    Thank you for the kind words and vote of confidence.

  3. ZifferIsAYesMan

    Exactly right, Stan. If you vote for Andrew Ziffer, you are going to get a “yes man” to the Dekalb Administration and someone who will NOT look out for this district’s best interest. Look who already is in his corner and supporting him – the old familiar names (Gokce, Cohen-Morris, etc.) that have accelerated the mess we find ourselves in because they make us feel like we are the bad guys. Be smart, district 1 – Vote for Anna Hill.

  4. ConcernedToo

    Along with your leaving I’m sad to say transparency will also be leaving. Easiest way to find out what was going on in DCSD was to visit Stan’s Fact Checker site. As an employee of DeKalb, please know you’ll be greatly missed.

  5. Stan Jester

    @ConcernedToo. Thank you. That’s very nice of you to say. –Stan

  6. Ben Greenwald

    I hope you will continue to be engaged with our schools after you leave the Board. You can continue to add great value.

  7. Jen Greenwald

    Excellent points, Stan. My take is that by you holding your ground in not supporting Dr. Crew, it set the tone to be one of inquiry rather than blind acceptance by both the other BOE members and the members of the community. Thank you for your service, transparency, and accessibility. And thank you for bringing to the forefront the value of Anna Hill’s experience, strengths, and contributions to date. Transparency, thorough investigation, respect for others, and good character are paramount to our next Board of Ed representative’s role in improving DeKalb Schools.

  8. Janet Johnson

    I don’t live in your district but I’m sad to see you leave. As a DCSD parent and taxpayer, I appreciate your willingness to keep all of us updated on the state of public education in our county. I really wish other Board members were as diligent as you are. All the best to you and your family.

  9. Despina Lamas

    Stan, People all over Dekalb County have mentioned how much they appreciate the transparency you have provided over the years. MANY have said they can’t even get their BOE rep to call them back, and have to contact you for information. Thanks for all the hard work you’ve put in over the years to keep constituents informed.

    I whole heartedly support Anna Hill, CPA. A healthy school system’s foundation is built on sound financial practices. DCSD is very much struggling in this arena. We need someone that can ensure better financial practices are implemented. More dollars need to make it to the actual classroom. Anna Hill is the one to make that happen!

  10. concerned citizen

    Along with many others, I wish you and the family the best. You would be a solid choice for superintendent; I can’t figure out why that hasn’t happened. If it weren’t for you, God only knows how much worse the school system would have been. Thank you, Stan, for years of unselfish support of the school system. I will miss your guidance.

  11. Thank you Mr. Jester.

    I wish you and your family the best. May health and happiness be yours.

    mike p

  12. DunNorthMomma

    Stan is the board member who built a majority to oppose Crew. Ziffer would have went with the flow and tarnished DeKalb even more. I’ve met both Ziffer and Hill at community meetings and it’s not even close. Anna Hill is the best candidate.

  13. @Stan: – Thank you for your years of service to the DeKalb BOE and for creating this blog. I hope that even though you are stepping out of the limelight as they say, that for the sake of our county, you will PLEASE keep this blog going. You have given the entire county a place to voice their concerns, and you listen to everyone. By having this blog, you have helped bring down the barriers that have been in place to create the North/South divide.

    I, along with so many others, are appreciative of that.

    I, too, am another Anna Hill supporter… GO ANNA GO!!

  14. Stan, can we deploy the chrome books gathering dust in schools right now in lieu of purchasing 60,000 new devices for k-12 to reduce costs and reduce the need for teacher furloughs?

    I think most schools have a large number of chromebooks used for testing or class sets for activities that will be idle if we are hybrid or fully distance next year.

  15. Dear Stan
    You have provided excellent information not only to your district but to the entire county. I really hate that you are leaving, but I wish you and your family only the best. DeKalb,as other school systems, will be facing some great challenges next year. We need BOE members like you. People willing to ask questions and vote as they truly believe is right.
    On another subject, the Fayette Superintendent is going to delay his retirement. I hope that Ramona Tyson will do the same. DeKalb needs time to find the best and right person. I do not see this happening before June 30th.

    DeKalb Schools budget could include funding cuts, teacher furloughs

    https://www.ajc.com/news/local-education/dekalb-schools-budget-could-include-funding-cuts-teacher-furloughs/fxqHFbfOqQzd8EEyYjItqL/

  16. Thank you for all the years of clear, concise, informative sharing you’ve given us. There is no better antidote for darkness than light. While we have not always agreed on motives and politics, I respect and appreciate your concerted effort to inform the public. Best wishes as you move on in your future endeavors.

  17. I’m merely a taxpayer who is tired of watching the financial dumpster fire that is DCSD but this makes my choice very easy. The CPA has my vote.

    Sorry to hijack the thread, but if anyone has details on the senior citizen tax exemption that would be much appreciated. DeKalb Tax dot org indicates that full exemption is possible as early as age 62 with income limits based on “Georgia Net Income” which is not defined on that site. I cannot find how to calculate or where I can obtain the elusive Georgia Net Income for anything but a corporation. Maybe a CPA could help 🙂

    I would be less concerned about the outcome of the election if my money wasn’t helping to burn down the house. Until I’m out of that loop, it is CPA all the way!

  18. Is there a reason the supt. from APS did not get a look

  19. Stan Jester

    Hello @Jack, I believe the board collected 70ish resumes. The board didn’t release the names of anyone considered except for Rudy Crew.

  20. Retired AP

    I am in District 4, but I get my info/ school news from you Stan. You and your blog will be greatly missed. Thank you for your service.

  21. Stan,

    Is there a chance the Board gets a partial rebate from the search firm for the latter’s failure to produce an approved candidate? Or a partial rebate for the firm’s inability, or unwillingness, to present a slate of finalists?

  22. Stan Jester

    Hello @John, I don’t recall that being in the contract. I do remember the contract saying they will collect resumes and shake the trees again if the first round doesn’t result in finding a superintendent.

  23. Ben Greenwald

    I haven’t seen the contract but by the info that was available when the firm was approved, it appears that this was a retained search which typically means the search firm keeps working until someone is hired.

  24. Trying to Pay Attention

    After the superintendent issues, my take away is that you can’t trust Ziffer. I don’t understand why he was part of that Peachtree group. They don’t seem to care about district 1. Why would he do what he did? Can someone please help me understand?

  25. DSW2Contributor

    Verdaillia Turner and her fake union are pushing to have the board hire Rudy Crew… AJC article “As DeKalb school board meets, teachers group renews call to hire Crew”:

    https://www.ajc.com/news/local-education/dekalb-school-board-meets-teachers-union-renews-calls-hire-crew/ZFN24R1ex2LFLXcTTRMI6M/

  26. Stan Jester

    Feel free to reach out to Verdaillia Turner (georgia@aftgeorgia.org) and the Georgia Federation of Teachers and have a discussion with them. Give them your thoughts.

  27. Dekalb Resident

    Stan-Thank you for your many dedicated years of service. I appreciate all the time, energy, and effort you have given to the school board and residents of Dekalb County. You will be missed and I hope you continue to stay involved in some capacity (although I could see you needing a break). I hope that my next question is appropriate for this forum. I was wondering if you were endorsing anyone for the district 3 school board seat. Thanks for any input.

  28. Stan Jester

    @DeKalb Resident, That’s nice of you to say. Thank you.

    District #3 Race: I have not been following this race, but I’m inclined to go with David Manuel or Kevin Alexander. Anybody but Deirdre Pierce who is involved with the state PTA. I liken that group to the Georgia Federation of Teachers that is hounding the county to hire Crew … enough said.

  29. Dekalb Resident

    Thanks so much for your input!!! It is greatly appreciated!! Thanks again for your years of service!!

  30. DSW2Contributor

    Cheryl Watson-Harris got two youngest children into two of the city’s most selective and desirable middle schools — in one case, after the application period had ended, The Post has learned:
    https://nypost.com/2019/05/11/new-york-city-schools-chiefs-top-deputy-got-her-children-into-selective-middle-schools/

    Great, another Superintendent who doesn’t believe they have to follow the same rules as everyone else. Good job board.

  31. DSW2Contributor

    Exactly one week ago in Sarasota, Florida: “Cheryl Watson Harris, who is second-in-command of the New York City Department of Education, had applied for the superintendent position earlier in the week, saying she was eager to join Sarasota’s “beautiful and brilliant community.” But on Thursday she pulled her application.

    “That was just a personal choice,” Watson-Harris said when reached by phone.”
    https://www.heraldtribune.com/news/20200528/sarasota-schools-superintendent-search-committee-to-meet-today

  32. DSW2Contributor

    Her application for the Florida job:
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NrjiJQtx3Z9_3y6V0YX4F4WT6Dk3Bomx/view

    Hasn’t been able to hold a job for more than 2 years since 2013…

  33. Region 1 Teacher

    @DSW2Contributor Thanks for sharing her resume/application. Those job changes since 2013 appear to be promotions.

    2

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