Melvin Johnson tosses in his hat for Bowen’s school board seat

According to a news article at CrossRoads News, Melvin Johnson has announced his candidacy for school board.

School Board

Retired DeKalb Deputy School Superintendent Melvin Johnson is seeking the District 6 seat being vacated by School Board Vice Chairman Thomas Bowen, who has said he will seek the District 4 seat on the DeKalb Board of Commissioners.

Johnson, a longtime resident of Stone Mountain, announced April 17 that he will qualify for the July 31 primary.

He has more than 37 years of experience in education, rising up from a classroom teacher to assistant principal, principal, area superintendent, and deputy superintendent.

During his 18 years in system-wide leadership positions, Johnson said he got a clear understanding of school governance. He said if elected, he will collaborate with fellow board members and the superintendent to improve student achievement; increase fiscal and operational efficiencies; re-establish community trust; and promote a more harmonious, results-driven working relationship with the superintendent.

Dr. Edward L. Bouie*, who is chairing Johnson’s election committee, calls him “an outstanding educator” who understands the political process, necessary to develop and implement policies that will help all children rise to their highest levels of achievement.

Since his retirement from DeKalb County School System in 2004, Johnson has served on the Redan Parent Advisory Board, DeKalb Youth Leadership Academy Development Committee and YMCA Academies board of directors.**

Two of his four children are recent Redan High School graduates.

Read more: CrossRoadsNews – More candidates announce plans to run in July 31 primaries

*Note the name of Melvin Johnson’s campaign manager:  Voters may want to take heed of this “Old Guard” connection.

**Melvin Johnson is also highly involved with New Birth Church and sent the letter of agreement for the lease with DCSS for the Leadership Academy, a charter school house in the west wing of the church.

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34 Responses to Melvin Johnson tosses in his hat for Bowen’s school board seat

  1. Amy Parker says:

    John Melvin or Melvin Johnson?

  2. Dunwoody Mom says:

    Is Edward Bouie related to Wendolyn Bouie? Mr. Johnson is a member of the “old guard” in DCSS. We need to move forward without the spectacle of members of past administrations now sitting on the Board of Education.

  3. Melvin Johnson. Part of the “Old Guard” at DCSS.

    For starters, here’s a paragraph from DeKalb School Watch, September 21, 2010:
    “New Birth is the location of the new 180 student DCSS Leadership Academy Charter school, which pays $122,000 annually to lease the space according to this letter from New Birth to Melvin Johnson, New Birth member, board member of LPA, board member of the private school inside New Birth and former DCSS administrator.”

  4. justwatch says:

    Edward Bouie is either her father in law or ex father in law. Johnson is totally part of the friends and family and this is a huge problem.

  5. justwatch says:

    Wait I am thinking of Bouie Sr. This is Bouie Jr who is either husband or ex husband.

  6. water not kool-aid says:

    It would seem that if no one wants him on the board, then find someone to run against him. It is really that simple. For adults to claim they are working for the good of the students, some of these topics make little sense. Pointing out that someone running for the board because of people they know is a “so what”. Pointing out that someone is in connection with a church, “who cares”. Pointing out that someone is a poor excuse of a person AND stating the reasons why “that is what all taxpayers need to know.”
    Interesting that if a person attends certain churches in DeKalb, it seemingly proves that they are associated with unacceptable company. Can you people please let us know which churches we can associate with? Which church a teacher must attend before having a job? Which churches are allowed to partner with the school system?
    One reason I stopped looking at the blog in the past was because aspersions being cast on folk who were qualified for a position but because they knew someone, was a relative of someone, attended a certain church, they must be burned at the stake. But before we burn’em let’s terminate them.

    Also, the Bouies are a couple. The imtimidation that Dr.Boui spoke of was also in reference to teh communcation control now in the hands of the superintendent. The policy passed in early March and was sent via News Flash to employees. This policy is listed as BOE communications ( note no mention of staff in the policy heading). To make it easy for you all to continue not seeing a problem, the policy states that any staff who contacts any BOE member will be dealt with up to and including termination. Any reason or concern that an employee has must go through the superintendent and she will determine if BOE members will know.Furthermore, it states that employees can come to a board meeting and WATCH (not participate as a taxpaying DeKalb citizen) what happens. Board members must get the superintendents approval to visit a school (I see some good in that based on previous experiences).
    The entire board voted unanimously on the policy, why?? Because had anyone not voted to affirm, they would have been critized by YOU the voters. Remember 4 weeks ago when Walker voted against the cutting of 133 positions; this blog went to attacking him for not doing what is”right”. There was no need to vote on 133 positions as she had already done away with 91 instructional coaches, all of Title I, let go of prevention intervention and graduation coaches before she took this request to the board that Friday. Still no mention of all of these positions being done away with in the media or on this blog.
    As long as Dr. Atkinson controls the communication process she will control everything and everyone else. Sheeples to the slaughter.

  7. “Which churches are allowed to partner with the school system?” That would be simply, New Birth. New Birth hosts TWO charter schools for DeKalb county and collects rent etc on those schools. One is the Leadership Academy, actually housed in the church and the other is Destiny Academy, housed in a former DCSS school that was sold to the church several years ago for a mere $150,000. Frankie Callaway (a retired DCSS administrator) is in charge of the Leadership Academy while her husband Clarence Callaway (also a retired DCSS administrator) is in charge of Destiny.

    Really, can you imagine if “Dunwoody Baptist” was in that situation? LOL…

    Also, we would place very strong bets that these edicts for board members not to interact with employees and vice versa are coming from SACS. Mark Elgart, SACS CEO advises Atkinson and the Board on matters such as these and meets with them regularly. This is a very dangerous area where too much ‘meddling’ by a board member could cost the entire system its accreditation.

  8. jackiehar says:

    It seems as i.f we have one viable candidate: experienced, educated and not looking for a job. I don’t have problem with charter schoools as long as they are legal and the parents are pleased. I worked at Kingsley years ago when it became a charter school and it turned out great after all the fuss settled down. I would know for a board that can assist Dr. Atkinson pull us out of the mess we are in. Experience does matter and we don’t have time for folk to learn how to assist as a board member. I hope we have candidates in District 4 of this caliber! I will definately look at credentials so we do not repeat the past history of the last 8 years.

  9. water not kool-aid says:

    I am glad that alternative education is on the chopping block. But along with that recommendation I did not like the idea of reducing the amount of discipline referrals and for longer than ten days. These audits have cost a pretty penny, and I would be dismayed if she followed them. But as a parent I would want discipline to be used on the kids in the class who is disruptive. Can you imagine a teacher having to say say, “sorry kids, so and so is out of control and disruptive, but we cannot send him out of the class everyday”. (An exaggeration, but it could happen in DeKalb).

    Another question, why haven’t the audit reports been placed on this blog? Although it took a minute to find them under the staff heading, then navigate to audits, then look on the right for three small pdf icons.
    Because DCSD will now have the hierarchy of Charlotte-Mecklenberg, why go through spending money on these six audits, only to know that the superintendent was going to use C-M school district as her template for DCSD?

  10. melaniestef says:

    I hope someone can get rid of the furlough days. I think Dr. Atkinson wants to but McChesney and Jester are against it. We need help. Who else is running for the Board of Education?

  11. Who said anyone was against getting rid of furlough days? Nobody ‘likes’ furlough days. The bottom line is, the money is not there. Plain and simple. We apparently need to come to some kind of agreement as to where to cut. This is difficult.

  12. We did post the one audit that we received. I can’t find anymore according to your direction. Again, this is a community blog. The moderators are volunteers with full time ‘real’ jobs. We rely on the help and support of our readers to feed us information. If you have the exact link we would appreciate you sharing it. We will certainly upload those files in our FILES under the FACTS & SOURCES tab above. We appreciate teamwork. We don’t really appreciate being bossed around.

  13. @ melaniestef

    Please provide documentation of Superintendent Atkinson saying she wants to get rid of the furlough days and of Don McChesney and Nancy Jester saying they oppose doing that. You may be correct, but we need some proof.

  14. water not kool-aid says:

    I will try to send the information by email. I knew that I could not post the files in your facts and sources.Oops, I made an error in where to find the information. Here are the links:

    Click to access human-resources-audit.pdf

    Click to access curriculum-and-instruction-audit.pdf

    Click to access safe-school-alternative-program-audit.pdf

    1 Human Resources Karaton Services Inc Job Reclassification/Position Specifications Development & Implementation Completed $79,000.00
    2 Human Resources Huge & Associates HR Functions and Processes Audit Completed $45,000.00
    3 Strategic Management & Accountability Pughsley & Associates Strategic Management/Aligned Management System Implementation $45,000.00
    4 Curriculum & Instruction Education Planners LLC Curricula Programs & Professional Development Audit Completed $40,000.00
    5 School Leadership & Operations Dr. Ralph Taylor Safe School & Alternative Programs Audit Completed $10,000.00


    $219,000.00 Because they were broken down into small parts for different organizations to review, the BOE did not have to give approval of this $219,000 expenditure in addition to the other audit.

    Once again thank you for your quick response. I was in no way implying that your part time bloggers hurry to put out the data. I found the information by really just clicking around on the website.

  15. Thank you! This is extremely interesting! We will get it posted tomorrow …

  16. Marney Mayo says:

    There is a very straightforward reason that the accreditation folk consider it inappropriate for board members to involve themselves in the personnel complaints of individual staff members.

    The board functions as the Jury in complaints brought against the Superintendent.
    If an individual board member has prior knowledge of the specific complaint, that individual in effect becomes tainted and disqualified to serve. If a board member starts passing around specific accusations to other board members than either the complaining party or the superintendent can’t possibly have a fair trial later. The employee should go to the whistle blower hotline if they are being treated in a manner that is either illegal or against policy AND be prepared to be specific and factual. And the DA if the whistle blower hotline won’t follow up on something that they can prove is againt the law or policy.

  17. dekalbite2 says:

    They were married. I guess they still are.

  18. dekalbite2 says:

    @ water not koolaid
    “…any staff who contacts any BOE member will be dealt with up to and including termination……..Board members must get the superintendents approval to visit a school ”
    I believe that is SACS compliance. Some counties were put on probation by SACS because the BOE was “meddling” in the affairs that were the superintendent’s responsibility.

  19. justwatch says:

    The old way of doing things needs to change. We have many crummy principals at schools because the teachers lobbied board members to advocate for someone and the board member did. In the meantime, student achievement at those schools stinks, has gotten worse and no one is held accountable.

  20. Dunwoody Mom says:

    From the HR Audit that was posted:
    4. There has been a concern in the past that some board members occasionally attempt to influence hiring decisions

    As dekalbite2 stated, this is a real concern of SACS – continual meddling by certain BOE members in the day to day operations of the district. SACS has repeatedly reminded the BOE of this, but certain members continue to chose to ignore, thus the need for a policy to address this continued behavior.

  21. water not kool-aid says:” There was no need to vote on 133 positions as she had already done away with 91 instructional coaches, all of Title I, let go of prevention intervention and graduation coaches before she took this request to the board that Friday.” This is the same thing that happened this last Monday. The board voted to go ahead and approve the budget for Success for All. According to Kendra March that this vote will start the discussion to adopt Success for All to be used in the schools. Two days later Success for All boxes showed up in some schools. The principles were never informed that they would be using the program. I am sure that it would take longer than two days to get those boxes to the schools after discussions were started. I watched the video live on the Dekalb website on May 14th. Again, the board really never needed to vote, because Dr. Atkinson already had moved ahead before the budget and program had been approved.

  22. REMINDER: Comments by “Anonymous” will not be posted.

  23. water not kool-aid says:

    You and Dekalbite2 make valid points of the use of the policy. Many people rated my initial comment down. The problem with firing staff because they communicate with their elected official is ridiculous. I as a taxpaying Dekalb citizen am no longer allowed to contact my BOE official simply because I work with the school system? No one here has a problem with that.

  24. Fred in DeKalb says:

    **As dekalbite2 stated, this is a real concern of SACS – continual meddling by certain BOE members in the day to day operations of the district.**

    I recall commenting on the Grand Jury report that the members had an unrealistic expectation for Board members to know details about the day to day operations. Several chastised me for mentioning that. How can one evaluate the job an elected official should be doing if they don’t have a clear understanding of the separation of powers between the Board and superintendent.

    This is a good reminder by both Marney and Dunwoody Mom about the reason behind this new policy. The fact that Board members unanimously approved this policy should tell you something about it also.

  25. The audits are now posted. In fact, they have their own page under the FACTS & RESOURCES tab. We will continue to add to this page so please send us links as soon as you find them available. Appreciate all the teamwork here!

  26. dekalbite2 says:

    @ Fred in DeKalb

    “I recall commenting on the Grand Jury report that the members had an unrealistic expectation for Board members to know details about the day to day operations. ”

    There is big difference in BOE members being asked to know school system details by formally requesting the information and talking randomly to teachers and other employees. The BOE should be requesting comprehensive details about the school system from the superintendent or designated administrative personnel as part of the approval process. For example, the BOE has every right to request data regarding the effectiveness of multimillion dollar programs with respect to student achievement before they approve expenditures on that program. America’s Choice which cost between $8,000,000 to $10,000,000 a year was consistently approved by the BOE without ANY data showing its relation to increased student achievement in DeKalb. This went on for six years. The same thing happened with Springboard, another multimillion dollar program that lasted many years with no data showing its efficacy for DeKalb students?

    The BOE members NOT requesting comprehensive information before approving personnel and spending information has led to tens of not hundreds of millions of wasted taxpayer dollars. They did not do their due diligence. That is what the Grand Jury is referring to. Failure to do due diligence when spending taxpayers money is an egregious neglect of their fiduciary duty.

  27. dekalbite2 says:

    @ A Contributor
    @A Contributor
    Success for All needs to have clear student achievement objectives for the students of DEKALB, and then benchmarks need to be established to ensure this programs is meeting the educational objectives it said it will meet. The benchmark results should be shared with the BOE BEFORE they approve additional expenditures on the programs. DCSS does not have the money to fund programs that do not improve student achievement. We never did, but the past superintendents approved these tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars in learning program expenditures year after year with no data showing thir effectiveness for DEKALB students, and in fact many of the DCSS schools using these programs showed academic DECLINES.

    When DCSS spends money on scripted learning programs recommended by the superintendent and approved by the BOE, thousands of students forgo teachers directly instructing them in the classroom. For example, if you spend $10,000,000 on America’s Chocie (which is what they did year after year), this translates into lost opportunity for students in terms of real teachers. $10,000,000 divided by $65,000 (cost of a DCSS teacher with benefits) = 153 teachers. 153 content area (math, science, social studies or language arts) and grade level teachers could serve around 4,000 students, many of them struggling in classes so large that individual attention is impossible.

    This is why every dollar spent on learning programs needs to have proof of efficacy in terms of academic progress for DEKALB students.

    The BOE (and taxpayers) need to INSIST that benchmarks are instituted that will show the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of any learning program BEFORE approval. If NO measures of academic progresses are established, the BOE should not approve the expenditure. We cannot afford for the BOE to continue to approve the funding for learning programs and new departments of non teaching personnel when year after year no effectiveness in terms of student learning is shown. This is exactly how we got the financial and more importantly academic mess we are in now.

    Taxpayers should write their BOE members and Dr. Atkinson and ask what measures have been instituted to show if this program is effective for DEKALB students. It is not enough to cite Virginia students having success. Data needs to be shown for OUR students at reasonable times from inception of the program.

    Are parents happy that their children will be sitting in classes of 35+ while millions of dollars are spent on learning programs instead of teachers? Probably not. If children in classes are packed like sardines in a can, then the millions that will be spent on this learning program INSTEAD of teachers for the children need to have measurable objectives in terms of student achievement, those measurable objectives need to be instituted, and the results need to be presented to the BOE and made public for taxpayers.

  28. Miss Management says:

    My high school class of 1977 has been having a Facebook conversation around our upcoming 35th class reunion. People have been posting photos of our old classes in elementary school. I was so surprised to count no more than 18 in any class – ever. This was public school back in 1966-1970 or so. Simple lessons. Great field trips. Lots of outdoor time. We were like families. We’ve had great chats about our old teachers – so many of them were so loved by us all. They lived close to school in the same town and often we would stop by or go Trick or Treating at their homes. Great memories. Important childhood experiences. Add to this, lazy summers and outdoor fun at summer camp in August. Sad to think that I now feel “lucky” to have had that. All kids should have that.

  29. Tit For Tat says:

    When will Dekalb learn that there is no purchased educational program that can take the place of an experienced inspirational human teacher in the classroom.

  30. Same old, same old... says:

    Are you telling me that the current Associate Superintendent Ralph Taylor was paid $10,000 to do an analysis of his own department and say what he is going to do to reorganize it? Are you kidding me? If you don’t think that this isn’t the BIGGEST Friends and Family Plan payout EVER, I’ve got some swampland in South Georgia to sell you. He was brought here from Charlotte Mecklenburg (Atkinson and March’s old district) and right before he arrived, he received a fat paycheck while he did some research on DCSD? Don’t most people just get a paycheck to do that? She’s just CLew reincarnated. The Board should ask him to return that money. He had specific access to personnel records and budgets, apparently. Wouldn’t that imply that he was hired and hadn’t started? Why would he be drawing pay as a consultant?? And we wonder why we have a $73 million deficit. That’s $666.67 a page…with 2″ margins all the way around.

  31. Steve Smith says:

    Candidate qualifying starts tomorrow, but for now here are the people who have filed with the state to receive and spend funds for campaigning:

    District 2: Marshall Orson

    District 4: James T. Gilbert Jr. and Jim McMahan

    District 6: Melvin Johnson, Denise McGill, and Terriyln Rivers-Cannon

  32. Praying for DeKalb says:

    Don’t know the candidates for District 4 but district 2 should do well with Orson and 6 with Johnson. They are 2 individuals that have stayed connected with what is going on in the system and the board as community folks. We could use a few experienced bodies that really knows what it takes to educate children and has a genuine interest in making things better for all of DeKalb’s children and not their personal agendas.

  33. Dunwoody Mom says:

    Oh, please Marshall Orson cares only about Fernbank. Remember he was initimately involved in that nonsense called “Friends of DeKalb”, which really should have been named “Friends of Fernbank”.

  34. The Truth says:

    @ Water not Kool-aid & all DeKalb Taxpayers
    We have to look at the association of an elected officials relationships just like past performance evaluations. Melvin Johnson is relying on his personal “Old guard” friendship with Dr. Edward L. Bouie, Jr (The famous school named after his father) to be the highlight of his campaign.

    Well, Dr. Edward L. Bouie and his first wife (an HR Executive,) and second wife (Wendolyn Bouie) all moved swiftly up the ranks on my tax payers dollars. Just check the records in the I.T. Dept that Dr. Ed Bouie headed during his leadership. He hired and promoted the most past notable family members in DeKalb.

    You all are familiar with E.L. Miller Elementary, who was a notable principal. Well Dr. Bouie hired and promoted his son within 5 months in the I.T. Dept. Also the son of Former Board Member Frances Edwards was promoted as the same time by none other than Dr. Ed Bouie. Again and again, the son of Ms. Roundaville’s son hired and promoted by Dr. Ed Bouie.

    When will this learned behavior cease? Even after Ed Bouie left and was President of Argosy University, he helped an outside employee get a Principal’s position over 140 assistant principals.

    Someone please go to the Board and stop them from naming anymore schools after deceased Principals. This way they will not feel obligated to treat their sons and daughters like royalties from London. All of the Bouie’s retired with top heavy salaries.

    Therefore, if Melvin Johnson is riding on the coat tail of Dr. Edward L. Bouie, Jr then he will participate in the nepotism and is looking for his four children to be promoted ASAP.

    Bottom line I can not consider Dr. Melvin Johnson if he is teaming with Dr. Edward Bouie’s family and friends kickbacks.

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