CEO Lee May's Letter to DeKalb Schools Board

At the 12/17/2014 School Board meeting, the board hired PROACT to provide superintendent search services.  The question now up for debate is exactly what services PROACT will provide and what part the community will play in the superintendent selection.
DeKalb’s Parent Councils United (PCU) released a statement recommending a Candidate Selection Committee saying, “Please consider inviting [these community leaders] to your work session and including them in your deliberations.”
State Representative Scott Holcomb echoed PCU’s sentiments saying, “[PCU] is recommending that the BOE appoint a Candidate Selection Committee, comprised of recognized community leaders. Doing so would indicate that DeKalb County is ready to move ahead using best search practices by partnering with key stakeholders. ”

DeKalb CEO Lee May

Lee May, Interim Chief Executive Officer DeKalb County, spoke to the board at public comments and yesterday sent this letter to the DeKalb Schools Board and administration.
Interim Chief Executive Officer DeKalb County
Lee May
January 13, 2015
To: Dr. Melvin Johnson, Chairman
CC: James McMahan, Stan Jester, Marshall Orson, Dr. Michael Erwin, Vickie Turner, Dr. Joyce Morley; Board Members and Michael Thurmond, Superintendent
RE: Superintendent Search
Dear DeKalb Board of Education,
I pray all is well as you receive this message. I want to applaud and thank you for your leadership and commitment to our DeKalb County scholars as you embark on the selection process for the new DeKalb County School Superintendent. This decision will help determine the future and quality of education in DeKalb for decades to come. As CEO and a member of the Governing Authority, I am equally as concerned about education in our County. The quality of our school system has everything to do with the quality of life in our dear county.
I believe the process of this selection is also critical in the ultimate decision you will make. I believe broad public input into the process will help with community support of your ultimate candidate.
With that being said, I am offering my recommendation concerning the process and external participation in this process.
I recommend the creation of a selection committee that would interview the list of candidates offered by PROACT. The selection committee would then forward to the Board of Education a short list of 3 candidates to consider for a final selection.
The selection committee would consist of 14 members and be comprised of the following:
2 Board of Education members
1 Superintendent Michael Thurmond
1 DeKalb County CEO
1 DeKalb County Board of Commissioner
1 DeKalb Chamber of Commerce member
1 DeKalb Development Authority member
1 DeKalb State Representative
1 DeKalb State Senator
1 DeKalb PTSA member
1 ODE member
1 NAACP member
1 Leadership DeKalb member
1 Georgia Association of Educators member
This is a watershed moment in our county’s history and the decision we make today will have an impact for years to come. I thank you for your consideration of this proposal. This proposal allows for a broader base of input and support in the selection of this critical position.
Yours in service,
Lee May
Interim CEO, DeKalb County Government

3 responses to “CEO Lee May's Letter to DeKalb Schools Board

  1. While I have no doubt of Mr. May’s sincerity, I have a problem with his choices for a selection committee:
    1. No politicians.
    2. No NAACP – the DeKalb organization has shown that they care little about anything other than race; it’s easily seen via John Evans’ diatribes at the BOE Community Input sessions.
    3. No BOE Members. They should not be “searching” for the individuals they will eventually decide to hire.
    4. The lack of any thought to having the perspective of teachers, parents or students on this committee is puzzling to me as these individuals are the stakeholders of the school system.
    As always, just my opinion.

  2. Where does the NAACP come into play with the selection of a school superintendent? That shows have divisive Mr. May is and how ill-prepared he is to be DeKalb County CEO.
    One Commissioner – okay. But the County CEO AND a commissioner? Seem redundant. Or, if we must go that route, let’s have the two super-district commissioners and no county CEO. It’s more representative of the whole county that way.
    Why are there no parents representing each of the highschool attendance clusters? That would be much more broad-based of a committee. How about more teachers?
    Development Authority? Heck no, that’s a political position, so no “appointees”.
    As for Chamber, let’s have the Chamber President, or the Chamber CEO. No need to call it as vague as a Chamber member, which I’m sure would be yet another of the May cronies.
    And no BOE representatives. Paula is correct – they have no place on this committee. Mr. Thurmond can be an ex officio member, but he should not be deciding on his replacement. Perhaps he can give the committee a strong understanding of what the Superintendent role does (and does not) for DCSS, so that decisions made by the committee are more informed.

  3. Mr. May shows continued arrogance and overreach. My specific objections to his proposal include:
    The NAACP has no dog in this hunt. Our choice of Superintendent should be color-blind. Let’s find the best person for the job, with no specific agenda of advancing one race or minority over any other group.
    The Chamber? Maybe if it’s the Chamber President or CEO. Otherwise, this is just likely to be one of May’s many cronies.
    The DeKalb CEO and one commissioner? Seem like overkill. How about seating our two “Super-District” commissioners, which would be more representative of the entire county, and more accountable, too?
    Development Authority – that’s a political appointee. Nope, no need, thanks very much for trying, Mr. May.
    The Board and Mr. Thurmond have no place on the selection committee. Have Mr. Thurmond invited to brief the committee on the role and responsibilities of the position, but he shouldn’t be helping select his successor.
    One professional educator slot? Really? How about a few front-line educators? I’d like to see one elementary, one middle and one high-school teacher – not administrator! – slot added to this listing.
    Lets replace those slots with a parent representative from each of the high-school attendance clusters. Again, this will make the selection committee more diverse and more accountable to the ENTIRE county.