The latest article in the AJC is very hard to read. Well, it’s not ‘hard’ to read as the content is shallow, but it’s depressing. It’s a one-on-one interview with Michael Thurmond. Granted, he’s new on the job, but his responses show his lack of understanding and no clear direction.
We cannot understand the conversation he describes with Mark Elgart of SACS:
“I asked [Elgart] if he is confident I can get the job done. He told me, ‘No.’ He followed up with: ‘Confidence is based on experience, and I don’t have any experience with you.’ But he said, ‘I do have faith you can get the job done.’ I told him ‘I couldn’t ask for any more than that.’ The truth is I couldn’t ask for any more. It was fair and honest.”
Elgart has no confidence but complete faith? Interesting.
And then Thurmond goes on to totally throw Atkinson under the bus:
Q: Do you know why no action was taken on the SACS to-do list from December until when you were hired?
A: “I hesitate because I don’t want to violate any legal confidences. Yes, I know why. I know what I’ve been told. Senior staff was directed not to contact SACS.”
Q: By whom? The former superintendent?
A: (Silent for a moment.) “Senior staff was told not to respond to SACS. I think that’s one of the more compelling unanswered questions from the state hearing. It was brought up over and over again by state board members: Why did DeKalb School District not move forthrightly to respond to the [SACS] letter on Dec. 18? Dr. Elgart said he heard nothing until we [Thurmond] reached out to him.”
I guess we’ll all have to hope that it really was due to Atkinson and Thurmond can make a turnaround happen. But it could take a while, as he is only in the ‘listening’ stage right now.
“I believe in three principals of leadership .. It’s the LLL, listening, learning and leading. I’m in the listening stage right now.”
Yes, we’ve been in that ‘stage’ three times now with three superintendents in under three years. We tell the same stories and give the same suggestions over and over and over again… And certainly, we will do it again soon, as Thurmond is only a temp.
Most importantly, he says this,
“Q: Have you or do you plan to request a forensic audit?
A: “On March 15, I have to present my 90 day-plan to the board. I would be surprised if that would not be one of my recommendations.”
Is he kidding? He darn well better do a forensic audit! We have been screaming for forensic audit since Lewis threw out the results of the one done by Ernst & Young in 2004!
In fact, this blog hounded Ramona Tyson who insisted that no audit existed, until she finally admitted that documents actually did exist after all and then produced four file boxes of paper from the audit. We posted the results of our dig through that paperwork here:
Then, Ramona Tyson stood before God and the public and promised a new forensic audit! She included a very specific timeline too – culminating in awarding a contract in October of 2011. Of course, she did mention that it could ‘change’ with the new superintendent, so we’re pretty sure they will throw Atkinson under the bus for that one as well…
Read here for our report of Tyson’s very empty promises:
We want to be positive. We really do. But we just keep going around and around and around and things just never get resolved. We have heard the same empty promises time and time again – to no avail.