DeKalb has chosen a new communications officer.


We have been informed that DeKalb has chosen a new communications officer.  His name is Quinn Hudson and here are his credentials according to his profile at Linked In:

  • Member of the Operating Board at the Commerce Club of Atlanta (the same club where Gene Walker sponsored Crawford Lewis as a member).
  • The Hudson Group, Inc.
  • The Global Soap Project
  • And… Michael Thurmond’s Communications Director for his unsuccessful 2010 bid for a Georgia U.S. Senate seat.  (Read more about that here: Your morning jolt: Behind Michael Thurmond’s run for the U.S. Senate)

In that AJC blog post, Jim Galloway wrote, “Thurmond is, like Attorney General Thurbert Baker or former Gov. Roy Barnes, an A-list Democrat – often mentioned as a candidate for higher office, but never taking the plunge.”

Coincidentally, there is a seat opening in the 4th district of the U.S. House – the seat currently held by Hank Johnson.  Oh, and there’s a seat opening in the U.S. Senate – the seat currently held by Saxby Chambless.

A press release about the first day of school has the word “Thurmond” in it five times.

We found that interesting.

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58 Responses to DeKalb has chosen a new communications officer.

  1. concerned citizen says:

    The tangled spider web has added one more creepy line from Thurmond to Huson – so it’s stretching Walker-Thurmond-Hudson. I thought Thurmond was a “recovering” politician? Of course not. Now, just who puts in a Communications Director – not’s not communication – that’s F &F Wow, Wow, Wow Thurmond is surrounding himself with more layers of protection.

  2. concerned citizen says:

    A couple of ideas for the new communications guy (1) what happened to the daily 4:00 PM briefing on the schools by your boss (2) explain why at 10:00 AM Sunday Aug 18 we have 67 teaching positions in elem, mid and high school, 32 spec ed teachers, and 40 spec ed para positions. I’m not counting academic coaches and other fluff (such as your job!), many, many custodial and food service jobs, you know, services that are important (3) please communicate with us about Thurmond and Midvale prin getting it on in public? What consequences will they both face?

  3. Longing for Integrity says:

    DCSS – never boring and always surprising, or more correctly, shocking. Was this a new position or a replacement? And how much is he going to cost the tax payers? Will he be working on DCSS issues or getting his boss ready for a run?

  4. H.A. Hurley says:

    Such a Deal!
    Having Thurmond’s new press secretary, for any office he wants to run for when he grows up, working and getting paid for by us, is too coincidental. A taxpayer SpinMeister and career maker!

    If they truly cared about communication with the public, they should have done that all along. The media was and is always more than eager to share EverythingDCS. DCS owes it to the public to use Twitter and any means necessary to send out information – daily. APS has figured this out and informs the public almost too much now. Better too much than not enough!

    This has $$$ & Fame written all over it. Padding Thurmond’s resumé? The video of his interview at Midvale ES and his ‘Don’tSqueezeTheCharmin’ moment, while utterly euphoric and giggly, aught to help with voters, or NOT!
    Professional Politicians are exhausting and nauseating! They need too much attention, too expensive and generally do not have enough intellect to do their own laundry. Well, that fits! However, it does not help our students and teachers. No matter where we look, our school system is still in such a mess.
    *** Putting a shine on a turd will not work.
    It is only done with hard purposeful meaningful work, which is not sexy or glamorous or full of photo-ops. Do those people still exist? I happen to think that they do, just not in the current DCS leadership pool.

  5. Dekalbite2 says:

    Mr. Thurmond has established NO quantifiable measurable student achievement objectives and means of meeting those objectives. Taxpayers/parents are tired is platitudes and excuses from this highly paid group of administrators. Mr. Thurmond is as Ms. Downey said – short on details.

  6. concerned citizen says:

    I would appreciate a comment from the comm director *what a laugh” about Josh Williams, whose colossal screw-ups as facilities manager and AC and trailers has been so awful. And on top of that, he parks his company car in the principal’s spot on the first day of School. I realize that he was hired by Pat Pop and sanctioned by the divine Atkinson, but isn’t he just a little too arrogant and incompetent for words! OH, since he’s the comm mgr, I’m sure he can give us a list of the fourteen owners of the company cars.

  7. I can’t find our new DCSD on Twitter. That does not bode well.

  8. H.A. Hurley says:

    DCSD Twitter has not sent a Tweet since 7/3/2013. All other systems tweet info throughout the day. Important info!
    Check out APS…they finally are getting it together. APS twitter is highly responsive and will respond personally to questions. Impressive!
    Poor DCSD is so pathetic and pitiful. We are so far from 21st Century. Wireless is useless if they don’t think of communicating they way residents and staff do. Per Mr. Thurmond: our world is flat! He is speaking from DCSD experience, not highly informed in a new concept. Poor Michael!

  9. concerned citizen says:

    You are being too nice, H.A!!! Toughen up to deal with Thurmond, I won’t say “man up, because you’re too smart to be a man.

  10. dekalbite2 says:

    If Quinn isn’t a quintessential (no pun intended) example of hiring “Friends and Family” I don’t know what is. How can Mr. Thurmond hire his former communications manager and then say the “Friends and Family” connections are no longer in DeKalb?

  11. Midvale Dad says:

    Another aspect of this is Mr. Hudson started the Friday before school started, Aug. 9. In Mr. Thurmond’s Ninety Day Action Plan the communications department was to be put back together before the end of July. It was only Mr. Hudson on Wednesday, Aug. 14th.

    For those who were not following along last fall, Dr. Atkinson eliminated the communications department and was outsourcing press releases to Dickerson Communication. Most of the real work and the social media were handled by Lillian Govus who was a manager in the IT department. She left after the 4th of July. There was/is also one person who does all the channel 24 stuff. Interestingly, the communications department had a budget last year of $500,000. Dickerson was paid $156,000, but it isn’t clear what he did to earn it. The communications department is not broken out in the monthly financial report so we can not see how much more of the $500,000 was spent.
    Mr. Hudson was hired to “rebuild trust with internal and external stakeholders”. I think he will have a hard time being successful when his boss continues doing the very things that caused us to become distrustful in the first place.

  12. howdy1942 says:

    More of the same. No change. Status quo. Does the Board have to rubber stamp him?

  13. Once we saw this bullet point:
    And… Michael Thurmond’s Communications Director for his unsuccessful 2010 bid for a Georgia U.S. Senate seat.

    Any SEO (Google search) Geek would raise an eyebrow… the first article posted about school had the word “Thurmond” in it 5 times… Brilliant! Anyone want to place bets as to which Washington seat Thurmond will announce he’s running for?

    BTW — if anyone knows anyone else who tried to apply for this job, please send us an email at the blog:

  14. H.A. Hurley says:

    Mr.Thumond has been such a distraction in DCSD. He doesn’t have the skills intellectually, experience and (now we truly know) the people skills to be the interim superintendent. The quicker he leaves and gets on with his life, the better it will be for DCSD.
    I am concerned that his PR SpinMeister has been hired. This appears to be conflict of interest and we should NEVER pay for Thurmond’s run for political office, or recording his photo-ops in DCSD.
    The Midvale Grip Story is still hard to put behind us. Someone from the State needs to intervene per his condescending sexist behaviors. A public apology is needed toward the Principal of Midvale ES.

  15. Former teacher says:

    Just wondering–is the board looking at all for a permanent super? Wasn’t Thurmond sort of an emergency interim to fill an unexpected vacancy?. Silly me thought that meant his “interim” would be too brief for him to cause significant damage.

  16. concernedmom30329 says:

    Rebuild trust? First, something needs to change….

  17. Stan Jester says:

    Superintendent Search Update
    A friend of mine followed up recently with the board asking them, ” Can you give our community an update on the search for a permanent superintendent? When do you anticipate the search will begin?”. These are the responses she received:

    Marshall Orson
    With regard to any effort to find a permanent Supt, I believe we must first complete the process of evaluating our interim Supt, a process that will conclude by the end of next month. At that juncture, we will be in a better position to make a decision on leadership.

    It remains too early to make any personal decision about running for reelection. My focus and energy currently is on working collectively with my fellow Board members and the Supt to achieve good governance for the school system.

    We remain committed to tackling the range of issues related to teachers’ working conditions, including compensation and class size. In the short term, compensation is likely to be the first area we can address given the constrained financial situation under which we are working.

    Thad Mayfield
    The short answer to the question is that the board has not set a date to begin a superintendent search.

    The Board to date has not discussed a superintendent search. Our immediate priorities a to approve a budget, continue to assess what is needed to improve the system. Additionally, Mr. Thurmond’s 90 days plan period ends July 31st, after which time we will evaluate his performance. We will use his performance as a data point to consider in the process of assessing our needs in a superintendent.

    I will add that we have issued a Request for Proposal to engage a consultant to help us develop a strategic plan by or near the end of the year (2013). The results of the plan will be instrumental in determining the skills and qualities that we will need in the next superintendent.

    Dr. Michael Erwin
    The issue has not come up for the board to discuss it as a whole. We are trying to work with Mr. Thurmond to stabilize the district right now and improve our relationship with the community.

    John Coleman
    Thanks for your note. We have not initiated a search at this time, and I am not sure the precise timeline on which we plan to. As we put the budget behind us and enter strategic planning, I’ll raise this question with my colleagues.

    Dr. Joyce Morley
    As a component of the board being “intentional and methodical” in selecting a permanent superintendent, we must not be hasty in doing so either. We are working hard to bring stability to our school system. Therefore, we are careful to not make the mistakes of the past.

    Please be patient with the board and the Interim Superintendent as we work fervently to stabilize our system, ensuring excellence in education, as well as academic success for ALL DeKalb County students.

  18. concerned citizen says:

    Stan, once again, thank you for the information. It boils down to they have done nothing to find a permanent supt and in fact they are allowing Thurmond to run amuck, which he is doing. The board is a huge disappointment, but I didn’t realize until recently that all of new members were F&F! No wonder DeKalb doesn’t get anything right – like trailers and teachers! We just are going nowhere.

  19. concerned citizen says:

    Yes, that is certainly a respectable list of F&F – great job. Let’s add: Josh Williams, Tyson, Stacy Stepney, Drake, there are others. I’ll have to draw this out.

  20. concerned citizen says:

    I want to add a few more names to F&F: Beasley and Simpson.

  21. concerned citizen says:

    It just hit me after reading MidvaleDad that Hudson got a car, too! Oh,,,,boy…Now we understand that Hudson was in place as soon as Thurmond was. There was never a position “open.” F&F took it, and he’s hard at work.

  22. howdy1942 says:

    Why do we need to evaluate Thurmond before we begin the process of searching for a new superintendent? I also thought that Thurmond was “interim” and that does mean that he is there until we can find someone permanent. What has this board done to improve relations with the community? What has this board done to help improve the lot of our teachers? What has this board done to reduce our legal expenses? OK – maybe they did something with Heery, but now we have the TSA issue and this is more legal expenses. At least what the other board did, they did out of ignorance and incompetence, with perhaps two exceptions. This board is more of the same – passive, blah blah blah, rubber stamp, friends and family, get along and get along. We need to shake up the DCSS and get the focus back on the classroom and the teachers.

  23. wiserthanmyself says:

    Did anyone else notice another aspect of that creepy speech with Thurmond mauling the principal? His appearance ..he almost looks like he’s in a trance, mouthing platitudes with a very phony smile and fixed stare. And it goes on and on…an example of insincerity if ever I saw one. That nutty smile…and dissociation between what he’s saying and his facial expression. This does not look like a man who can be trusted.

  24. McAllister says:

    You are so right.

    So we have a new spinmeister who can generate campaign style PR for Thurmond but some kids still have no teachers or even classrooms. Let’s not forget the new wheels for the administrators. Thanks to all the politicians who created this new mess and brought us to this point. They need to be held accountable too.

  25. Dekalbite2 says:

    Mr. Thurmond MUST establish quantifiably measurable objectives for increasing student achievement. That is his main job – moving ALL students forward academically. Does he not realize that parents/taxpayers will be looking at the rate of student achievement as compared to other metro school systems at the end of the school year? Improving student achievement is his primary responsibility. If he cannot improve student achievement to the level of demographically comparable metro school systems, he will have failed as the superintendent since the school system ONLY exists to provide content mastery of math, science, language arts and social studies. Please let Mr. Thurmond know that his job is to educate students at the level of their peers. If he cannot do that, he needs to move on out of the job as the instructional leader of our school system.

  26. bettyandveronica1 says:


  27. Midvale Dad says:

    The board isn’t going to start searching for a new superintendent until after Dec. when SACS comes back. The rotating leadership of the district is one of the concerns they had.
    However, where in the budget is the money for the search. The search for Atkinson had a budget of over $60K. I asked about this before the budget was approved, but of course got no answer.

    Am I the only one who doesn’t get any response from this board or the administration?

  28. H.A. Hurley says:

    Midvale Dad ~
    You are not the only one who receives NO ANSWERS FROM ADMINISTRATION and/or BOE.
    We could start a long list of DC residents and parents who are being SNUBBED by our public educators. One reason, I suspect, is to keep us in the dark because a shell game depends on illusion, deception and speed.
    The practice of communicating with DCSD starts at the top. When they don’t do it, then one cannot expect communication at the school level. Returning emails by principals and staff at the school level is poor at best. No excuses for it…it is just the DCSD conducts business. P**s Poor!

  29. Truth Seeker says:

    Mr. Jester, thanks for your polling of the BOE and their positions on the superintendent search. I think you have shown that there is no such work being done. The BOE is currently trying to find a way to renew Mr. Thurmond’s contract. He is not planning on going anywhere. I predict that by the time he is gone the county will be out a half million or more dollars. The responses by the BOE were almost gibberish. It is really evident that they do not have a clue. Coleman is still looking for his office. Moreley clearly knows nothing about how important moving in the direction of a permanent “professional superintendent” is. Wasn’t the previous board criticized for taking too long to find a superintendent. What does Dr. Elgart say about that now? Have things changed? It was once important , but no longer is a priority? Orson uses many words to say nothing. It is contradictory to say the BOE is working on teacher compensation yet admits that they are under a “constrained financial situation”… Of course they seem to be finding bags of money everywhere now that Thurmond and Bell are there. Poor Mr. Perrone. He must have been terribly overmatched.

    If you haven’t got a plan for a new superintendent at this time JUST SAY IT. It is ok to tell the truth.

  30. thedeal2 says:

    More money to adults who don’t interact with students: communications director (salary?) and RFC for consultants (more adults who won’t interact with students). Disgusting.

  31. DeKalb Inside Out says:

    @Betsy Parks, Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.

  32. momfromhe11 says:

    Watching coverage of the news conference at McNair (I am SO thankful no one was hurt). Sadly, one of my first reactions was to wonder if Quinn coached Thurmond. Sleeves rolled up, necktie loosened, and actually interrupting an interview with the police chief to get the camera on him…

  33. concerned citizen says:

    I thought Thurmond was pathetic at McNair today. His dopey smile, his constant fidjetting, hopping around like a kangaroo, interrupting the police chief but most of all, his OBVIOUS need for recognition. Even if Quinn coached him, and I know he did, momfromhell, he(Quinn) can’t make a silk purse with a sow’s ear. Thurmond was trying to be the hero of the situation and so not succeeding. He was so far into himself he couldn’t call the principal’s name! It was another embarrassment. Each shenanigan gets more grotesque. He’s a desparate man, from his glazed look and running- over mouth. He said the same thing over and over. We’re all sorry for the school. Credit the principal, teachers, staff,the adorable children, and police and leave out the politics and the so-called supt. !

  34. howdy1942 says:

    @Midvale Dad – Sadly, you are probably right about searching for a new superintendent. Mr. Thurmond is a product of the old board and is not likely to garner the support in the community that he needs to be successful in the position. I think that SACS is under a lot of pressure from a lot of people at many different levels to “bless” Dekalb. Other than this current board being “nice” to each other, I am not aware of any bold steps it has taken to resolve the DCSS’ issues. I had expected so much more and had certainly hoped that by this time we would be well on the road to searching for a new superintendent. It seems to me that the search process itself as well as the result of that search would be of great interest and concern to SACS. The search process is certainly one effort that this board should have initiated.

    A second decision that this board should have made is to settle this TSA case – the DCSS board made a commitment and it needs to honor that commitment. It should have already initiated talks with the teachers to settle this matter and stop this continued infatuation that the previous board has had with lawyers and courts.

    A third decision that this board should have made would have been to deny the purchase of those “service sedans” for those administrators. Given the loss of benefits and the addition of furlough days forced by the DCSS on our teachers, the decision to purchase those cars for administrators was just wrong and gives all of us the impression that this board is asleep and passive.

    On paper, the members of this appointed board seemed to have a lot of credentials and I would have expected more questions and more action than we have seen. I miss Nancy Jester, her research, her questions, and her knowledge of just what was really going on. She puts this new board to shame.

  35. Stan Jester says:

    At the 04/03/2013 Board Meeting With SACS, Elgart solidified the Interim Superintendent’s position and the board’s role as rubber stamp saying

    “Stability is absolutely critical. You cannot have the Superintendent position be a rotating position. You cannot have it constantly going in and out, based on political differences and political … If you have the right person, you need that person in place for a long time to make a difference in a system of this magnitude and complexity. You need a stable board. “

  36. H.A. Hurley says:

    DCS has not had stability for years! Having someone without credentials, experience and knowledge is not stability, but a pipe dream! Mr.Thurmond is trying to calm the masses with inappropriate repeated schmoozing. Not appropriate for a 21st century superintendent. May have worked when we were all uninformed and school systems were not so complex. We need ALL BRAIN CELLS ON BOARD! No more schmoozing and preaching the same old rhetoric. So exhausting and it makes all of us look so dumb!

  37. Midvale Dad says:

    @howdy1942 I think Mr. Thurmond came into his position with a lot of skeptical support from the the community. I wanted to see bold steps. I was even willing to wait while he “learned the ropes” and agreed with him that making change “just for the sake of change” is not productive.

    However, DeKalb County Schools NEEDS change because it is a sinking ship on fire. Thurmond has now made a series of decisions based on the bad advice of the Palace employees which have disappointed and discouraged me. He has promoted the same people who ran the district into the ground. For example, Ramona Tyson (Director, Strategic Management) could not manage her way out of a paper bag, but she is going to get paid $160,000 this year with $10,000 budgeted for travel. Her department has an additional $85,000 budgeted for personnel over last year’s budget. There is also another $174,000 to outsource strategic planning. What is she paid to do?
    The fiscal year 2014 budget shows that in FY 2013 Tyson was paid $340,243 and Thurmond has said several times that “No strategic planning has been done.”
    Can someone please explain that to me?

    Mr. Thurmond had a chance to make positive changes, but has chosen not to do so. He can not leave soon enough.

    Click to access viewer

  38. H.A. Hurley says:

    Midvale Dad ~ our tax dollars are flying out of the doors and no answers to our questions. Such brass ba**s – stoic way of avoiding any detailed questions, refusing to share information, acting entitled and wasting our children’s money. Most schools are outdated, low on technology, parents are cleaning the school grounds – should be done by DCS employees, pot holes in parking lots, etc… But, The Palace is palatial and it’s residents are Living Large.
    Nothing will change, because they don’t have to.

  39. Stan Jester says:

    Strategic Plan
    The board approved $250K for GSBA to provide Strategic Planning Professional Services at the last board meeting (8/5/2013). 2 years ago DeKalb Schools hired GSBA to do the same thing resulting in this Strategic Plan: We are about to spend millions on the exact same process using the exact same consultants to get the exact same strategic plan with the exact same results.

    This is, by the way, how DeKalb Schools funnels money to GSBA for their support.

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