Cityhood update: Announcing the Proposed City of LaVista Hills!

From the Lakeside City Alliance >>

The Lakeside and Briarcliff cityhood groups announced today their full merger — under the new name LaVista Hills. You may find the full media announcement and also the link to the City of LaVista Hills interactive map on our website here: lavistahillsyes.com The new map that Lakeside and Briarcliff have agreed to reflects considerable input from neighborhoods outside the perimeter and along the proposed southern boundaries, as well as businesses around Northlake and I-285.

Unfortunately a three-party agreement with the Tucker 2015 cityhood movement was not achieved: “We have made multiple offers to the Tucker cityhood movement and we’re still hopefull we can reach an agreement on the boundaries,” said Allen Venet (formerly of the City of Briarcliff Initiative). “After merging the vision of Lakeside and Briarcliff, and presenting neighborhood survey and petition preference input to Tucker, we are disappointed that the groups were unable to reach an agreement by the November 15th deadline.” In the coming weeks the combined group will continue work towards readying LaVista Hills for the 2015 legislative session.

Keep up with news about LaVista Hills YES by liking our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/LaVistaHillsYES

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UPDATE: The city proponents missed the deadline to submit their proposal to this January’s legislative session. Read more here >> DeKalb Cityhood Proponents Still Can’t Agree On A Map, Miss Legislative Deadline

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35 Responses to Cityhood update: Announcing the Proposed City of LaVista Hills!

  1. Lisa says:

    I think it is important to add a note (given the nature of this website) that this announcement does not affect schools in any way. It is very valuable and helpful information, but I would hate for readers to get the impression that voting for either Tucker or LaVista Hills would affect school districts at all. It won’t.

  2. Absolutely correct, Lisa. We don’t know if that will change in the future, but if the legislature would remove the 8 words from the Constitutional amendment that prohibits forming new school districts, then all bets are off. We could very well end up with several very good, highly functioning, successful, fiscally responsible new school districts.

  3. sawyerbrown68 says:

    The principal will return…….if you want.

    Right now, the City of Lakeside sounds awfully tainted on account of a certain principal on the bench because of. By magic, quickly comes another untainted name: Lavista Hills. Wonderful!

    Henderson Middle School is looking for a new principal. This community is the same. The certain principal would be a great choice if good people are silent.

    If you have seen a declyne at your high school, let your voice be loud and clear at Mr. Thurmond’s office. I don’t think you want the same people who moved Mr. Thurmond to select an unexperienced, untested, and ingratiating assistant principal to continue at the helm of the potentially best high school in the county to be once again louder than you.

  4. Tucker Reacts to LaVista Hills Map

    The map released today of the newly created proposed City of LaVista Hills clearly defines how difficult it was for Tucker 2015 to negotiate reasonable boundaries with Lakeside and Briarcliff that would create two healthy and sustainable cities in North/Central DeKalb.

    For some Tucker residents and businesses, the cityhood process has been especially trying because they have been drawn in and out of an ever-changing map of a self-created city, throughout the more than year-long effort that has consumed our neighborhoods, while continuing to voice support to remain part of the Tucker community.

    We will continue to listen to and respect the input of the more than 20,000 outside the perimeter neighbors who now find themselves in the proposed city of LaVista Hills. Many of you have already expressed your concerns that your desire for local control, and smaller closer government, would likely vanish as a result of being included in what would be the largest city in DeKalb County.

    We believe that the State Legislative Leadership will bring about a solution that is fair and respectful of our long-recognized and welcoming Tucker community, a community that has thrived and worked together for more than a century, and that they will share our vision for a successful city that will benefit Tucker and surrounding areas for generations.

    Your outreach and support is a powerful indication of the passion you have for Tucker. Your voice will continue to have an impact. In the next few days, we’ll let you know how the Tucker community can continue to come together to show our pride and conviction for the place we call home.

  5. kirklunde says:

    If the City of Lakeside was about the feeder pattern, why did none of their proposed maps follow the feeder pattern attendance lines? The City of Briarcliff’s map used 285 to the east and 85 to the north. Now the LaVista Hills map extends outside the perimeter and does not follow the Lakeside attendance lines.

    Just what is the real driving force for the Lakeside leaders? What is the “community of interest?” Obviously, not creating a city based on the high school.

  6. howdy1942 says:

    This whole matter of cityhood was the direct result of the decline of the Dekalb County School System. I’m just very sad to see the sordid decisons of the Dekalb County school board have such a divisive impact on our community that includes Lakeside, Briarcliff, and Tucker. From my perspective, we must find a solution that will be acceptable to all three parties. And I think that can be done.

    One solution is to simply merge all three proposals into a single proposal to form a City of North Dekalb. That would create a city of approximately 130,000 residents and include all of the commercial and residential properties that “overlap”. It would also solve any school “feeder” issues. Moreover, I think that the combined entity would be united in finding ways to separate itself from the Dekalb County School System.

    Another possible solution would be for the Legislature to deal directly with the school issue and allow charter cluster proposals to bypass the Dekalb County School Board altogether. The Legislature could simply use its power to transfer the per-pupil funding from the DCSS to the new Charter Clusters as was proposed by the Druid Hills Charter Cluster Petition. At a meeting I attended last year sponsored by Rep. Scott Holcomb, 31 of 38 speakers living in the “overlapping” areas directly mentioned concerns about the Dekalb County School System. The DCSS can say whatever it likes, but it is very unpopular in the areas that want to become cities. And it has done little, if anything, to address the grievances of these communities.

    Another possible solution that is more of a “stretch” is to simply divide Dekalb County into two parts that would consist of approximately 375,000 residents each. That size is far greater than perhaps 90% of the remaining counties in Georgia. Dekalb County has, in effect, already become two communities. This has been plainly evident for years in the endless 4-3 decisions by the County Commission and by the endless 5-4 decisions at the school board and the looming 4-3 decisions likely at the school board taking office in January.

    Whatever happens, our communities will continue to live together and we must find a solution that unities rather than divides.

  7. kirklunde says:

    If schools are the underlying (& unspoken by cityhood leaders) reason for the cityhood movement, then people are wasting their time and energy. It will take legislative action to change the current state of disarray and that isn’t going to happen.

    The most effective way to change the school district is to demand accountability and transparency. Everyone who is unhappy with the school district needs to show up at every meeting they can and make their voices heard.

    That said, I don’t think anything is going to change until the new superintendent is hired. Whomever is selected needs to clean out the senior leadership and start over. It has been over a year since Thurmond wanted to “change the culture of the district” and nothing has changed. When is he going to start?
    When is there going to be transparency?
    When is there going to be accountability?
    When are there going to be more public meetings regarding the district flexibility decision? (Never)
    When is the district going to acknowledge the 2014 graduation rate?
    When is the district going to show us the ROI for the $70+ million spent on the Bridge Initiative?
    When is the Balanced Scorecard going to be used?
    When is the budget process going to be responsive to the BOE?
    When are class sizes going to go down? (That one is on the BOE)
    When is the district going to develop a plan to reduce the number of trailers?

    The Solicitations page of the district website has an RFP for a Facilities Condition Assessment Services to get ready for SPLOST V. http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/solicitations While I am glad they are planning ahead, I can not support another SPLOST until things change and start to get better.

  8. Formerdekalbteacher says:

    Sawyer–AMEN! There is definitely a declyne in the quality of leadership. Such a travesty.

  9. @sawyerBrown: What exactly is going on at Lakeside? Where is Mr. Clyne? Is this the same kind of deal as what happened with Mr. Chelf? Fired – not fired – fired? This is a tragedy. Lakeside used to be tops on the list of Best Schools in US News & World Report. Now they aren’t even mentioned.

  10. sawyerbrown68 says:

    The exile is over. He was in school this morning to recite the Pledge but left soon after to attend county meetings. What is the cause of the investigation or what are the findings of the investigation, no one knows exactly.

    A confidential source feels the teachers are very insecure about the leadership provided and other behaviors that seem deserving of professional intervention. The county does not listen to teachers and other staff. The county only listens to parents and community members. So speak up. Ask your children. Ask the adult volunteers. Ask the former and current supporters.

    To this teacher, the county was impressed by an influential group of supporters. As there were no detractors, the county elevated an obscure assistant to this high position possibly to please City of Lakesside movement. The supporters were indistinguishable from the cityhooders vowing to escape the dekalb county schools.

  11. howdy1942 says:

    @kirklunde – very true! But Rep. Holcomb stated at a recent meeting he hosted regarding cityhood that by becoming a city, a united front on the part of a city could have a big impact on decisions made by the school board and administration. I doubt that because, were that the case, the Druid Hills Charter Petition would have at least been given another hearing. It appears that even the risk of losing Druid Hills completely is dismissed by Michael Thurmond and the school board as “political noise”. As you say, those behind the Lakeside movement are very concerned about changes in the feeder system. But I don’t see the creation of a new city as having any impact.

    I wish that the thought of having a new superintendent would bring the change that is so badly needed in the Dekalb County School System. @sawyerbrown68, I don’t think that this administration truly listens to anybody – teachers, parents, or residents. This school board and administration are going to do what they want to do and neither cares in the least about what anyone thinks. That is the problem and that is the central issue. It can only be stopped at the State Board of Education and/or the Legislature. And I don’t think that either the board or administration has very many friends at either place.

    This is no way to run a school system or any organization. Everything should begin with the students, parents, teachers and communities served by the school system. Their thoughts matter and should be heard. Were that the case, the Dekalb County School System would be a very different, much better organization and the results would be very different than they are today. Student achievement would be obvious to everyone. Teachers would want to teach in Dekalb. People would want to live here. We wouldn’t need and administration tooting its own horn because good results, like bad results, draw attention.

    I am hopeful that the Legislature will truly recognize and understand that Dekalb’s success is essential to that of Atlanta and Georgia. Accordingly, I hope that it will take action to create a process wherein alternatives to the DCSS can be afforded our students. Competition for the DCSS will improve the whole of Dekalb because a better alternative would force the DCSS to change its ways, become more efficient, focus more on what is important (the classroom), and to better serve our kids and our people. Changes are going to happen in Dekalb County and we are closer to that reality than we have ever been.

  12. dsw2contributor says:

    This is another misleading topic. “Announcing the City of Lavista Hills”? — there is NO City of Lavista Hills. The actual reality is that cityhood proponents were NOT able to agree on a map and missed their deadline:
    http://wabe.org/post/dekalb-cityhood-proponents-still-cant-agree-map-miss-legislative-deadline

    IMHO, what is actually going to happen is that Emory University and the North Druid Hills Cluster area will become part of the City of Atlanta. After that happens, the cityhood proponents will be left fighting over the remaining scraps of unincorporated North Dekalb..

  13. You are correct dsw2 – we will change it to ‘proposed’ City of Lavista Hills. Thank you kindly for pointing this out.

  14. Interesting quote in the article about the missed deadline >>

    State Representative Amy Carter of Valdosta heads that committee. She did not return out calls by deadline but has said previously, unless all three groups agreed by the deadline, her committee would draw the boundaries itself.

  15. dsw2contributor says:

    FWIW (for what it is worth), the Principal that is the subject of the “deClyne” comments above has been acting erratically at meetings of DCSS Administrators.

  16. dsw2contributor says:

    ^ Come to think of it, I believe there is at least one “erratic deClyne” in the video of the DCSS Summer Leadership Conference that Stan Jester posted to Youtube.

  17. sawyerbrown68 says:

    I spoke to my confidential source and added another source.

    The staff is terrified, shaky, and brushing up resumes for next year.

    It is plain to the staff that “Erik the Only” is not well. The staff feels that his erratic behavior wells up from the pool of Narcissus. The staff also knows that “Hopalong Cassidy” rejects any person more knowledgeable or slightly more experienced or qualified than he is.

    He thrives on magical change (change of supervisors during the last 21/2 years: Ms. Brixon, Dr. Pringle, Interim X, and Mr. Arnold have allowed him to escape a serious examination of his competence) from above and with local control, he has a free hand to create changes below him.

    Mr. Thurmond, Mr. Arnold, board members, key personalties of this community, are been made aware that experienced, dedicated, and veteran teachers are planning for the 3rd purge of the Book of Declyne. With this 3rd purge on the near horizon, the declyne will be complete with the destruction of the faculty.

    This is the chronolgy of the previous 2 purges under the Enlightened One.

    July 2013: New principal appointed from a group of 4 assistant principals.

    PURGE I:

    July 2013: 2 of the assistant principals were replaced; the new assistant principals selected by the new principals. ( The departed were Ms. D…..S and Mr. P……..K; the replacements were Dr. D….S, Dr. J…….N, and Mr. J……..S) [Mr. J……S retired]

    PURGE II:

    November 2013: surviving assistant principal is transferred. ( Ms. M…..Y leaves abruptly)

    (2 new assistant principals are added to replace Mr. J…..S and Ms. M….Y)

    PURGE III: Will be announced after Thanksgiving but this time it will include teachers!

    It is inevitable that he will flame-out. His erratic behaviors at faculty meetings, lack of focus, grandiloquence, egocentricity, and growing megalomania will put his reign of error to an end in the months to come. ( I asked for video or voice recording!)

    The teachers are asking why are parents, community leaders, and county leaders are waiting for the tipping point when Lakeside is 65% staffed by teachers hired by this guy? Is this guy so important to you that you would sacrifice the academic future of your children and the value of my home?

  18. It’s interesting. The City of Lakeside Alliance people got very upset when we insinuated that the sad state of our schools was fueling the drive to form cities. Now – they quote Ty Tagami’s article saying the same thing on the new City of LaVista Hills website >>


    Unease about schools fuels drive to ditch DeKalb

    Matt Lewis, the leader of the unsuccessful charter effort, turned up at an emergency meeting last week of the Laurel Ridge Elementary PTA. The school is within the cluster but would be left behind by annexation.

    Anxious parents wondered what would become of their children. Lewis blamed DeKalb’s denial of the petition for their predicament.

    “This is about an entire entrenched bureaucracy that, for whatever reason, didn’t want to try this,” he said.

    Janel Green, a Laurel Ridge PTA officer who led the meeting, summed up the questions she was getting from her members: “I think people really want to understand: Where is the place for these children, and what will that do to our community?”

    The lawmakers and school officials present didn’t have a clear answer. Lobby the Gold Dome for what you want, the parents were told.

    The area could become part of a city of Briarcliff and Lakeside, but would still be part of the DeKalb school system. That’s because the Georgia constitution prohibits creation of new school districts, although cityhood proponents have been pushing to change that.

    “We’re all very frustrated and dissatisfied with DeKalb County schools,” said Mary Kay Woodworth, a leader of the Lakeside cityhood movement. She and her husband raised four children in the system but it had deteriorated so much by the time their last child reached high school, she said, that they put her in private school. The cityhood movements gained momentum when the DeKalb County School District was placed on probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 2012. Also, poverty rates were rising but test scores, graduation rates and other measures were lackluster.

    Recently, when Woodworth’s son bought a house, he did so in Roswell because he plans on having children.

    Woodworth is a realist. She doesn’t expect a constitutional change for schools to come on the heels of incorporation, but she thinks a city would wield political clout with the school system, which might help until the constitution can be changed.

  19. sawyerbrown68 says:

    The 3rd purge has begun!

    The most senior assistant principal ( hired by the principal in July 2013) is departing this Friday.

    More veteran teachers (those who speak out) will begin to leave soon.

    This GUY cannot work with people HE has hired HIMSELF!

  20. sawyerbrown68 says:

    Mr. Trenton Arnold, Lakeside PTSA, Lakeside Governing Council,

    Let me offer you this advice.

    Do not let this GUY select a weak replacement assistant principal to replace the one leaving.

    Seize the occasion to right the Titanic’s course.

    Put or insist in putting a very strong, proven, ethical assistant principal to assist and keep the Enlightened One within the bounds.

    Mr. Arnold, you should spend today or tomorrow with Hopalong Cassidy to have your eyes opened

  21. Clarity says:

    Can you please be a little clearer regarding whatever is going on at Lakeside? You are asking parents to take action, but I’m not sure what the heck we are supposed to take action on. If I were to reach out to the administration using the clever puns and insinuations that I’m reading here, I’m pretty sure I would be hung up on.

    I do truly want to know – I have asked other LHS parents and they don’t know either. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking, you can send your email to DSW2 to look into.

  22. dsw2contributor says:

    The situation at Lakeside HS is another great example of why DCSS so badly needs the Wallace Foundation grant, which is going to be used to improve how DCSS trains, places and SUPPORTS principals.

    Sawyerbrown correctly pointed out that the Lakeside Principal has had FOUR different supervisors in his first 2 1/2 years on the job. That’s nuts! Anyone who has ever been promoted to a job supervising other professionals knows that in your first year or two on the job you need a lot of support and encouragement from above. Obviously, the Lakeside Principal hasn’t gotten much support from above since that is not what revolving doors do!

  23. Just So You Know... says:

    Sawyer, the departure of that assistant principal is one of the most positive changes that have happened in that building in a number of years.

  24. sawyerbrown68 says:

    Just So You Know,

    Did you know that Mr. Principal selected and hired “that assistant principal” and two other assistant principals when he took over as principal in July 2013?

    Did you know that Mr. Principal caused the transfer of two out of three co-assistant principals when he took over as principal in July 2013?

    Did you know that Mr. Principal selected and appointed “that assistant principal” to be his Number 2 when his Number 2 became ill and retired in September 2013?

    Did you know that Mr. Principal caused the transfer of his third and last remaining co-assistant principals in November 2013?

    Did you know that Mr. Principal selected and hired a former fourth co-assistant principal to replace the third and last remaining principal in December 2013 or January 2014?

    Did you know that Mr. Principal selected and hired a fifth assistant principal in February or March 2014 from an other school system?

    In a chess move reminding us of Dr. Crawford Lewis and Ramona Tyson, Mr. Principal by-passed all of his assistant principals to make that fifth assistant principal (who knew him least and who is newest to Dekalb) as acting principal during his 7 days at the central office?

    The arrival of Mr. Principal in July 2013 was the single most negative change in Lakeside’s 50 years. The departure of Mr. Principal will be the most positive change in Lakeside’s 50 years.

  25. FWIW, we aren’t familiar with the APs currently employed at Lakeside, but we do recall that years back, a few APs that were passed over for principal when Mr. Chelf was given the job, made a very tough row to hoe for Mr. Chelf. The whole working environment became very toxic and students lost out due to the lack of focus on education. He said in hindsight that he should have replaced them as soon as he took the job. Sometimes there are reasons for replacing your closest assistants. Mr. Clyne was around then, perhaps he recalls what happened to Chelf. This may or may not be the case, but we would be open to hearing if there were reasons Mr. Clyne made the decisions he made. It sounds as if sawyer is saying it was done out of some kind of vindictiveness or insecurity. That could be… But does anyone else know anything else? We’d like to hear both sides. Now is the time to share…

  26. Formerdekalbteacher says:

    I don’t know a lot about the AP situation, and I think Sawyer’s telling makes it even harder to sort out. I can tell you, though, as someone who worked with Clyne as an AP that he was not the man for the job. He was well-liked as an AP because he was buddies with everyone, from students to teachers to parents. He said what everyone wanted to hear, joked a lot, and didn’t hold others accountable. Clyne constantly complained that he was given too much to do and he badmouthed Joe Reed to anyone who would listen. Maybe you like your boss, maybe you don’t. But there is such a thing as professionalism. I am not surprised that he has had a problem as principal. He simply had not developed the solid relationships, self discipline, and professionalism needed to step up to the job. Should more have been demanded of him as an AP? Absolutely. But do you take an AP who needs to be set on the right track and promote him? No.

    I have tried to be honest here without name calling or ugliness. I hope you will see this post as what it is–an honest attempt to answer the question at hand.

  27. dsw2contributor says:

    From the AJC: “In the race to carve up DeKalb County into a country of cities, Atlanta has offered itself up as a white knight to rescue a prestigious enclave of unincorporated DeKalb that includes Emory University and the federal Centers for Disease Control.

    It would be the most extensive expansion of Atlanta’s boundaries in decades, and could significantly change the city’s political dynamics. On the opposite side, loss of the area could be a tremendous loss of prestige and financial wherewithal for DeKalb.”

    http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2014/11/21/city-of-atlanta-to-pursue-annexation-of-emory-university-cdc/

  28. It’s not that surprising to us — The CDC and Emory are already perceived as being in Atlanta, and in fact, have relationships with only schools and officials in Atlanta. In the past, the CDC and Emory always went to Atlanta schools when proposing any kind of health-related project/fair/education initiative. Why? When we asked, we were told over and over that DeKalb schools officials were much too difficult to deal with. Big losses for our students from Emory initiatives lost over the years.

  29. mediatzar says:

    I thought it was practice for APs that were up for the Principal role and didn’t get it to transfer somewhere else. Ms. M is Thurmond’s goddaughter and she chose not to transfer out of Lakeside when she didn’t get the job. I don’t blame him for transferring her – and she ended up at Chamblee which is a pretty good job. The rest, I have no clue. My children have no opinion about him and I haven’t heard the same things you have. Maybe we run in different circles or maybe it is just a small rabid group leading this charge against him. I have friends that work at Lakeside and haven’t heard any of these things from them either so it is all news to me.

  30. Around the Water Cooler says:

    Your observation is spot on, Formerdekalbteacher (Nov. 21, 12:03 PM.)
    Taking it a step further, “he was buddies with everyone, from students to teachers to parents. He said what everyone wanted to hear, joked a lot, and didn’t hold others accountable” could also be applied to Mr. Chelf.

  31. sawyerbrown68 says:

    @Mediatzar

    I called around. Mrs. M. did not apply to replace Mr. Reed as principal.

    She applied to be principal at Druid Hills High School. She did not get the job there and decided to remain at Lakeside to support Mr. Principal. She supported HIM until HE made it intolerable for her to stay at Lakeside.

    The other two co-assistant principals voluntarily left because they found HIM unprepared, vindictive, unwilling to carry his load, and intolerable when they were co-assistant principals under Mr. Reed.

    (@Formerdekalb: every assistant princpal you knew, left. The short white lady who left while Mr. Reed was principal did return to replace Ms. M.)

    From November 2013, Mr. Principal had selected all of his assistant principals. He hired all of them. He inherited no assistant principals. ( In January 2014, HE hired an assistant who had been an assistant from about 2009 to 2011 under Mr. Reed).

    You need to remember as Mr. Principal badmouths his assistant principals that HE hired them all including the one that packed up on Friday because she found it intolerable to work under HIM.

    You need to remember as Mr. Principal badmouths his assistant principals that HE has actually less experience in education or in administration than any of his individual assistant principals.

    You need to remember as Mr. Principal badmouths his assistant principals that HE cannot help them in their duties because HE HIMSELF has no idea what these duties are because HE did not bother to learn them while HE was a do-nothing assistant principal.

    Do not stop calling and demanding the appointment of a new principal that knows the job and willing to put the students first! Start with calling or emailing the Region 2 Regional Superintendent. Go to dekalb.k12.ga.us for telephone number or email.

  32. In looking at the map, it’s interesting that this new city will devour virtually all the shopping centers in the area – Embry Hills, Northlake and Toco Hills. It doesn’t look like there is much more business though – no real large-scale employers. Then again, there aren’t that many large businesses left in DeKalb in general – except the CDC, Emory and DCSS.

  33. You are so correct, dsw2contributor. The subject of the PhD program is very interesting. What became of those 8? Did anyone finish the program? How much money was actually spent on the program before it was axed? Who participated and are they still with DCSS?

    From the April 9, 2012 meeting minutes >>

    Dr. Atkinson introduced Ms. Kendra D. March, Deputy Superintendent, Division of School Leadership & Operational Support to present an overview of the Aspiring Leaders Academy. Ms. March stated that the School District will embark on a Leadership Development Program in an effort to provide and enhance leadership skills needed by central office leaders and principals. The program will focus on the roles and responsibilities needed to manage the daily operations in a public school setting. She also stated public school districts across the country are under constant scrutiny, and that there is a need for leaders to lead by example and influence to improve schools and academic achievement. Ms. March concluded by stating that the application process will be open and fair to all who aspire to become a letter in the DeKalb County School District.

    We found the full list of participants in the “Aspiring Leaders” program, hand-picked by Atkinson, of which the PhD program was an additional part (we can’t find the PhD candidate names) >>
    https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/meetings/TempFolder/Meetings/June%2011_%202012%20business%20meeting_440489un0phomwoyd3srzefkj5u3ua.pdf

    Please leave a comment as to whether or not these ‘aspiring leaders’ are still in lead positions in DCSS. If you are on this list, or know someone on the list, please let us know if you benefited from the program and if you are still with DCSS in a leadership capacity.

    BUSINESS MEETING 6/11/2012 – 6:00 PM
    J. David Williamson Board Room, Administrative & Instructional Complex 1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard
    Stone Mountain, Georgia 30083
    C. 6. Aspiring Leaders Academy

    Quick Summary / Abstract
    Presented by: Ms. Kendra D. March, Deputy Superintendent, Division of School Leadership & Operational Support

    Details
    The Aspiring Leaders Academy is designed to develop teacher leaders and assistant principals who aspire to fill assistant principal, principal, and district level positions as they become available. The application process involved the submission of an application packet with three letters of recommendation. After screening 146 applications, 37 candidates were invited to interview. The district identified 29 candidates to begin the first cohort of the Aspiring Leaders Academy in August 2012.

    Aspiring Leaders Academy
    Ms. Kendra D. March, Deputy Superintendent, Division of School Leadership & Operational
    Support, recognized following 29 candidates selected to participate in the first Aspiring Leaders Academy:

    1.Dawn J. Alexander
    Sequoyah MS
    2.Larrando C. Alexander
    Druid Hills HS
    3.Desra G. Brown
    Hambrick ES
    4.Tiana Y. Covington
    McNair DLA
    5.Rosario Garcia
    Sequoyah MS
    6.Milton A. Hall
    Montclair ES
    7.Geraldine J. Hartry
    Hambrick ES
    8.Nakhia Hill
    Tucker MS
    9.Atiya J. Hollis
    Rock Chapel ES
    10.Monica D. Hooker
    Miller Grove MS
    11.Frances M. Jartu-White
    McNair HS
    12.Karen C. Jenkins
    Cedar Grove MS
    13.Connie S. Johns
    Brockett ES and Stone Mill ES
    14.Ferrun Johnson
    Miller Grove MS
    15.Physhuna Jones
    Robert Shaw Theme ES
    16.Joi Kilpatrick
    Wynbrooke ES
    17.Crystal LaVoulle*
    MLK HS
    18.Terescah L. Lemon
    Lithonia MS
    19.Latonia Massey-Hunter*
    Ashford Park ES
    20.Norkesha Muhammad-Canteen
    Ashford Park ES
    21.Sean M. Perkins*
    McNair HS
    22.Terri C. Portis
    Robert Shaw Theme ES
    23.Shikennia Q. Richardson
    McLendon ES
    24.Brenda P. Roberts
    Jolly ES & Indian Creek ES
    25.Candace M. Sagers
    Marbut Theme ES
    26.Adrienne Simmons
    Dresden ES
    27.La’Monica N. Tellis
    Lakeside HS
    28.Eugenia L. Thrash
    Shadow Rock ES
    29.Tamra N. Watts*
    Dunwoody HS

    [*Asterik (sic) –Assistant Principals]

    In Addition >> the minutes from the Sept 2012 board meeting are missing from the meeting page – this was most likely the meeting at which the 8 were announced.

  34. Around the same time, the same leaders of DCSS spent $400,000 on STEM materials.

    Click here to upload the RTTT request for funds. Promises included >>
    https://dekalbschoolwatch.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/rttt-request-2012-13.docx

    Details
    Funding will be allocated for the following four areas:
    (1) $400,000.00 for the integration of robotics curriculum for K-5 Grade levels
    • Age appropriate mobile Lego Robotics labs with age appropriate curriculum will be purchased for schools to share among grade levels from Lego Education.
    (2) $150,000.00 for K-12 robotics competitions
    • Equipment, supplies, and registrations will be provided for students to compete at local, state and national robotics competitions from the following vendors:
    o Robot Events (Grades 9-12)– $25,000.00
    o Learning Labs Inc (Grades 9-12) — $25,000.00
    o Lego Education (Grades K-8) — $100,000.00
    (3) $250,000.00 for the integration of K-5 Engineering Curriculum framework that fosters STEM literacy among elementary school students
    • All necessary curriculum, supplies, equipment, and professional development will be purchased to implement the Engineering is Elementary (EiE) instructional framework from the Boston Museum of Science. The EiE framework fosters engineering and technological literacy among elementary school students and educators. EiE has created a research-based, standards-driven, and classroom-tested curriculum that integrates engineering and technology concepts and skills with elementary science and math topics. The EiE lessons promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning in grades K-5.
    (4) $400,000.00 will be used to construct, renovate, and equip up to four middle school STEM labs for the purpose of promoting STEM within the middle school curriculum. The following vendors will be used:
    o ICN — $40,000.00
    o Qualified Electric — $60,000.00
    o Nisewonger — $60,000.00
    o Learning Labs Inc — $240,000.00

    The TOTAL spending for the project was projected to be $1.2 million …

    The financial impact for the STEM implementation will not exceed $1,200,000.00 using Race to the Top (RT3) federal grant funds.
    a) Lego Education for an amount not to exceed $400,000.00 for the purchase of elementary mobile Lego robotics labs
    b) Robot Events, Innovation First, and Lego Robotics to support K-12 robotics competition for an amount not to exceed $150,000.00
    c) Boston Museum of Science for an amount not to exceed $250,000.00 to purchase K-5 engineering curriculum, supplies, equipment and professional development that fosters STEM literacy among elementary school students
    d) ICN, Qualified Electric, Nisewonger, and Learning Labs Inc. for an amount not to exceed $400,000.00 to construct, renovate, and equip up to four middle school STEM labs.

    Do we have 4 middle school STEM labs? Or did we spend all of that money on 1 or 2? The wording is ‘up to 4’… tricky – like when advertiser say, SAVE ‘up to’ $100… you know for sure you aren’t going to save $100.

  35. Our point is this: If the administrative leadership of DCSS is going to administer all kinds of tests and generate evaluation data and expect teachers to decipher and use it to improve student achievement as well as rate teachers themselves according to the results of the testing, etc, then our school admin should also be evaluated according to how well their initiatives improved student outcomes. There is plenty of tracking of student and teacher performance, however, millions upon millions are spent on all kinds of programs by the administration that have never been tracked or evaluated in any way. It should be. We have no idea if they are being effective or wasting tax dollars.

    For example, what became of this ‘leadership’ PhD program? What became of the Aspiring Leaders? What became of the ‘Triage’ set up a couple of years ago by the same people? What initiatives have Title 1 dollars been spent on and have they been effective? And, obviously, the “No Place For Hate” program brought in a several years ago didn’t do much good as it was allowed to flounder until we ended up in a federal lawsuit. IF follow-up to that program had been conducted, we may have been able to foresee a problem. Overall, the Central Office pushes out an awful lot of paperwork about future programs they are asking to purchase, but very, very little follow-up reporting as to how well those programs worked. Their solution just seems to be to hold the teachers liable to ‘make’ it work. We still have a very strong, one-size fits all, top-down leadership even though many proposals have been made to grant ‘local’ control to schools and principals.

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