What is Steen Miles talking about?

We’re confused. Steen Miles has published an opinion piece in the “Champion News” (only available in print or the January 27 online full pdf version, but moving around in email blasts) that viciously attacks Dr. Atkinson and praises Dr. Walker. In fact, the article is titled,

“School Superintendent Progress Report: failing”

Some quotes:

“If one had to assess the overall performance of new DeKalb School Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson to date she’d have to get a failing grade.”

How can she be failing? She’s only been here a few months, and yes, she’s made changes to her ‘cabinet level’ staff, but let’s admit, she hasn’t even had time to address learning in the classroom and student progress should be the barometer by which her success is measured.

Miles continues,

“Just when we thought things were on the uptick with the election of Dr. Eugene Walker as chairman of the school board, more highly publicized dunderhead activities on the part of the new school superintendent come to light. One can only hope with Dr. Walker’s years of leadership, education experience and political acumen, that he will tutor Atkinson and help her make a passing grade. If not, her tenure here should be short-lived.”

Dr. Walker should tutor Dr. Atkinson?! Really? Does Dr. Walker secretly want to be the superintendent?

Then, Miles gets downright condescending.

“Perhaps one shouldn’t hold over the dear lady’s head the fact that she came from a 7,500-student system in Ohio to a system more than 10 times larger at some 95,000, but something has to be said of the need for comparable experience of which she is sorely lacking. It’s akin to allowing someone with crop duster experience at Uncle Ned’s farm to take a Boeing on a transatlantic flight.”


“Atkinson’s recent actions of shifting and reassigning key personnel before her expensive audit and the band debacle give rise to serious questions about her management ability.”

Don’t most new top-level managers pretty much clean house at the top and bring in their own people? I know that’s what the Governor did.  And Atkinson is paid more than the Gov.

“Four lessons and no more: No. 1. Put the children’s interest ahead of ego. Take time to learn the lay of the land before making wholesale changes. If you’re going to spend tens of thousands of our tax dollars for expensive personnel audits, why not wait for the audit findings before making wholesale changes that call into question the integrity and competencies of people being shifted? . . . Good, dedicated, competent people in operations and technology, the deputy superintendent for teaching and learning instruction, chief of curriculum, purchasing, the nationally recognized, award-winning, “I told you so” CFO have all been side-lined. Why? Because you wanted to bring in your own people? Fine. We realize a new broom sweeps clean. But an old broom knows the corners. Know the lay of the land. Sometimes cuts are too deep.”

An old broom knows the corners. That is kind of scary.

“No. 2 Take time to learn the “culture” of the system.”

No. Please do not learn the “culture” of the system, Dr. Atkinson.

“No. 3 Talk to your board and key stakeholders before making major decisions. Get buy-in.”

Hmmm. Why have a superintendent if the board insists on tying her hands? Why not just go ahead and let the board decide everything?

“No. 4 Don’t allow a “spokes-person” to speak for you on major issues. Don’t let your constituents hear about major changes from the media before you give them the courtesy of sharing your decisions with them. Own your decisions if you are confident about them. The time-tested PTA slogan might apply: “The school cannot live apart from the community.” Our hard-working staff and teachers (no matter who they’re related to) need to be appreciated not deprecated so as to give the best to our children.”

Then she closes with a mean-girl throw-down.

“It has to be noted that she cuts a striking figure as a parade grand marshal. Someone wondered out loud whether she exempted the parade from the ban on band activities so that the boys and girls could trumpet her ride down Main Street.”


Fast forward three days after Steen’s post and Ty Tagami at the AJC tells us that, Cuts to DeKalb schools won’t be immediate.

Now, isn’t that interesting?

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49 Responses to What is Steen Miles talking about?

  1. momfromhe11 says:

    Wow. Just Wow.

    Is this the start of the undermining campaign? I remember some noises were made about hiring Walker as Interim Super when CL was sidelined. I have no doubt that he would like the job.

  2. momfromhe11 says:

    Read the AJC article and was pretty bummed. Please don’t make Dr Atkinson be caving to this sort of thing already.

  3. Susan Curtis says:

    It is a shame that Steen Miles has chosen to criticize Dr. Atkinson BEFORE she has made sweeping changes within the system. While she has replaced a few people, she has mostly spent her time listening to and observing her stakeholders (teachers, administrators, parents, the community) and crafted her initial response to what she heard and saw. Dr. Atkinson was not my personal choice to lead DCSS, but I fully support her doing so. I hope the community sees the politics being played and chooses to actively rise above them. Our school system is for all of our children, and our response to Dr. Atkinson needs to be made AFTER we have seen how her changes affect all of our children and their learning.
    These diatribes before any true change lead one to suspect that people are operating from a perspective of fear . All those affected so far are adults. And, as adults, these people are capable taking care of themselves. Our children are not able to change their own situations. It is our responsibility as a community to put aside our personal interests and work for the greater good of our children. I believe that given support Dr. Atkinson will be able to improve our system, in turn improving the lives and learning of our children.

  4. Dundevil says:

    Steen says that DA should take time to learn the DCSS culture. The culture is to create as many administrative jobs as possible. The money that is left over is used to make it look like DCSS is educating children.

    Ty Tagami’s column said that there would be no layoffs. 200 people are said to voluntarily leave the administration each year. There would be a shifting of assignments. Of course none of the friends and family would voluntarily leave. So it will just be re-arranging the deck chairs. It wouldn’t surprise me if the favored ones end up with better paying positions.

  5. Susan Curtis says:

    As a start to supporting Dr. Atkinson before the political machine gets a head of steam, we should all write our board members and condemn the comments Steen Miles expressed in the Champion News. We should also call and email the Champion News ( Publisher – Carolyn Glenn, (404) 373-7779 Ext. 0, cfjglenn@hotmail.com; Co-Publisher – Dr. Earl Glenn, (404) 373-7779 Ext. 0, dr_edglenn@hotmail.com; Chief Operating Officer – John Hewitt, (404) 373-7779 Ext. 110 johnh@dekalbchamp.com ) and express our thoughts about these comments. I would suggest copying your email or letter to Dr. Atkinson (cheryl_atkinson@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us) so that she can see that there is public condemnation of Steen Miles’ comments.

  6. pcaldarella says:

    You all realize what is going on here, don’t you? The BOE, specifically Dr. Walker, has found he cannot “control” Dr. A, so he has begun a smear campaign to undermine her and the decisions. It’s time for SACS to end this nonsense, put DCSS on probation so the Governor can rid this board of the individuals that are so set on destroying this school system.

  7. Susan Curtis says:

    I don’t know if it is an intentional smear campaign or not, but I do think it is wise to respond to it. Perhaps the Champion News would like to offer a “guest editorial” responding to Steen Miles’ comments. And perhaps we should all write expressing our concerns with Dr. Atkinson being judged before she has actually had much of a chance to change DCSS.

  8. Anonymous says:

    See below for a quote from an article regarding DeKalb Schools that Steen Miles wrote in the Champion April, 2010. In this article “The downward spiral”, Ms. Miles laments the “embarrassment of the school system”. Yet she now decries the “sidelining” of the very personnel who presided over these historic drops in student achievement for our most vulnerable students. Student achievement in DCSS low income schools dropped precipitously by May, 2011 under the very personnel that Dr. Atkinson has “sidelined”.
    Title 1 Made Adequate Yearly Progress rate in 2000 (Before strict test monitoring): 75%
    Title 1 Made Adequate Yearly Progress rate in 2010 (After strict test monitoring): 55%
    Title 1 Made Adequate Yearly Progress rate in 2011 (with the “sidelined” personnel): 20%

    Dr. Atkinson is right to hold the Upper Level administrators responsible for the poor student achievement of our low income Title 1 schools. Taxpayers/parents want new managers, and it’s the right thing to do for kids.

    Dr. Atkinson has quite a task at hand. Personnel decisions are hers and hers alone. She cannot clean up this mess in less than a year. It make take her several years to “right this ship”. And she cannot turn around a school system with 95,000 students by herself. She needs competent managers. DeKalb Schools will most assuredly NOT do well with the managers who were in place during the decline. This is the first step. Now she needs to follow the audit, “rightsize” the salaries of non teaching personnel, let go of unnecessary and redundant positions, and plow that money back into the classrooms.

    Quote from the Champion article Ms. Miles wrote:
    “While I am on this tear, let me revisit the schools. The value of education is too often non existent. Our public schools are viewed as daycare centers. If Jaquante learns to read, good. Don’t worry about his baggy, behind-revealing britches, that’s the “style.” And if he is a bully at school, acting out because of what he sees and experiences at home, don’t mess with my “chile.”
    Besides, the school system will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars
    to say we don’t have a record of Jaquante ever bothering anyone. The embarrassment of the school system is a subject for another day. From investigations of cheating on test scores, the superintendent and other high ranking officials for malfeasance to a school board member being accused of interfering in the work of an independent citizen’s panel looking into cost-saving school closings, it is scandal a day.”
    Link to full article below:

  9. IMPORTANT NOTICE (posted below) — DEKALB COUNTY REDISTRICTING HEARING TONIGHT! DeKalb House Delegation’s Public Hearing on DeKalb County Commission & School Board Redistricting Maps Tuesday, January 31, 2012 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Maloof Auditorium 1300 Commerce Drive Decatur, GA 30030

  10. How many of you subscribe to The Champion or even read The Champion Free Press? Newslady Steen Miles writes “Opionins” often. I remember her supporting Cathy Cox in one of her articles. She is highly respected in DeKalb and many of us in South DeKalb share our opinions with her. She is a strong voice of the community whether you agree or disagree with her opinion. She does speaks with facts and not bias. I agree with Dr. Atkinson’s statement in the AJC today that “S he doesn’t want to fix it wrong”. She needs time but she also needs to hit the ground on improving student achievement fast. Our students do not have time to WAIT. She has brought in 7 or 8 top paid ($165,000 +) employees of her choice. Now let’s get on the road with a specific plan of improvement, with incremental steps that are measurable before FIVE yerars are up. I guess after Crawford Lewis, I just don’t have the faith that we are going to actually evaluate EVERYONE by measurable performance. Thanks, Steen Miles, keep up posted and keep the Board and Supt. honest and transparent.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Interesting AJC article in the link above about Steen Miles being hired to “Spin” the rate increase by DeKalb Water. She is very disconnected when she says things like “I am a 30-year DeKalb resident. The return on the investment I think is quite handsome on the contract,” Miles told the AJC. “And $35,000, those are pennies in the industry.”

    That $35,000 is for a four-month contract that runs from Nov. 21 through March 22. A starting police officer in DeKalb makes only about $1,000 more a year.

    Add to that her holier than thou put-down of young black students by referring to “them” as “Jaquante” and quotes parents as saying, “don’t mess with my “chile.”

    Boy, if Miles was a white woman, she would be crucified by Gene Walker & friends.


  12. Dear Ms Miles,

    Thank you for writing about the school system. I believe any attention that can be brought to bear is a positive for our students and taxpayers.

    I respect your concerns but must note a bit of history, that for me, takes the issues out of the black & white and into the gray areas of governing.

    1. Concerning that Ms Atkinson is completely over her head, remember the outcry when information concerning the first candidate’s negotiations was leaked. (Allegations were that it came from a school board member.) Many believed then that the process was not to find the best superintendent but to find the most malleable leader. It was a flawed process to say the least … and now you are upset. Why not earlier?

    2. Any leader worth a dime is going to want to bring in their own leadership. I did not like Johny Brown and did not think he was appropriate for the job but I do understand what a new leader must do. Why should the taxpayer world of public education be so very different from the for-profit business world. Tell me of a person that has not worried about their job in the past few years. Yes, it is hard. Yes, it will be unfair to some. And yes, it does need to be done. But do not act as if anyone that loses a job is some sort of martyr on the alter of superintendent bad judgment. Where were you when Dr. Lewis decided to expand his cabinet – above the numbers allowed by policy or when he moved large numbers of principals up into the main office – the most vested high school principal had only three years experience when that dust settled.

    3.Ahh, the band program. Yes, it was politically unwise to close the program. I agree one hundred percent. But do you remember the WSB-TV expose on the DCSS Athletic Program. Stadium ticket sales with no checks and balances in place; under-the-table supplier deals. Many have asked to see how money paid for band competition is tracked; many ask how the director of the department manages to do his job and manage his outside interests (check his web-site.) These are reasonable concerns – especially in light of the Athletic Department’s failures and the number of school bookkeepers/principals accused of mismanagement to embezzlement recently. Have you ever asked how much money these local school programs raise and what type of oversight is enforced?

    4. I agree totally with you that the teacher in the classroom gets the short-shrift in all this. Instruction has never been the board’s strong suit. In fact, our instructional leadership has been weak for years – note declining test scores and lack of teacher buy-in. But you almost tip your hand in an attack on bringing in outside people. Why should you be so against outsiders. Well, they are an unknown; they may be no good and/or well, they may upset board members’ plans. Is it that they may undermine the jobs program that has worked so well for so many years? Everyone cries foul when they are losing power (if I may make one of those sweeping Eisenhower-type generalizations.)

    5. DCSS has a past CEO and COO under indictment. We have an extended drawn-out lawsuit against the giant of industry, Heery-Mitchell. We have another lawsuit over cancelling teacher retirement. Our legal bills are much greater than other counties.

    The Grand Jury wants a further investigation of the school system. We are on SACS probation. And when I or others want to review past board minutes, they are often missing.

    We have too many central office employees. The personnel department is mistrusted as an instrument of cronyism and someone in the finance department cut illegal checks. We lack up-to-date policy or in some areas lack enforcement. We have a SPLOST program that for all its spending offers no cohesive vision of school planning.

    There have been numerous studies concerning demographic changes, employment classifications, career tech possibilities. Most have been dismissed with the wave of the hand because the results did not sit well with board leaders.

    And you think this woman is over her head? You come in at an interesting juncture in all this that is our school system. You make incendiary accusations towards her desire to bring in new blood; temporarily halt programs that may support hazing; make employees sweat for their jobs and not personally address the media.

    Really? With all that is going on in the school system, this new superintendent – after just months on the job- inflames you to write. Wow. I sincerely question your priorities and have to ask…Where have you been?

    Most respectfully,
    Faye Andresen

  13. Just Watch says:


    I read The Champion online regularly. I am not sure what you are saying, but here goes. The people that Dr. Atkinson has removed have had ample opportunity to make things better or they may have been complicit in bad behavior. The pre-Atkinson staff has shown no ability to fix what ails the system. They have had their chance and THEY HAVE FAILED. Thousands of students, mostly minority, have been and continued to be failed by DCSS.

    Steen Miles’ article speaks only of the adults’ woes and not of students. I am sorry if DCSS is not a comfortable place to work right now in the central office. Most of those employees are over paid for the work they do and they are nervous because there are no private sector opportunities to make similar salaries.

    Do you believe DCSS is a jobs program and that this is an appropriate role for a school system? If you don’t go reread Mile’s column and tell me again, how she is on the money. Miles has done a huge disservice to the children of DeKalb. Again, adults fail the children.
    Shame, really.

  14. Just Watch! I now assume that you are an insider or have assess to information that the ordinary taxpayer does not have concerning salaries. I hope we get a chance to see the actual audit as well as the credentials of the firm conducting the audit. Withj reference yto the people Dr. Atkinson replaced having had ample opportunity to make things right, I STRONGLY disagree. Dr. Beasley was interium for only one year and he begin implementing the standards and holding teachers responsible. I attended a public session he conducted at the high school and was very impressed. There are some very competent employees in DeKalb as well as probably some that are not so competent. However, you can be very competent with a week leader that keeps your hands tied. I have never heard of a new Supt. bringing in 8 of her favorites. This is where the TRUST factor comes into play. These folk might be great but they could also not be great or experienced at all. Why the resumes have not been posted. I will hold out for more information and results.

  15. Atlanta Media Guy says:

    I had so much respect for Steen Miles until today. Gene Walker put her up to this. I bet he thinks she is the only one people will listen to now.

    One thing not mentioned. Gene Walker voted FOR hiring Dr. Atkinson. Plus, though no one can prove it, wink wink nudge nudge, everyone knows someone on the BOE leaked the first Super’s demands. Gee, I find it funny how all of a sudden Steen and others are now ready to support the BOE members who voted against hiring Dr. Atkinson. Remember when Gene Walker and crew walked out of the BOE meeting when the 3 were explaining their NO votes. Well, how do you do! Seems like now the very people who hired Dr. Atkinson don’t want her. Why? We all know why, the Francis Edwards, Gene Walker, Calloway, Zepora Roberts and Sarah C-W crew are angry.

    This is ludicrous! I hope the District Attorney, Grand Jury, the Governor are watching. We must flood everyone with emails about this awful op-ed and let them know exactly how you feel. Plus, email Dr. Atkinsons and let her know not to cowtie to these corrupt individuals who are scared their Gravy Train has run dry!

  16. Dr. Atkinson has Walter Woods. Dr. Walker has Steen Miles. Both mouthpieces. I thought Dr. Walker intelligent, but after this, his delusions of power have gotten the best of him. To make these statements, which I hear Dr. Walker’s voice in my head speaking, in public is stupidity, arrogant political stupidity.

  17. Great points by Faye. As a long-time leader in DeKalb schools with decades of “institutional knowledge” Faye certainly can bring the history to the table. As an FYI, in case you don’t know Faye, she served on the SPLOST II oversight committee, President of Emory Lavista Parent Council, School Council and PTA. She is a graduate of Leadership DeKalb and general all around rock-solid volunteer in many areas of life in DeKalb, including the ginormous yard sale held every year at Decatur Baptist Church benefiting the youth.

  18. Susan Curtis says:

    Good reminder about the BOE voting history re: Dr. Atkinson’s hiring. Isn’t it funny how quickly some people on the BOE seem to have changed their minds about Dr. Atkinson? (I am assuming that Steen Miles is reflecting an opinion of at least one board member.)

  19. Atlanta Media Guy says:

    Could this be an idle threat directed to Dr. Atkinson, from the crew? You know hey Dr. A. maybe Steen won’t write something bad if you just toe OUR line and make sure our friends, family, sorority sisters, frat brothers and fellow church members maintain their employed status with DCSS, even if they aren’t qualified for the job or even report to their new jobs after reassignment. Francis Edward’s son got away with that for 6 months, after a promotion and a $15K raise. See how it works? Scathing op-ed, that Walker has nothing to do with, wink wink nudge nudge… Now the ball is in Dr. Atkinson’s court. If I was her I would call a press conference and call these people out. Ask for help from the Governor, and SACS. Tell US if you’re being threatened by anyone inside DCSS hierarchy? It’s time for the taxpayers to OCCUPY DCSS and help Dr. A. – I was against her at first but will support her. Ms. Miles has lost her mind to write something like this just a few months into Dr. Atkinson’s tenure. Plus, how come Steen didn’t mention the missed deadline for RTTT funds? Missed State Funds that Fran Millar re-instated for the system. That happened during Tyson’s reign of fun!

    I do not like where this is going and the next public comment time should be relentless against Gene Walker and his crew. So our Georgia State Sexual Harasser, Gene Walker, doesn’t like the way things are going and wants to be Super of OUR school system? Really? Are our kids safe? It’s hard NOT to laugh at this abysmal school system. Premier my posterior!

  20. Atlanta Media Guy says:

    You’re exactly right Susan! There are a lot of assumptions when it comes to DCSS. No one knows for sure, but it doesn’t make sense to me. Ms. Miles, why now? Like Faye said, “Where have you been?” I certainly want to know why you’re singing now and not back when the hiring process was hijacked by a former BOE member (Zepora Robert’s public comments) and an un-named current BOE member. Would it surprise anyone if Dr. Atkinson just resigned from this mess? I hope not!

  21. Atlanta Media Guy says:

    Steen wouldn’t have needed to write this if Tyson had been given the power to clean the decks for the new Super. But that was not the plan all along. Crawford Lewis was able to pick his successor! Most interims are hired to clean house. The former Crawford Lewis bunch was able to get two more years worth of contracts, after the indictments and they had 8+ years to improve the system. Central Office hires exploded, student achievement fell and two leaders were indicted. The facts and numbers do not lie.

    We need to rid ourselves of the past. Seems to me there are so many problems that Tyson didn’t fix, we MUST give Dr. Atkinson a chance to identify them and make a change. The audit just came out and the other one isn’t due until March. The op-ed reads like sour grapes to me. Come to think of it, Dr. Atkinson has worked for the system for less than ONE semester. This is all the time Steen is willing to give her, to turn acorrupt system around? Once again I was NOT for hiring Dr. Atkinson and my district BOE rep was NOT for her hiring either but we both agree we will help her anyway we can, so we can move past the awful Crawford Lewis years.

    One question, is the entire document, from the audit that came out the other day, available for the public to see? Will DCSS staff lose elements from the final report like they did with the 2004 audit? I’m just saying.

  22. Anonymous says:

    “Dunderhead” activities? This Steen Miles lady sure is tough on other people.

    Related to DUNDERHEAD
    Synonyms: airhead, birdbrain, blockhead, bonehead, bubblehead, chowderhead, chucklehead, deadhead, dim bulb [slang], dimwit, dip, dodo, dolt, donkey, doofus [slang], dope, dork [slang], dullard, dumbbell, dumbhead, dum-dum, dummkopf, dummy, dunce, idiot, fathead, gander, golem, goof, goon, half-wit, hammerhead, hardhead, ignoramus, imbecile, jackass, know-nothing, knucklehead, lamebrain, loon, lump, lunkhead, meathead, moron, mutt, nincompoop, ninny, ninnyhammer, nit [chiefly British], nitwit, noddy, noodle, numbskull, oaf, pinhead, schnook [slang], simpleton, stupid, thickhead, turkey

  23. Anonymous says:

    Her essay says, “If we’re top heavy by 1,400 plus people and you plan to cut perhaps 300 you’ve got 1,400— not 300—people wondering if the ax will fall on them.”

    That’s how it goes. Everyone in every corporate job has experienced this feeling of wondering if you are going to be the one to be let go. And your point is???

  24. Anonymous says:

    Ms. Miles article cannot really be about what’s good for the students of DeKalb County, at least about the students in low income schools. Does Ms. Miles think no one looks at the student achievement decline that occurred under Dr. Lewis, Ramona Tyson, the “sidelined” Upper Management personnel, and the Board of Education members including Dr. Walker? The student achievement under the “sidelined” personnel remained fairly stationary for the more affluent schools in the county, but the less affluent schools, located mainly in South DeKalb, saw a dramatic decrease in making adequate yearly progress. These “sidelined” personnel Ms. Miles is so fond of along with Dr. Lewis, Ms. Tyson and the BOE including Dr. Walker hired ALL of the teachers and principals, allocated ALL of the funding, and set ALL of the policies, procedures and programs for the students of DeKalb. The decline in student achievement for our low income students rests SOLELY with the Upper Management that Dr. Atkinson has “sidelined”. They ensured our Title 1 schools had the lowest rate of student achievement in the entire metro area, even when compared to demographically similar school systems.

    Below are the links to the Georgia DOE DeKalb Title 1 data. Ms. Miles should take a look at the data. She will see how the more affluent non-Title 1 schools are faring okay while the non affluent Title 1 schools are in dire straits. This has put the communities that serve them at risk with regards to property values and a stable middle class. Ms. Miles is a supporter of the status quo even as the status quo failed our most vulnerable students.

    Scroll down to Number of Schools by Adequate Yearly Progress Status:






    2010-2011 (sort for – DeKalb – Title 1 Schools – 2011 AYP Status):

  25. Anonymous says:

    Great response, Faye. The article is unjustified. Dr. Atkinson deserves all the support from the community that the community that the community can muster up. I understand that the employees in the system must be feeling vulnerable… that is to be expected any time “new guard” comes in. That doesn’t make not making changes “right” for the children. Adults can protect themselves. The children only have us. It’s our taxpayer money at stake as well. The children have been deserving better for at least a decade. It’s not just time; it’s long past time. DCSS is not a jobs program and never should have been a jobs program. It is a school system — that means that it’s function is to educate the children for their future. I don’t believe, though, that most of the BOE, truly believes that this is their mission.

  26. Anonmom says:

    I promise you that Ms. Tyson was very deliberately not given the authority to “clean house” and my “gut” is that the majority of the BOE was seeking a new superintendent who would do the same. I hope that as many people and media as possible get copies of this new audit so it, too, isn’t “lost”.

  27. Susan Curtis says:

    Aren’t Gene Walker and Steen Miles both members of Greenforest Community Baptist Church? Maybe this explains Ms. Miles’ strong support of Dr. Walker.

  28. Susan Curtis says:

    Hi Jackie,

    You are correct that Ms. Miles is highly respected within the community. She has done much good in Dekalb. That is one reason it is so disturbing that she is dubbing Dr. Atkinson a failure. Dr. Atkinson has had little time to work. She has spent most of her time so far listening and assessing. She has made a few changes, but not nearly enough on which to judge her. Having a respected community leader condemning Dr. Atkinson at near the beginning of her contract with DCSS only makes it harder for Dr. Atkinson to make the changes that DCSS so desperately needs. Let’s all give her time and space and support to make our school system function for all of our children.

  29. No Duh says:

    Disturbing, disturbing, disturbing.

    What does this poor lapdog mean when she said in “Lesson” 3??:
    “No. 3. Talk to your board and key stakeholders before making major decisions. Get buy-in. No good manager works in isolation and should not have the appearance of same. The power of consensus is inclusion. Morale is said to be at an all-time low and speaking about the problems to anyone including board members could be a “career decision.” Fear is never a good motivator of people. President Eisenhower said people are sometimes like strings. You can pull them along almost anywhere, but you can’t get very far trying to push them.”

    Is she implying that morale is low because Dr. Atkinson created an atmosphere of fear?? That “speaking about the problems to anyone including board members could be a ‘career decision’” is something NEW??

    Who is this fool? Her string hasn’t just been pulled, it’s been yanked.

  30. Atlanta Media Guy says:

    THERE SHOULD BE FEAR! There should have been fear from the moment Crawford Lewis and Pat Pope was indicted. One problem however, the BOE decided to kick the can and let Crawford Lewis pick his predecessor and nothing changed. This is very disturbing!

  31. momfromhe11 says:

    Actually, when I read this, it seems as if she contradicts herself; at the top of the paragraph, she urges Dr. Atkinson to talk to the board and stakeholders – to get a concensus – then at the end, she says that speaking about the problems to anyone is a “career decision”…

    Does she mean it’s a good decision? If so, why not state that?

    Is Ms. Miles implying that Dr. Atkinson is making decisions in isolation, without running them by anyone? With the number of deputies there, I find that hard to believe. Is she consulting others and getting their agreement, only to have them turn on her afterwards? Ms. Miles must have gotten her idea that these are solo decisions somewhere.

  32. d says:

    I think a grain of salt needs to be taken with the AYP numbers – first just realize that a single subgroup can cause an entire school to miss AYP – also remember that there were large increases in the required number of students to pass each of the years pointed out – so what would have made AYP in 2010 wouldn’t have in 2011.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Maybe Cere saw this coming and that’s why she wrote the following in her retirement letter:

    “My biggest hope is that you will all take the time now to simply pray for Dr. Atkinson. Pray for her to have wisdom. Pray for her to have discernment. Pray for her to have clarity. Pray for her to have support. Pray for her to have the power to implement the changes she seeks for the betterment of nearly 100,000 children’s futures. And pray for her protection.”

  34. bettyandveronica says:

    Faye, your the bomb. I didn’t think Dr. A would work…at all. She is here and I am going to give her the time, longer than a few months, to make the changes. This time next year we’ll know. She needs to tell Dr. Walker to shut the hell up.

    My question is why is the DeKalb legislature protecting him? MMO you are doing us wrong, We won’t forget it.

  35. Just Watch says:

    MMO can’t do very much by herself. The members of the DeKalb delegation from S. DeKalb, like Mosby, Abrams, etc, have repeatedly blocked efforts by MMO and others to change things for the better. Worse, these legislators enable the terrible behavior of our school board members by not speaking out. (For the record, Mosby dates Jay Cunningham’s sister) In addition, there is about as much competence from most of the delegation as there is from most of our school board. As a county, we are pretty scre*ed.

    If anything you should thank MMO for trying. Her efforts have cost her dearly with the delegation.

    And everyone should work hard to recruit better candidates for both the state legislature and the school board and then work hard to get them elected.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Why is Dr. Walker interfering with personnel decisions? Aren’t personnel decisions the responsibility of the the superintendent? Isn’t that a SACS violation when the BOE interferes in the decisions that are supposed to be made by the superintendent?

  37. Dunwoody Mom says:

    Yes, Anonymous, Board Members interfering with the day to day operations of the school system is a SACS violation. It is, in fact, what got Clayton County School System placed on SACS probation. Certain members of this board do, and have always, thumbed their nose at Board Rules and Ethics Policies. Despite SACS stern warnings, these board members have continued to tread into areas where they are not allowed.

  38. Atlanta Media Guy says:

    Anon. 8: 34, YOU ARE CORRECT, except when it comes to our sexual harasser in Chief of the BOE.

    If SACS does not do something soon and address this, then we will know what we have thought all along, that SACS is part of the problem. I still don’t understand how a public corporation, AdvancED ED can run a “non-profit” SACS. It seems to me SACS forces school districts to buy their products by intimidation. See how it works? If you don’t buy our products, we’ll make sure our non-profit arm SACS puts you on probation and you’ll have to buy our products. Sound familiar?

    We must rid ourselves of the very people who are keeping us down. I wonder how all these folks continue to get re-elected when nothing changes and the electorate’s kids are failing miserably, even after being given a mountain of Federal Title 1 dollars. Still Dekalb County = EPIC FAIL! We need a full accounting of these funds.

    Hey Burrell Ellis, want to win re-election? Start calling out your brothers and sisters in South DeKalb and how they are keeping the county from moving on from a very bad period of graft, corruption and blatant fraud. Come to think of it, you probably wouldn’t win if you did that. There are too many people profiting from the “Friends and Family” and Good Ole Boy networks that have taken root in our School System as well as our County leadership. We must remake our county or there will be no more prosperity for anyone who lives here.

  39. eyeondekalb says:

    I agree with Steen Miles. Dr. Atkinson needs to be run out of town on the first thing smoking. She’s a complete failure and NEVER should have been selected Superintendent in the first place.

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