DeKalb has chosen a new communications officer.

Quinn-Hudson

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.

About dekalbschoolwatch

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58 Responses to DeKalb has chosen a new communications officer.

  1. That’s because in reality, Ramona Tyson is still in charge. She just keeps recycling her own job!! She’s probably made a million off the DeKalb train wreck by now… not bad for a business ed teacher eh?

  2. howdy1942 says:

    One reason that Thurmond had such skeptical support about our residents is that he was appointed by the former board. That is hardly motivation for anybody to vest anything other than skeptical support in him. There was broad support in Dekalb County for the current board to be removed and Thurmond was on the other side when he made every effort to keep that old board in place.

    Also, I clearly understood Thurmond’s appointment to be interim and, when he was appointed, he was given a one-year contract. He stated from the outset that he was interim and that his scope was one year. If the quote from Dr. Elgart is indeed how he feels, then I would not agree with him. Dekalb needs a new, permanent leader that does not have the albatross of the former board around his neck. I would love to see us consider someone with a reputation for getting things done and for results. While I am not a graduate of West Point, I have long admired those who are. In today’s military, most of these career types have extensive graduate education from some very distinguished colleges and universities. They are trained leaders – trained to set goals, expect results, motivate and develop people, and retain only those who can succeed. Also, many of these are relatively young, around 52 years of age. The President of Gwinnett College is a West Point graduate and was also a former Dean of Academics at the Academy.

    Thurmond doesn’t have the credentials and hasn’t demonstrated the ability to motivate and develop teachers, he likes to hear himself talk, he tolerates and promotes bad decisions that don’t set well with our people (i.e. those “service sedans”, the TSA decision, etc.). He was a strong supporter of the former board and for the Governor to leave them in place. He has done little, if anything, to reduce the size of the administration other than shuffle a few people from the palace to the schools and change their title.

    The Dekalb County School System needs change. It needs new leadership, a new vision, and different leaders who are not so tightly coupled with the past failures. We need fresh thinking and new approaches to resolve many of the issues we face. Even this new, appointed board has been disappointing because it has been so passive, so quick to rubber stamp, so quick to simply let Thurmond do whatever he wants with little or no challenge, and so reluctant to ask questions.

    It is because I don’t think that the DCSS is ready to embrace the change necessary that I am now fully behind the new city movements and a change in the State Constitution to permit the creation of new school districts. In that way, we will get new faces, new leadership, new approaches, and the innovation that is so clearly lacking in the DCSS.

  3. H.A. Hurley says:

    Looking for a West Point type superintendent.
    Suggestion: let’s see if we can attract the DC Police Chief to lead the school system, and trade Thurmond to head the DC Police Dept. He can run around with sleeves rolled up, looking bewildered while real cops get the job done. Thurmond can be the schmoozer who is passed around in GA, without having to be an expert in anything. The movie, Chauncy the Gardener, comes to mind. Legislator seem to be using him this way.
    What you think?

  4. Dekalbite2 says:

    Is Dickerson still on the payroll for $150,000?

  5. Midvale Dad says:

    @howdy1942 You can get behind a change in the state constitution ten times a day. It isn’t going to happen. We are stuck with this school district.

    I am waiting to see how the Druid Hills Charter goes. That is one way to change the status quo.

    The other way is to become active in your children’s school. Join the PTA or PTO and volunteer. Ask the teachers and principal what they need. Be engaged and get informed. Read the information on the DCSD web site. Go to the BOE meetings and let them know how you feel. Attend your local Parent Council meetings. Be willing to speak to Martha Dalton on tape. Email Ty Tagami.

    One way to exert pressure on district employees and BOE members who don’t respond to emails is to make the issue public. The other is through the threat of legal action, but really? Who wants to increase the legal fees of the county?

    Speaking of legal fees, after Ty Tagami ran a story about them the finance department changed the “Vendor Spends” report that is attached to the Monthly Financial Report to hide unpaid invoices. They are no longer part of the report. Everyone who is surprised by that… stand on your heads.

    If you look at the Vendor Spends report from the last BOE meeting, it shows July 2012 to June 2013. Interestingly, the total amount in paid legal fees is less than the total amount of billed (invoiced) legal fees in April.

    What budget surplus?

  6. Midvale Dad says:

    @DeKalbite2 Mr. Dickerson isn’t on the payroll. He is a contractor. Apparently he can do more than $100,000 worth of work without BOE approval. I don’t understand how that complies with the policy that states vendors paid more than $100,0000 need to be approved by the BOE. There are many things I don’t understand about the Palace and its employees.

  7. howdy1942 says:

    @Midvale Dad – I’m very fortunate in that our two daughters have long since graduated from Dekalb County Schools. Believe me, they were far different then than they are now.

    I’ve attended numerous school board meetings and even talked to individual members on countless occasions. Talk about an exercise in futility – that was it! The current school board is very passive and seems to just rubber stamp whatever is presented with few questions asked.

    Maybe the Druid Hills Cluster can become reality, but I wouldn’t bet on it. I doubt seriously that Thurmond would ever recommend it and I doubt the current board would override him. I’ll admit that, however, there is a chance. If Walker wins his case and he and his four compatriots are reinstated on the school board – no chance!

    I’ll also agree that the chances of changing the Georgia Constitution to allow the creation of new school districts are very slim, but there is a chance. There are a number of powerful political figures backing this change and there are a lot of influential people also behind it. The argument to change is very reasonable – that amendment was created during the 1940s – 70 years ago. Dekalb was a rural county then and it is now bigger than several states. New cities have been formed while others have largely disappeared in that time.

    I want to hold out and see what kind of change the elections for a new school board bring in July 2014. As you know, we’ll be electing a completely new seven-member board at that time. I hope that I am surprised, but I don’t hold out much hope for change.

    On a final note, I don’t think the Governor or the Legislature are going to allow Dekalb to lose its accreditation, at least for long. Quality educational systems in the Atlanta Metro Area are particularly important to economic development in the area as well as the State. Accordingly, I expect and hope that education will be a major topic in the upcoming Legislative session. That will be particularly true if Walker wins his case and the board reverts to where it was when we were placed on probation. In fact, it will be much worse because Nancy Jester would not be one of the ones reinstated, but rather her replacement would be selected by the remaining members of the board. Walker, Copelin-Wood, Cunningham, Johnson, and Edler would comprise a majority and the replacement they appointed would make that majority even larger. We may have a very slim chance at getting a change in the Georgia Constitution, but I’ve been in long shot situations before.

  8. @howdy: One thing to remember — although we will elect all seven seats in July of 2014 (the two super-districts will go away), those seven will not officially begin their term until January 1, 2015. So the current board will remain in place for another 16 months – and will probably keep Thurmond in place the whole time. Then, when the new board is elected and takes their seats in Jan, 2015, they can begin the search for a superintendent. This process will take at the very minimum, 6 months. So we really will have Thurmond as super for at least two more years…

    Unless, of course, the GA Supreme Court finds this whole thing unconstitutional and reinstates the former board.

  9. @Midvale: We think the Dickerson work-around could simply be that he only signs 6 month contracts at a time… never for more than $99,999.

  10. Dekalbite2 says:

    @ Midvale dd

    “Mr. Dickerson isn’t on the payroll. He is a contractor. Apparently he can do more than $100,000 worth of work without BOE approval”

    Yes I know? I just wondered if he is still getting our tax dollars?

  11. howdy1942 says:

    @DSW – you are correct! The “seven” will be elected in July 2014 and take office on January 1, 2015. I also don’t think that this current board has any intention of doing anything with Thurmond or even initiating a search for a permanent superintendent. If Walker wins, they definitely will keep Thurmond. Unless the July 2014 election produces far different results than what I anticipate, Thurmond will likely be made permanent if he wants the job.

  12. dsw2contributor says:

    dekalbschoolwatch @August 21, 2013 at 10:17 PM – “So the current board will remain in place for another 16 months – and will probably keep Thurmond in place the whole time.”

    What happens if DCS loses its accredidation before then — does the state DOE hold a hearing and decide whether or not to remove the current board?

  13. @contributor — think about how illogical that would be — the Gov would in no way remove the people he appointed. Esp when so many are so well-connected to him.

    https://dekalbschoolwatch.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/oh-the-connections-they-are-more-tangled-than-ever/

  14. Midvale Dad says:

    @dekalbschoolwatch
    I don’t think Dekalb’s accreditation was ever in serious jeopardy. Atkinson called on Elgart to help her fight with the old board. If SACS was serious it would be more consistent in what it wants and it would demand major changes to senior personnel, ie: friends and family.

  15. Agree. It was mostly a power play to allow the Governor to dismiss the full board. Which leaves us to wonder why he left Orson, Johnson and McMahan, since direct reference was made to the recently elected board members bad behavior in the SACS report the Governor and state used as evidence.

  16. concerned citizen says:

    HA Hurley, The book and movie was Being There, with Peter Sellers, Shirley McLaine, and a lot of other great actors. I watch it whenever I get depressed. But, HA, Chauncey is a hero, even though he’s on the mentally challenged side. The reason he is a hero: he likes to watch and keep his mouth shut and let the talented do their work. That is definitely not the mentally challenged interim; he is not only not a hero, but he is also a villain. Nasty little man! I don’t want to pay him one more dime, or Ramooona, or Adtkinson, or Crawl. Nasty, nasty, nasty people with no talent.

  17. ShooShee says:

    Wouldn’t you think that something as big as the Teachers of the Year Recognition, the Auxiliary Person of the Year Recognition and the Principal of the Year Recognition combined banquet for 800-900 people would be worthy of a press release and a couple of photos? Wouldn’t you think that a struggling large urban public school system surrounded and mired in a multitude of negative publicity would want to shine the light on this event?!

    Oops, I forgot, most of this group of award-winning individuals are located out in the schools and only have direct contact with children every day. So, they are not part this administration’s focus or vision. What a shame.

    In the old days, the release was written and some photos were taken before the event and the materials were sent out under embargo to the media–two to three days in advance. Wow! What a concept!

    Hopefully, the new guy will realize that he is working for and getting paid by the entire system, and not “Dr.” Thurmond! (As I recently heard one person refer to him.) And, we need to get out of this continually self-inflicted “crisis management” mode. Just start doing the right thing — which means being transparent and respectful of the money and the classroom. It really is so simple.

    Maybe they are taking their time, to get it right, and will have a news item included in their next monthly email newsletter release.

    But, hey, the sun is shining and I am alive to see it.

  18. H.A. Hurley says:

    ShooShee & Everyone!
    Not sending one peep related to the good things happening in DCS is such a shame!
    What is the new PR guy doing?
    One thing that APS has figured out when just about everything in APS was involved in the cheating scandal and other problems…..they started sending daily Tweets, emails, website updates and news releases about good news in APS. There is always good news in schools and it needs to be shared to balance the picture.
    DCS is doing just the opposite, no Twitter since 7/3/2013, Website is not updated, SILENCE!
    How can they get away with this? They do, because they can. No people in power are demanding any more than what Thurmond is offering. Very little! He doesn’t have to do more!? Pathetic!

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