So, let’s say Atkinson really did quit… who would be the best replacement?

Rumors are flying that Cheryl Atkinson has quit her $250,000 post as the superintendent of DeKalb County Schools.  Maureen Downey’s blog at the AJC speculates the resignation and has over 100 comments. If it’s true (which we are beginning to believe it is…) then what next? We’re pretty sure that by law, we must have a superintendent in place at all times – even if technically an interim.  And the minimum contract that can be extended is for one year.

The following names have been floated by bloggers as possible interims: Gary McGibbony (former DeKalb administrator who went to Gwinnett and then to the state), Kendra March, Ramona Tyson, Morcease Beasely and Kathy Howe.

We are big fans of Dr. McGibbony, however, we are pretty sure that if he were to take the job it would seriously mess up his state pension, so then we’re also pretty sure he’s not going to throw his hat in the ring.  The others all currently work for the system and could slide right into the seat. We haven’t really heard any names from elsewhere, except the former super from Rockdale, Sam King, who we advocated for last time, but the board never seriously considered. He is now a super in Virginia.

So, how about it? Who do we need now? What kind of person could possibly come along and lead DeKalb out of the abyss? What will be the repercussions for the system regarding Aktinson’s resignation (if it occurs). Weigh in … this is a brainstorming session – all ideas will be posted!

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106 Responses to So, let’s say Atkinson really did quit… who would be the best replacement?

  1. dekalbite2 says:

    Gary McGiboney has retried from DeKalb and taken a fulltime job with the State DOE. Why would it mess up his pension to come back to DeKalb? I don’t think he can collect retirement from TRS and work full time for the DOE which also contributes to TRS so it shold be a wash for him either way except as Interim he would make more with DeKalb – although he would probably have 10 times the work cut out for himself. Of all the names in your article, he is the only one I can see that would not set the parents/taxpayers up in arms. Can you really see parents/taxpayers accepting any of the personnel you mention considering the last Interim worked as Interim for as long as Dr. Atkinson’s tenure (assuming she is resigning)?

  2. dekalbite2 says:

    Should read:
    Gary McGiboney has retired from DeKalb……

  3. Beverly Fraud says:

    I think Atkinson would be a great actor. Can you picture her as Colonel Kilgore in a remake of Apocalypse Now? “I love the smell of incompetence in the morning; it smells like…Victory! Victory in every classroom.”

  4. Beverly Fraud says:

    “Weigh in … this is a brainstorming session – all ideas will be posted!”

    Good; then let’s look at options: How about gathering a consortium of physicists, ethicists and philanthropists in an attempt to contact an asteroid, in the hopes that it will have a moment of Christ-like consciousness, and sacrifice itself by descending up the entire DCSS apparatus?

    The sad thing about the preceding statement? As far fetched as that sounds, it may be THE most realistic option of having a quality public school system in DeKalb County.

  5. disgusted says:

    If either Kendra March, Morcease Beasley, or Ramona Tyson are hired as interim superintendent DeKalb will lose accreditation.

  6. Terry says:

    If you google his name, you might discover an article co-written by Garry McGiboney about student achievement… might be worth a read…..

  7. no name says:

    Give the job to Kendra March – she is the person who has really been running DCS and I believe in karmic payback!

  8. realityscout says:

    no name, WHOEVER has been running DCSS has been doing a terrible job and shouldn’t keep doing it.

  9. Undercover reformer says:

    There is noone – NOT ONE – individual inside dekalb right now that can take this interim position on in a way that would be positive. We need an objective, business/education minded (yes, they do exist – my stepson has an MBA from Harvard, worked with Michelle Rhee in DC, and now works for the gates foundation) individual with both the humility and bravado to let matters of ego go and step up to do the dirty work. Names? I’m all for dr mcgiboney. Brad Bryant? His name was tossed around during the last interim crisis. Kendra march – you might as well drop a bomb on the entire district. When you rue the day Atkinson arrived, you should simply include March in your thoughts. She is toxic.

  10. Terry says:

    I totally agree about March being toxic… and WHY in this world would tyson EVER be considered. She is a HUGE part of our mess!!!

  11. Dedicated Dekalb Teacher says:

    The person I would love to see at the helm, but is now at the state, is Tony Eitel. He was the head of Assessment and Accountability in DeKalb. I have never worked with someone so professional, and so phenomenal with children. He was a fantastic principal. His faculty respected him and he knew the name of every child in his school. I always thought he would be an incredible leader for DeKalb. However, I seriously doubt he would come back…

  12. Embarrassed Employee says:

    None of the names listed should be considered. They all share the same lack of respect for schoolhouse personnel. The palace has to be detoxed in order for progress to be made. Beneath Atkinson’s layer, there remains a layer from the CLewis regime. Their climb to palace status can be linked back to one person who was very close to CLewis.
    We need a new look for DeKalb, the system needs to be rebranded. If the palace is cleaned out, there will be money to restore pay and stop furlough days. These are very damning to teacher morale.
    If DeKalb was moving in the right direction, the month of December would have been a happier time for employees. You would be astonished how many employees work more than one job, have frequented pay day loan advances, etc. These are not choices made because they are poor stewards of their money, it’s because their pay has DECREASED over the last 5 years. All the while more is expected out of them. DeKalb could have worked with local businesses to obtain services and or items to show good will to improve morale. Do you all remember that piece of paper saying thank you coupled with the milk and cookies from the cafeteria from Atkinson? How did that make you feel?
    These are the reasons why we need a business minded Super, with corporation experience to run DeKalb. They understand you can’t keep crapping on your worker bees and expect to keep getting honey for the queen. It’s ok to bring in coffee and donuts for staff. It makes them start the day off positively. It’s ok to write a note thanking a teacher for staying a few minutes late to attend a committe meeting that ran over. It’s ok to to tell a para to take a few minutes extra for lunch after they covered a class for an absent teacher. Its great to buy pizza for the custodial crew for making the cafeteria look amazing for last nights PTA meeting. Take care of the people who ultimately take care of you and your business. The area superintendents should model this and help principals to appreciate the heart of the school system.
    The biggest indicator that something is gravely wrong with DeKalb is how people celebrate “making it to the County Office”. That’s all you hear, o so and so went to to the county office. It’s no longer enough to be just a great teacher, talented para, super custodian, everyone looks to “moving on up, to the deeeeeee-luxe cubicle in the palace”. That’s how you get an instant pay raise, moving on up to the palace.

  13. DeKalb Observer says:

    We should get Charles Knapp, former UGA president. He’s trained as an economist and is a brilliant leader. He lives locally, is semi-retired and does not suffer fools gladly. I wonder if he’d be willing to come in a clean up.

  14. H.A. Hurley says:

    It will be a huge undertaking to clean out the mess festering in DCS. It has developed such a culture of incompetence that many employees have grown up with. Many started young and have no other reference point, and don’t know any other way of doing business. The reinforcement for ‘doing a good job’ is moving to the central office, stepping on people, getting away with just about everything because they are protected, feeling OK with treating teachers and thousands of hard-working employees like second-class citizens. Many underperforming schools have turned the lights off on teachers and children long time ago. High performing schools have the parents watching closely, and will make it inspite of all the mess. It does not get much worse. All the present safe-guards are not equipped to address such ruthless, unethical and criminal behaviors. Who, in their right mind, would do this year after year? I always recommend to new people moving to Atlanta, please do not move into DCS, APS or CCS. Or, send your little ones to private school. How sad! DCS used to be the BEST system in GA. People bought their homes for that reason alone. Thanks to all the criminals who have ruined it and ONLY lined their own pockets, and forgot about our children. They didn’t forget, they used them to get rich. Unbelievable!

  15. Disgusted in Dekalb says:

    What I’ve read about Dr. McGiboney makes it sound like he would be great at putting DCSS on the right track as far as its main mission of teaching students. And it sounds like he would be particularly strong in the area of retaining struggling students. But Dekalb also has years of financial mismanagement to recover from and it seems that this would require an entirely different skill set. Is it possible to find all of these abilities in one person? Or should DCSS look for a team? Perhaps co-superintendents who, if they are men or women of vision and integrity, could produce over time financial stability, satisfied teachers, and high-achieving students. Even if it would cost twice as much, it would be far worth it in the end. Look at how much Crawford Lewis cost us—and he didn’t have either skill set.

  16. Marney Mayo says:

    James Bostic as a corrective interim for about a year…

    He is no longer on the state board and he is at a very different level than we have ever played in before…but I have watched him give a dressing down to people whose priorities were themselves rather than the children and I would love to give him a run at both the administration and the board.

  17. Procopius from Constantinople says:

    At the end of the day losing accreditation might be the best route to go for Dekalb County. Once at the bottom of the barrel wholesale cleaning house can begin, with little credence for all the caterwauling that will ensue. I expect the beast would consume itself, turf battles, bus throwing under galore. So much so that C Lewis would probably sit back and say “Thank goodness I’m out of that place” 🙂

    One thing that makes me wonder though is the super bailing now, on her terms, before the content of the text messages are revealed? If so, what else is in the text messages? Is offering someone their plum government job back in exchange for dropping a request for information tantamount to bribery? Could there be an indictment in a super’s future? Quarter million dollar jobs don’t exactly hang from trees…….

  18. September says:

    Now would be a great time to bring in someone who could help us set up a portfolio district. If you want to get rid of the administrative bloat and have better local control of your neighborhood schools, this is the best option. A good interim superintendent could help us make the transition.

  19. Goodteacher says:

    Be still my beating heart…please let there be a light at the end of this tunnel. Find someone who will shake us up, someone that knows that the teachers and those that will make the impact are in the schoolhouse. Hold us accountable, but come into the schools and look at what is working and what is broken. Someone that does not believe in burdening our principals with ridiculous reports that are due daily, but hold principals responsible for actually running a building. Give us someone that does not have such a fragile ego that they require a posse to pay them homage. Hopefully this person can drive their own car, and will come into a school and buy a school lunch and sit in a filthy lunchroom and realize that children deserve more and a report won’t fix it.

    Let’s all think positive thoughts and surely we can find someone that is not a self serving egotist…What is Warren Buffet doing? We could just be an interesting little project for him.

  20. d says:

    My biggest fear if Atkinson does go now is the fact that so many principals who were involuntarily transferred for this year were told they have one year to show what they can do or they go – and if there is a superintendent change now, they my not go like they need to go.

  21. sam123 says:

    Under Georgia House Bill 208, retirees under TRS will not be able to return to work after June 2013. If they are retired employees, their jobs will cease. If he a retired state employee of the teacher’s retirement system, he would not be able to return to work. If he did, he would have to give up his retirement income.
    I don’t know if McGiboney is a retired employee under TRS.

  22. Insider 1.0 says:

    Percy Mack, Sam King, Tony Eitel, Terry Segovis, Bob Moseley. All have the institutional knowledge, people skills, and work ethic to get us through this transition period. However, I don’t know if any of them would want to. No one who is part of the current regime should even be considered, even if they were in place before Dr. A got here. The well has been poisoned.

  23. Interim Super should be someone with no ties to DCSD. Someone who can come in and clean house. The way it was done in the past, is no longer acceptable. Tyson, Beasley, March, Ramsey and the rest of the Clew Crew MUST be shown the door. Atkinson’s hires should resign and then re-apply, if they want to work for the NEW staff.

    Sorority, fraternity, church, friend or family should not determine staffing level or even guarantee a job. 49 million dollars over two years was distributed to these folks and what do the stakeholders have to show for it….NOTHING! The Palace cleansing should have taken place the week Clew was indicted. Instead, the accused selected the interim and nothing changed. Matter of fact, it only got worse.

    TOTAL CLEANSING!!!!!!!! The schools can survive several months, while the Palace is given a new coat of competence.

  24. Guy Midvale says:

    I don’t know who the best interim superintendent would be. I know it can not be anyone from within the district.

    I agree with Procopius from Constantinople that if she is leaving (Please let it be true.) it is due to the text message fiasco. I think the BOE saw what was in those texts and are telling her to get out. I would be disappointed if they are negotiating with her on a buy-out, but it would not surprise me. Any buy-out she gets will be significantly less expensive in terms of money and damage to the district than the cost of not showing her the door.

    I only hope if Dr. Atkinson is leaving (Please let it be true.) the BOE makes sure every one of the cronies she brought into the county goes with her. Why not take two steps forward while going in that direction?

    That said, I want to remind everyone that Dr. Atkinson has done two correct things. She has begun the process of moving the county from a cash accounting to an accrual accounting system and is transitioning the financial reporting to align with the Georgia DOE standards. The opportunities for misusing funds should decrease IF the county starts sharing that information with “stakeholders” aka parents and taxpayers.

    Two ‘rights’ do not make up for a multitude of ‘wrongs’. Dr. Atkinson is a multitude of ‘wrongs’.

  25. NOT Terry Segovis. Horrible experiences with him as an area super. And I can’t get on board with ANYONE currently on staff because they will be hampered by current relationships, a board that wants to run the show through a weak interim, etc.

    Brad Bryant. Or, here’s a crazy idea that would show SACS and the State Board this group wants and embraces change: Nancy Jester. yeah, that’ll never happen.

    However, likely the School board has already chosen an interim and is presently negotiating with them. IF Atkinson has resigned, they have to name an interim at the same time they announce Atkinson’s resignation. State law.

  26. If the board is removed from their duties, we would like to see Nancy Jester as the Interim Superintendent. She knows the players and which ones are the bad apples. She isn’t afraid to do what needs to be done and is transparent in her actions. She always has the best interest of all the children in mind and can lobby the politicians for what she wants to see happen on a larger scale, too.

    Go Nancy!

  27. dcsddesperate says:

    I can’t imagine how you could have had horrible experiences with Terry Segovis. I always had very positive experiences with him, as have many others that I know. Even when his hands were tied by politics and system chicanery, he did the very best he could surrounded by incompetents, liars, and other F/F. Results may not have been what one wanted, but his integrity and efforts to do the right thing or advance the right philosophies within a corrupt system never were in question.

  28. Embarrassed Employee says:

    Bob Mosley is a fair candidate. He is humble, fair, and personable. However, I wonder how much he has left in the tank. I do not know how deep he was in with CLewis.

  29. DeKalb needs a rainmaker, not a personable, likeable friend of the staff.

  30. joey54 says:

    1) Charles Knapp 2) Nancy Jester (though I do believe she would need a body guard) and 3) Garry McGibboney, in that order. When push came to shove, Bob Mosely would protect his job first, so I would not support putting him in the superintendent’s position. Brad Bryant was always a politician before anything else. I would not support him either. Or, m
    aybe we could somehow entice Errol Davis to come on over from APS…..

  31. Embarrassed Employee says:

    I guess we all have qualifications for the Super, and they are all different. A fair opportunity is important to me. A super that will speak to the staff and ask the same of his staff is also important. There are other things as all my posts indicate, but someone mentioned Mosley I weighed in on him.

  32. Terry says:

    Segovis…. are you freakin kidding me??? He allowed a principal to stay in place that CLEARLY should have been canned, ONLY because she was a “niece of a former super”…. THANK ALL THE POWERS THAT BE… she is GONE now!!! AND YES, I know (once again) from personal experience that this (not to be named by me) former principal got her “Dr.” title during school hours and behind closed doors with some of her “F&F” group. This stupid behavior MUST stop! While some of you think mosley and/or beasley would be great…. STOP RIGHT THERE. This county will never improve if we are stuck with ramona tyson’s “like minds” friends. The nest must be cleaned.

  33. Qualifications: a recognition that the individual schools – teachers, students, and administrators – should have far more self-determination and input than the entrenched, redundant staff in the central office. An ability to wade through the “that’s how we’ve always done it” inbred central office staff. Strong relationships with the business community and state education bureaucrats. And STRONG FINANCIAL ACUMEN.

    I do not believe an education degree, a doctorate in administration, a long-time background in DCSS administration, or a teaching background are necessary for an interim superintendent. We’ve tried that. Didn’t work. Thinking outside the box, I agree with several posters that we need someone with a business background to “take care of business” in the central office.

  34. Embarrassed Employee says:

    What “good teacher” said.

  35. How do you know this about the state law, dunwoodyminute? What would happen if a super just keeled over one day? What would happen in a case like that? Or if the super just had a big accident or a total breakdown – and suddenly quit… Is there a temporary chain of command that could be placed until an interim could be found?

  36. One thing for sure- WHOMEVER steps in to this role has a challenge of a lifetime and YEARS of deep doo doo to shovel through. In order for this person to even come in and remotely make an impact they would almost have to start with a clean slate- You have so much bureaucracy, nepotism, corruption, deceit, power and old money that is deep rooted it would be like pulling out the root system of a 500 year old tree.

    First things First-with all the speculation and rumors floating around, we wait with baited breath to see what really is going to happen next- based on the players its anybody’s game. Meanwhile as we play these adult games I continue to ask- WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?????

  37. I don’t suppose Dr. Duron is available?… Too bad we missed the opportunity to hire him last time…

  38. Very good questions DSW. It’s yet another law with unintended consequences – forcing school boards to make very quick decisions when they really need to TAKE THEIR TIME. If a Super was abruptly not available (for all the possible scenarios you list), my understanding is that they’d have to name an interim immediately. I suppose they could also name Interim #1 “benchwarmer,” then Interim #2 “until they find a permanent replacement.”

  39. @Procopious: Is offering someone their plum government job back in exchange for dropping a request for information tantamount to bribery?

    I asked that very question a while ago. It seems to me that even posing this offer would put Ramsey’s law license in jeopardy… perhaps that’s why he didn’t ‘technically’ do it himself – he got his state rep buddy Vincent Fort to be the intermediary. Tricky…

    BTW – what ever happened to this part of the story?

    School board chairman Eugene Walker told Channel 2 Action News the board’s outside legal counsel was ready to deliver a report on the text and email controversy.

    The board said they would discuss it behind closed doors Wednesday.

    Belcher was asked to leave, but walker told him, “We did not receive the report today. And, we will not receive it today. It will be presented next week, next Wednesday.”

    “Is this going to be a public document, once it’s presented,” Belcher asked Walker.

    “I do not know. I’m going on the basis of what legal tells me,” Walker told Belcher.

    It will be at least a week, maybe longer, before we find out what the text and email investigation turned up.

    Lies. It’s always a bunch of lies. There is no ‘report’ and we will never know what was in the text messages because a quid pro quo was performed and Atkinson has not been seen or heard from around the offices since her father’s illness and rumored death. (There has been no announcement regarding this and we can’t find an obit, so we can’t confirm.)

  40. @Denise: What children?
    (Yes, that was tongue in cheek.)

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