The Dekalb Schools is scheduled to have a new Superintendent by the summer of 2015. Search firms had until September 16, 2014 to reply to an RFP for a Superintendent Search Firm. Over the next few weeks, the administration will review and rate the various search firms that responded. At the next board meeting, the school board will select the search firm from a list of finalists put together by the administration. Here are the highlights from this Search Process Timeline 2014 – 2015 November – December 2014
Seek input on superintendent position from community, students, and employee stakeholders
Publish and distribute information about the superintendent position (i.e. qualifications, characteristics, expectations)
January – February 2015
Accept applications through search firm
Complete initial screening through search firm
March – April 2015
Select semi-finalists/interview semi-finalists
Select finalist/complete finalist interviews
May – June 2015
Ratify employment contract
Conduct meet/greet events and team building activities
A DeKalb School Board member said at the last school board meeting, “[The Emory Lavista Parent Council] wants the board to understand the history of Superintendent searches in DeKalb. All of which have gone extremely well from what I’ve heard.” This #ThrowBack Thursday will pay homage to our previous Superintendents and the searches that brought them to us. Current Superintendent Search Status
At the April 1 2014 Board Meeting, the board announced their plans to commence a superintendent search. The current Superintendent, Michael Thurmond, intends on completing the 2014-2015 school year, and the new Superintendent will start sometime in the summer of ’15.
At the September 8 2014 Board Meeting, we learned that on August 21 2014 an RFP for a national search firm was issued. The proposal deadline was Sept 16. Between now and the Oct 6 board meeting, the school board will conduct interviews with a list of finalist search firms picked by the administration. #ThrowBack Thursday – Superintendents & Searches 2004: Superintendent Johnny Brown is replaced with Dr. Crawford Lewis with no formal Superintendent search. 2007: Midst the racketeering and fraud, SACS fully accredits DeKalb Schools declaring, “Effective leadership at all levels”. Superintendent Crawford Lewis is subsequently fired and charged with racketeering and theft. 2007-2011: DeKalb Schools is run by Lewis’ senior administration. 2011: At the behest of SACS, DeKalb Schools begins a new Superintendent search.
The search for a new Superintendent, according to Don McChesney, is “the most arduous and difficult task I dealt with while on the Board”. The original search criteria, as McChesney goes on to say, was a superintendent with a track record of raising student achievement and removing central office bloat.
The board offered Dr. Lillie Cox a contract. That effort was thwarted by members of the board, according to 11 alive, “after details of her negotiations, including her requests for vacation time, severance and salary, were leaked to the media.” Aug 2011: In the end, the board majority “lost focus on the students”. The board brought back Dr. Atkinson, whom they had passed on earlier. You can read letters to the public from McChesney and Nancy Jester about their thoughts on that decision. Dec 2012: A lawsuit is filed against DeKalb Schools, “[accussing] the school system of violating the state open records law in failing to release Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson’s text messages”. Feb 2013: DeKalb School Board approves by a vote of 5-4, a separation agreement that pays Atkinson $115K to leave.
Facing removal by the Governor, the board skips a formal Superintendent search and on the same day votes (7-2) to bring on Michael Thurmond as interim superintendent until a permanent Superintendent is found. The AJC reports, “Thurmond said the search for a permanent superintendent would begin immediately and he would leave as soon as one is found.”
Why Thurmond and whose idea was it? Marshall Orson said, in the same AJC article, ” he’s the one who brought up Thurmond’s name”. He had seen Thurmond speaking publicly and in small groups over the years, and was impressed. Thurmond’s lack of a track record in education or any educational experience at all “seemed an asset”, said Orson. Sep 2014: The process of selecting a permanent Superintendent has begun. The new Superintendent should take office in the Summer of 2015. Superintendent Search Docs Superintendent Search Search Process Timeline for 2014-2015
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them.” — Frederick Douglass
“Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue.”