DeKalb Schools – Search Firm Update

Search Firm

Last December the Board of Education approved “HYA” (Hazard, Young, Attea Executives Search Division) to assist the District in its search to fill positions including but not limited to those within the Superintendent’s proposed reorganization in a total amount not to exceed $150,000.


ReOrganizations To Date
  Phase I – (DEC 2015)
  Phase II – (MAR 2016)
  Phase III – (APR 2016)
AJC Articles
Recently, the AJC published a number of critiques of Superintendent Green regarding his use of the search firm.
DeKalb Schools pick its own workers while spending $100,000 for search(APR 4, 2016)
Dekalb Schools spends $100K to find workers already in place(APR 5, 2016)
DeKalb school superintendent: Search firm’s role was valuable(APR 5, 2016)
Search Firm Update
One board member was quoted in the AJC saying, “I always had the concern that we’re spending this kind of money, and you brought your own people in anyway. Why did you do the search? We need to be looking at how we’re spending the money.”
The quote from the board member was curious because she has never formally requested an update.  I thought it was important to understand the facts about the situation (seek to understand), so I requested a Search Firm Update from the administration.
Question: The board approved up to $150K. As of Nov 30 2015, the district expended $85K of the approved $150K. How much have we expended as of the latest financial report?
Answer from Michael Bell (CFO)As of the latest financial report that will be presented to the board at the [April 18] meeting, of 4/18/2016, (February Financial Report) the total expended amount is $88,964. The monthly financial report for March includes an additional expenditure of $22,000 which will be included when the March report is presented. The February amount is also indicated in the Vendor Spends Report for the month ending February 2016.
Question: What positions has “HYA” assisted with filling?
Answer from Dr. Brad Draeger (HYA Representative):

  • Chief Legal Officer
  • Director of Charter Schools, School Governance, and Flexibility
  • Chief Human Capital Officer
  • Executive Director of Student Advancement
  • Chief Communications and Community Relations Officer
  • Chief Academic and Accountability Officer
  • Executive Director of Special Education
  • Lakeside High School Principal

Question: HYA fees include advertising and candidate travel/expenses/background checks. Can we get a breakdown of the expenditures for every position HYA sought to fill by category (advertising, candidate expenses, background checks, etc …)?
Answer from Dr. Brad Draeger (HYA Representative):

Candidate Expenses Miles Air Lodging Meals Auto Gas Parking Taxi Total
CAAO Candidate 1 (23-NOV) 373.96 373.96
CLO Candidate 1 (3-DEC) 298.43 29.33 327.76
CLO Candidate 2 (3-DEC) 18 196.2 25.02 69.82 20 329.04
CAAO Candidate 2 (3-DEC) 904.36 166.24 107.27 1,177.87
CAAO Candidate 3 (2-FEB) 705.97 101.6 38.41 7 852.98
CAAO Candidate 4 (29-FEB) 73.01 505.2 96.32 19.87 83.85 24 802.25
Communications Chief (8-DEC) 471.58 19.59 49.11 36 576.28
Executive Director SE 1 (12-JAN) 56.97 337.7 160.97 51.26 76.69 7.63 87 778.22
Executive Director SE 2 (22-JAN) 465.2 136.84 15.5 31.99 649.53
Executive Director SE 3 (10-MAR) 657.91 96.33 153.52 33.8 941.56
Cand. Travel Exp. Total 6,809.45
Advertising (Group ads for all positions) 5,224.83
Background Checks 850
Total . 12,884.28

Question: What candidates have we hired that HYA brought to us?
Answer from Dr. Brad Draeger (HYA Representative): HYA has worked and/or is working with DCSD to secure the following positions:

  • Chief Legal Officer, Jennifer Hackemeyer
  • Director of Charter Schools and School Governance, Laura Stowell
  • Chief Human Capital Officer, Dr. Leo Brown
  • Executive Director of Student Advancement, Manomay Malathip
  • Chief Communications and Community Relations Officer, Eileen Houston-Stewart
  • Chief Academic and Accountability Officer, [Lisa Martin]
  • Executive Director of Special Education, [Chezia Calloway]
  • Lakeside High School Principal, Search is ongoing

Question: Is there anything else you can tell us about HYA’s services?
Answer from Dr. Brad Draeger (HYA Representative):
.pdf link icon Letter of Agreement
 .pdf link icon Contract Addendum

12 responses to “DeKalb Schools – Search Firm Update

  1. It is highly unusual to spend this kind of money to find a high school principal. I understand that the most recent Lakeside High School principal was fired. But are there no worthy candidates within DCSD, aspiring Assistant Principals, or candidates in the metro area who are qualified to serve as Principal of Lakeside High School?
    Can you comment on why this search firm approach was selected for Lakeside High School? Do you envision this to be a model for future Principal vacancies, or is this a special case?
    Thank you.

  2. Why do you say “this kind of money”? How much is HYA charging specifically for the LHS principal search?
    I’m speculating that all qualified candidates from within or outside the system or metro area will be considered and the position will be filled with the best applicant.

  3. Forgive us all with historical knowledge for our aversion to search firms. Many of us recall the ‘national search’ Dr. Lewis says he conducted using a highly paid search firm to hire a new COO after firing Stan Pritchett due to a horrible SPLOST spending review. Lo and Behold! After an exhaustive, expensive search, the firm ‘found’ Pat Reid (Pope). Lewis presented her as our needle in the haystack – a very lucky find – and one the board had to approve ASAP so as not to lose her! However, behind the scenes, as revealed in Pat’s application – she had already been working as a ‘consultant’ to DCSD with Dr. Lewis (he never mentioned this to the board) – while at the same time serving as VP of her husband’s architectural firm (he also never mentioned this to the board) – which had worked on several multi-million dollar projects and we now know, was to work on many more in the future. We all know the ‘rest’ of the story – the Pope’s are in jail – but that wily Dr. Lewis worked a deal with the DA and although he essentially provided nothing for the prosecution, he was set free and continues to collect his very nice pension from the taxpayers of Georgia and DeKalb to this very day.
    Oh yes – search firms – the very mention of them makes the hair stand up on my arms.

  4. How do you suggest we find senior administrators?

  5. Dear Stan,
    The HYA Contract Addendum states that HYA will be paid $14,500 for positions 4 and beyond, plus expenses that the HYA Letter of Agreement estimates as upward of $3000 per candidate.
    What I referred to as “this kind of money” to find the next Lakeside High School principal is at least $14,500 and likely $17,500. I thought that Principals are usually hired using PATS only.
    I wonder if the decision to use HYA to find candidates was made after normal use of PATS was unsuccessful, or was it the approach from the beginning?
    Using HYA may be a wise decision in this case, due to all of the bad publicity about the previous Lakeside principal. It just may be difficult to know when to pay for a search firm to find a Principal and when to rely on PATS alone.

  6. Principals are the CEO of their school. I’m not against supplementing the principal search with HYA.

  7. Will a national search be conducted for Columbia and MLK?

  8. Here’s the July 2015 Principal Report. Looks like about a 10% turn over rate in principals last year. The board isn’t involved in resourcing principals. The superintendent recommends employees to the board. I’m not against supplementing principal searches.

  9. I find the quote the AJC used ironic to the point of being amusing. That board member never questions Josh Williams about how he spends money; $4 million for trailers, $2.5 million for custodial equipment, $1+ million for consultants whose previous work needed to be redone by district employees.
    Why question hiring a search firm for less than $150K when there is a barrel of bigger fish to shoot?

  10. Dekalb Inside Out

    “We need to be looking at how we’re spending the money.” …. WHAT A HYPOCRITE!
    Since when did she ever give a rat’s ass about spending money? She was the one defending the Chief HR Officer when the district was giving millions in do bid contracts to the International Teachers … aka …. ex Dekalb employees.
    Where was our illustrious board member when Millini Matheny got her 6 figure settlement from the school district when she was fired for blowing the whistle on Josh Williams.
    I can’t stomach that crap. That’s why I don’t get involved with politics.

  11. Pats is a joke. I have seen highly qualified personnel apply in Pats but never receive an interview. DeKalb has a Leadership Academy for principals, why not pull from that list. There are also several teachers with leadership certification who apply in Pats. Example, a Georgia Tech Math teacher applied for a position in Pats and did not get noticed. When she called to check on her application she was told that she was not qualified. The person that was hired was from Russia and did not have any formal training.

  12. Stan Jester

    Do you have any documentation the GT teacher applied?