05/13/2015 – Press Conf

Announce Dr. Stephen Green as Superintendent Finalist

Video of Press Conference

Dr. Melvin Johnson’s Statement

On behalf of the DeKalb County Board of Education, it is my privilege and honor to announce that the Board has selected, Dr. R. Stephen Green, as the sole finalist to be superintendent of the DeKalb County School District. Before I go into details about Dr. Green’s outstanding qualifications and the bright future we see under his leadership, I must pause and recognize the enormous debt of gratitude we owe the current superintendent, Michael Thurmond.

During the past two and one-half years of Mr. Thurmond’s tenure, we have faced some of the most critical challenges imaginable including loss of accreditation, budget deficits, lagging employee morale, low academic achievement, and widespread frustration and anger by parents and other stakeholders.

Today, we have:

  • Gotten off probation and stand one step from full accreditation
  • Replaced a $14 million deficit with a growing $81 million surplus by managing our resources in a more prudent and responsible manner
  • Made the District one of the national leaders in school choice with nearly 50 schools offering education alternatives
  • Eliminated all teacher furlough days and hired one hundred new teachers with plans to hire 200 additional teachers next school year
  • Created greater opportunities for parent engagement
  • Improved graduation rates and test scores
  • Changed the narrative about measuring academic growth as well as achievement
  • Improved safety in schools
  • Decentralized regional superintendents to place more decision-making in local schools
  • Created 21st Century learning environments with significant investments in classroom technology
  • Restored a sense of pride for the 14,000 District employees

In his proposed budget, Mr. Thurmond will leave a legacy of increasing salaries for experienced teachers and establishing the first ever for any school district a minimum wage for the lowest paid employees – the people who come to work every day making sure that students arrive to school safely and on-time, receive a nutritious meal and learn in a safe and clean environment.

Mr. Thurmond has built a foundation for future growth and improvement.

I will close these comments with one of Mr. Thurmond’s most powerful and insightful quotes: When we lose sight of our goal to help students, we get into trouble.

Thank you, Mr. Thurmond.

Now, to the big announcement.

The DeKalb Board has undertaken an exhaustive, open, deliberate process for selecting a new superintendent. Community involvement and input were our top priorities. Sixteen members of a community panel assisted in selecting the replacement for Mr. Thurmond. We held six public hearings around the District. More than 120 candidates from around the nation responded to our advertising and outreach efforts. With the help of our community liaison group, we selected eight very well qualified semi-finalist candidates. After conducting our in-person interviews with each of them, we quickly coalesced around Dr. Green as a uniquely qualified and outstanding candidate.

Dr. R. Stephen Green, currently superintendent of Kansas City Schools (MO), has been selected by the Board as our sole finalist. By law, we are required to wait 14 days from this announcement before offering a contract.

Dr. Green is the experienced and well-suited education leader we need in DeKalb County. He brings an impressive track record to the District. Dr. Green brought back the Kansas City Schools system to provisional accreditation. He has demonstrated innovative approaches to teaching and learning and moving student achievement forward.

Dr. Green was named the winner of the 2015 Pearce Award as the best superintendent in the state of Missouri.

In addition to his education experience, Dr. Green has also served as president and executive director of the New Jersey Teaching and Learning Collaborative, not-for-profit organization founded to provide ongoing technical assistance, professional development and advocacy for local and state policy reform.

This position will be a homecoming for Dr. Green. He will be able to join his children and grandchildren here in the Atlanta area.

We anticipate that in the next few days we will be able to announce a visit to the District by Dr. Green.

Thank you.