Attend the swearing in of the DeKalb School Board on Jan. 5, 2015

You are cordially invited to attend the
Oath-of-Office Ceremony

installing

Mr. Stan Jester, District 1
Mr. Marshall Orson, District 2
Dr. Michael Erwin, District 3
Mr. James McMahan, District 4
Ms. Vickie Turner, District 5
Dr. Melvin Johnson, District 6
Dr. Joyce Morley, District 7

as members of the
DeKalb County Board of Education

Monday, January 5, 2015
5:00pm

Reception to follow immediately after in the Atrium

DeKalb County School District

J. David Williamson Board Room
Robert R. Freeman Administrative & Instructional Complex
1701 Mountain Industrial Boulevard
Stone Mountain, GA 30083

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51 Responses to Attend the swearing in of the DeKalb School Board on Jan. 5, 2015

  1. teacher reader says:

    Wonder why there isn’t a post about Stan Jester not submitting his finger prints. Seems to me that he should have the same requirements as any other school employee. Hope that he is not sworn in if he does not give up his finger prints and therefore does not pass a background check.

  2. I hope he is sworn in because I think his priority actually is the needs of students and teachers. Plus he is smart and bold enough to demand clear explanations during the smoke and mirrors presentations given by the employees of the Palace. I had no idea there was a fingerprint issue, but I am sure it can be resolved.

  3. Stan Jester says:

    Let me set the record straight. I completed a police background check before Christmas, sent the report to the board chair, and posted it on my website.
    http://factchecker.stanjester.com/wp-content/assets/documents/bgcheck12232014.pdf

    This is clearly an attempt to discredit a critic of the school district. You can read exactly what happened and read the email chains between me and the chair here:
    http://factchecker.stanjester.com/2015/01/3386/

    I think all board members and top level staff should make their background checks public as I have. Hopefully they are all as boring as mine.

  4. Refugee from DCSS says:

    Melvin Johnson lied in the WSB report. Volunteers do not need to be fingerprinted. For school volunteers, there’s an online powerpoint that has to be viewed, then you print out a certificate, sign it yourself, turn it in to the school, and you’re done. No fingerprints. Volunteers in the school do not need fingerprinting. Board members who have no contact with the schools themselves have nothing to do with “safety”. Melvin Johnson is a liar and “teacher reader” is neither.

  5. whyaminotsurprised says:

    Actually, volunteers for schools have needed to be fingerprinted for about 3 years now. I had to do it for a larger event that I was coaching. Fortunately, most schools are not requiring it for every scholastic sale/ room parent/ fundraiser on campus or the PTAs would come to a screeching halt.

  6. Frustrated Dekalb Parent says:

    I find it very troubling that this was leaked to the press but it is par for the course with this administration (i.e the previous superintendent search).

  7. Atlanta Media Guy says:

    Could the person, who leaked this HR issue to WSB, be the same who leaked the information about the Superintendent Candidate a few years ago? If someone in HR leaked this to WSB, they should be fired. This was an internal issue and it should have been handled in a more professional manner.

    I am sadden by the report by WSB. Going to the Jester’s door and knocking with cameras rolling only implies that someone is doing something wrong. All the reporter had to do is go to Stan’s website and find out he is being the most honest by putting his Background check online for all to see! Instead we get a report with a lot of innuendo and making Stan like he is trying to hide something. One thing for sure someone at the Palace likes being a bully!

    I agree with Jester, how can one expect an honest background report, when the very organization who Stan will be overseeing is doing the check? A third party is the only way to expect the truth. One thing for sure, I am so excited about Stan Jester being on the BOE.

    It’s time to clean out the Palace! This is why Stan is telling us the truth, Palace staff certainly can’t handle the truth these days. So Melvin, are you going to show us your background check like Mr. Jester has? Will all the BOE members place their background checks online?

  8. Ann Barber says:

    Well, isn’t he a special little snowflake? You knew the rules, Stan, when you ran for the position. Why are you exempt from regulations that everyone accepts and are bound to follow?

  9. DCSS teacher says:

    No, volunteers are not required to be fingerprinted. As the poster said above, they just have to watch a PowerPoint presentation.

  10. Stan Jester says:

    Ann, to which rules are you referring?

    I pointed out to Dr. Johnson on 12/12/2014, DeKalb Schools Policy GAHB (B.11) states that you may not be employed by the school while on the Board of Education. This is also in state law OCGA § 20-2-51 Section C.2 saying “No person employed by a local board of education shall be eligible to serve as a member of that board of education.”

    Also note the vast majority of volunteers at the school are not fingerprinted. That includes school council, room moms, mystery readers, lunch bunch, etc ….

  11. Ann Barber says:

    Mr. Jester, you are splitting hairs and you know it. Either you have something to hide by trying to game the system or you are needlessly creating drama worthy of a high school girl clique instead of settling in to properly govern our schools. Either way makes me extremely leery of your future governance.
    Also, if you are not an “employee”, I suggest you refuse your paycheck for serving..

  12. Refugee from DCSS says:

    The only drama on this board is coming from the Ann Barber crowd who are looking for any excuse to criticize the whistleblowers. Must be an F&F beneficiary.

  13. howdy1942 says:

    Stan, I wish you the very best as you take office. I wish that fingerprints were the biggest issue that we faced in the Dekalb County School System. Wouldn’t that be great?

  14. DSW2Contributor says:

    Why should Stan entrust his fingerprints and other Personally Identifiable Information (PII) to the clowns who performed Horace Morris’s background check?

    Fool me once…

  15. Ann Barber says:

    The Ann Barber crowd? I don’t work for the school system. I am simply tired of the school board being the county’s resident clown car. Time to stop the gamesmanship, the partisan bickering, and the pathetic need for attention that I am witnessing. Set a sensible budget. Fire the useless and unnecessary. Stay out of the news except to announce massive improvement on student performance. Is that too much to ask-even from the new board members?

  16. Marney says:

    My advise to Stan is “don’t go getting yourself crucified on a 3 inch cross”. If you are to be something other than a gadfly that is either swatted at or ignored, you are going to need to choose the battles that matter and otherwise try to build enough mutual respect with the other board members that you can put together coalitions that win votes on important issues. You may have a point about the board background checks needing to be done externally and the results made public…but there is no reason not to let them have your fingerprints then compare the internal and external results. If there are differences, THAT is something worthy of a WSB story.

    As to the requirement that all volunteers get background checks….it IS a policy instituted a couple years ago. I am aware of a couple of volunteers that were told that they had to get the checks done. One that even accomplished it despite arrogantly being told to “come back the one day a week we do them” when he showed up to have it done. It is either selectively enforced, or it is somehow only triggered if there is to be ongoing contact with the children–regular tutoring or leading a class. In the cases that I am familiar with, I suspect that it was used as a way for the teacher or principal to discourage the volunteer. I would love to know the details of the policy or what the principals are told as to enforcement, if anyone can cite it. I’m not sure I want to stir those waters because it is hard enough to get community involvement so I think some judgement is warranted—but it is very easy for a defensive principal or teacher to tell someone they need a background check and then not give any information on how it is to be done. Goodbye!

  17. Welcome to the DeKalb School Board, Stan! 😉

  18. ps – Good for Stan for posting his background check – we challenge Jim McMahan (who we also supported in his initial election bid) to produce a background check for us to post. What good do they do anyway? We all know about Jay Cunningham’s history of stealing from his employer, yet he was never refused public office in DeKalb. Anyone else with the guts to follow Stan? We hope they ALL post their background checks!!

  19. Jay Cunningham was not white, lest us forget their is a different standard. Most of the Friends n Family find it still perfectly fine to still support The church of Eddie Long who paid off teenage boys for sex, and pushed the criminal investor who embezzled their retirement funds. Doesn’t Marvin belong to the Pervs Church?

  20. dsw2contributor says:

    On a different note, I noticed that Morcease Beasley was the only person quoted by name in Maureen Downey’s latest blog:
    http://getschooled.blog.ajc.com/2015/01/05/one-in-six-georgia-students-transfers-schools-each-year-learning-and-teacher-evals-suffer-as-result/

    Building a rapport with the local education reporters is something one does when they’re a candidate for Superintendent….

  21. howdy1942 says:

    Thought that I would try to refocus our conversation back to the school system. I had posted this on another thread, but I am interested in getting back up to speed.

    First, Happy New Year to everyone.

    What is the latest with the charter system proposed by Michael Thurmond and tabled by the school board? Has the school board had any further discussion on this subject?

    What is the latest with the superintendent search? (The board was supposed to seek input from the public, but I haven’t seen anything about that.) Where are we with finding a search firm? We are now into January and Mr. Thurmond is supposed to leave on June 30 of this year. Any news?

    What is the latest with Thurmond’s request to reserve $2.5 million for lawyers to fight Druid Hills? Exactly just what is a “reserve fund”? Does this mean that we must withhold spending this $2.5 million for the purpose of educating our kids so we can spend it for lawyers? Has the board done anything with Mr. Mayfield’s suggestion that it (the Board) step up and negotiate this matter with Druid Hills?

  22. Maybe Michael Thurmond is lending the services of his ‘communications officer’ (former campaign manager) to Beasley…

  23. Newly Elected School Board member calls fingerprinting, background check ‘conflict of interest’

    After being sent to another office to obtain an ID badge, Jester says he was told that he would be required to have a background check done on him and be fingerprinted. “The employees there were under the impression that I was an employee of the district,” says Jester. “And told me that I would be fingerprinted for a background check in advance of receiving a badge.”

    Jester contends that he is in fact not an employee of the County and is not required by law to be fingerprinted or have his background checked. “I researched this and found that both DeKalb BOE policy (GAHB) and state law (OCGA 20-2-51) explicitly state that BOE members are not employees.”

    Jester says he has also decided there is no reason for him to even have an ID badge in the first place – “It isn’t necessary for me to perform my duties” – and that this episode has been about control and indicates why communities want to leave DeKalb.

    “This episode has been illustrative of the problems the school district causes itself within the community. First you insisted there was a policy and law that simply wasn’t there. When that didn’t stick, rather than admit to this and showing modern adaptability, you invented new reasons that I should comply. This whole exercise has been about control. It is a parable for how DCSD treats communities, schools, and even teachers. It is why communities seek to break away from DeKalb,” Jester wrote.

  24. concerned citizen says:

    “Modern adaptability” is not a quality that is present in MJ’s slim volume of leadership profiles. That he would attack Stan Jester does not surprise any of us who personally have experienced MJ’s wrath. There is no way MJ could have written these e-mails, either. He simply does not have the brains to write at the level I see here, never mind that he is so wrong in what he says. I believe he will find efforts to bring Jester to heel for him will not produce the puppet the Palace wants. Stan Jester thinks for himself and cannot be bullied by the likes of MJ. Nice try, MJ, but, sorry, you picked the wrong person to try to intimidate. Also, you have now publically shown your true colors; therefore, you can expect some reaction.

  25. @Howdy: Happy New Year!

    In answer to your questions >>

    Don’t know.
    Don’t know.
    Don’t know.

    But, we do suspect that Michael Thurmond (a lawyer, who has already spent $50,000 a month for over a year on lawyers to ‘train’ the board) will definitely be hiring more lawyer friends.

    And we also suspect that the superintendent search is a ruse. The push to hold the search behind closed doors without forming citizen committees is a clue. Also, the push to suddenly highlight Morcease Beasley is a clue. Get ready to meet your next super – because after months of ‘searching’ (behind closed doors), the board will say they found the best candidate right here at home! (It’s exactly how Dr. Lewis got Pat Pope – and also remember that our current super, Michael Thurmond, was hired in a back door “Executive Session” deal. We aren’t expecting much more transparency than in the past. Why would they want a true education leader? It would only cost several powerful administrators their jobs… they will be fighting hard behind the scenes. Believe us.)

  26. howdy1942 says:

    I’m going to give the new school board an opportunity to get this superintendent search on track. We now have seven members on the board with some new ones. I am hopeful that this board will be more sensitive to the concerns of the community. I saw Morcease Beasley’s presentation to the school board regarding the efforts of Druid Hills to be annexed into Atlanta. He was very emotional to the extent of shouting at the board. He was very combative and his anger toward Druid Hills was very apparent. That is not what Dekalb County needs at this point. We don’t need a former Dekalb County administrator as Chairman of the School Board AND a superintendent who is a present administrator.

    There are many, many qualified people out there. They are presently superintendents in school systems of from 40,000 – 50,000 students and earn in the neighborhood of $160,000 per year with proven results. There are also some excellent candidates at perhaps the Nation’s military academies who may be retiring (at around age 52 – 54) and now serve in academic roles. But we are not going to get any of them if we don’t search for them. We need to find someone who is impeccably honest, who puts his/her students first and who listens to the community, one who has the ability to unite and not divide, one who can build teams, and one who expects and rewards performance. It doesn’t matter what color the skin is of the next superintendent nor does it matter if it is a he or she.

    This school board needs to go about searching for that candidate. We’ve not had a decent superintendent in years and our school system shows that. Let’s do this search right!

  27. DeKalb Observer says:

    Atlanta Schools are about to grow even more:
    Atlanta Section 8 waiting list opens
    http://ocgnews.com/index.php/local-news/3545-atlanta-section-8-waiting-list-opens

  28. @Howdy: ” But we are not going to get any of them if we don’t search for them.”

    Exactly.

  29. For Ann Barber: Who are you? Have you ever worked in a school in this county and seen first hand what teachers and children endure? If so, like me, all you would want is a way to get an administration in place that would fix this mess.
    Why did you refer to Stan Jester as a snowflake? You say you want to stop partisan bickering, but the first thing you do is inject race into your comments.
    Let’s give the man a chance to make a difference. At this point, any people who can make this nightmare go away, black, white, or any other color , background, religion etc., deserve our support.
    As for Beasley as superintendent: if that happens, of if any F&F member is hired, my last shred of hope will disappear. We need someone with no connections, no baggage, and no hidden agendas. Let’s make DeKalb a place where the children have the opportunity, not the administrators and politicians.

  30. Ann Barber says:

    ‘Special little snowflake’ carries no racial weight. it refers to being so unique, so special that the rules don’t apply. I usually hear it applied to children whose parents make no effort to control or socialize them because they are such special snowflakes. Not everything is about race.

  31. Atlanta Media Guy says:

    Morcease Beasley!!!!!!! Good Grief! DCSS mired in the muck of mediocrity for a dozen years! Why not Tyson? She is still the person pushing most of the buttons that Thurmond takes credit for! This has become an absolute nightmare!

    Proof positive the Georgia Constitution needs to be changed and allow new towns and cities create, fund and decide of the direction for their own School Systems. DCSS has not listened to their employees, who would leave in droves if Beasley was Super, their stakeholders, who pay their salaries or the state, who also provides money for their Billion dollar Boondoggle . The F&F’s are entrenched and they think they are not going anywhere! All they are doing is priming their pension pump and making fun of us snowflakes!.

  32. Ann Barber do you think us white folks are stupid. My daughter was called ” Snow Bunny” for the 4 years she was the only white blonde on the varsity cheerleading team. Their were only 3 white cheerleaders on the team. I repeatedly told my daughter it was the equivalent of her calling them the N word or a modernized form of cracker. I wanted to complain to the school for this outrageous race ism, but my child was too naive. Then finally we saw a first 48 hrs episode where the black suspects referred to the white meth head they were hanging out with before the murder as ” snow bunny”. They kept saying to the cops you know a snow bunny.

    So a snow flake like a snow bunny is a raciest term. Don’t try to act like your not throwing some big time shade at Stan. We aren’t stupid. Most of us, have proven ourselves to be pretty darn smart.

  33. Ann Barber says:

    You are wrong. Very wrong. There was no racist context. You do not know my race. You are wrong. Do not deflect my valid criticism of his behavior by insinuating a racist context was intended. You are wrong.

  34. dsw2contributor says:

    Unban dictionary entry for “special little snowflake”:
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=special%20little%20snowflake

    An article on Mommyish, titled “The 9 Types Of Special Snowflake Children Who Aren’t Special At All”: http://www.mommyish.com/2013/11/18/special-snowflake-children/

  35. teacher says:

    Marney and Ann,

    I’m not sure Stan hasn’t chosen a worthy battle nor focused on the students. We can’t expect the school district to fulfill its obligations to students and to taxpayers when those in the most important decision-making positions haven’t been properly vetted. We have or have had regional superintendents or superintendent cabinet members who generate money by selling their own books and plagiarizing others’ works.

    We have administrators-in and out of the school buildings-who apply supposed policy, even when there is none, or make demands with little to no rationale.

    No matter who serves on the school board, the same people like Ronald Ramsey oversee all things legal and ethical. He’s been around since Crawford Lewis’s royal chair, gas card, and vacation fun money, so I think any opportunity Stan has to expose and to change the ethical and operational problems of Dekalb benefits us teachers and our many students.

  36. teacher says:

    dsw2contributor,

    I read Downey’s post today and wondered when Beasley meets with these 150 teachers monthly.

    Can anyone verify this? I’ve never seen one email or announcement asking us teachers to attend such a meeting or participate in any discussion. Nor have I received any information from other teachers or administrators asking for input.

  37. Atlanta Media Guy says:

    I could not have said it better myself, teacher! The Clew Crew has got to go! The new Super is going to have to clean house or nothing is going to change. It will be another Atkinson nightmare all over again! Ron Ramsey, MJ, Beasley, Tyson, Mayfield, Takeisha and the rest must go. How can anyone expect change, when the same people are running the insane asylum? Don’t forget folks, the very people who committed fraud against DCSS, Pope, her husband and Clew are no longer in jail. Whee! Isn’t it great to live in such a corrupt county! The Billion Dollar Boondoggle of a school system will not change their entitled attitude until the Palace is cleansed from top to bottom!

    You can call me cynical, but how long must the stakeholders put up with lousy leadership at the Palace?! I once admired Thurmond, when he was labor commissioner and I actually thought he would bring common sense to the Palace, but his friendship with the former BOE Chair, Eugene Walker far outweighed the obligations he has for OUR kids and their teachers to be successful in the schools! Walker’s move was all bout the F & F and keeping their Palace gravy train intact.

    Stan, I look forward to you shining a light on the incompetence at the Palace.

  38. howdy1942 says:

    Saw on the AJC website that Atlanta Mayor Reed has fired his Fire Chief Kelvin Cochrane for comments he made in his self-published book. There was apparently no violation of any ethical standard. At the Dekalb County School System, we have someone who did breach ethical standards and gets promoted to area superintendent. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what is wrong at the Dekalb County School System.

    @teacher – I would be interested in your findings regarding Beasley’s claim that he meets with 150 students monthly. Please let all of us know. One thing is for sure – the most recent school board promised to involve the public in its search for superintendent – no later than December. For sure, that has not happened.

    I don’t live in Stan Jester’s district, but he really hit the nail on the head when he stated that this school system has a major problem with a very significant portion of the Dekalb community and also accurately cites the fact that this same majority (at a minimum) wants to be out of the Dekalb County School System. That voice of dissent only grows louder with each passing day. Rather than blowing its own horn so often (from the small end), this school board and this administration really ought to focus its energies on restoring relationships with the whole community to the extent that those who live in the community would fill the AJC with praise of its school system.

    I was intrigued by an earlier comment about the “inward focus” that this superintendent search has taken. I regularly eat at Chick-fil-A and have long had the greatest respect for its focus on the customer, its high quality of service, and the courteous people it employs. My daughters regularly give me Chick-fil-A gift cards, calenders, pajamas (yep, that right!) and, for one of their Christmas gifts this year, they gave me a copy of the book “How Did YOu Do It, Truett?” I would heartily recommend that each member of the new school board read it. It is short – 95 pages and simply written in large print. Throughout this book, Truett Cathy focuses on his customers, his employees, and his product. I’ve always defined customers as being the ones who pay the bill and that would be, in the case of the Dekalb County School System, the taxpayer. The vast majority of its employees are the teachers. And the product is a high school graduate prepared for life. If this school board does not even include its customers in its search for a superintendent, if it proceeds with an “inward focus”, and if it does not serve it customers, its employees, or its product by truly conducting a search for the most qualified candidate to lead the Dekalb County School System, then it will have failed, failed, failed. Surely, Dekalb County deserves better.

  39. Just Wondering says:

    “Keep your eyes on the prize.” Please there are so many very important problems facing our students, staff and schools. Mr. Jester did get a back ground check done by the DeKalb Police Department He posted it for anyone to see.. Isn’t this enough? Give him a chance. Why was this even news? There was nothing negative in his background. How did it hurt anyone or anything that he had it done by the police department. We do not need to look for excuses to hurt each other. Look at all the comments about this.
    In the meantime:
    Someone wrote awful comments on one of our elementary schools. They were comments full of hate. It is going to be very cold on Thursday morning What about all of the students that will be standing in the cold waiting for their bus. Some of the schools had no heat. There are many teaching jobs open on the DCSS employment portal. Henderson Middle, Chamblee Middle, Towers and Smoke Rise Elementary are all without principals. These are very important jobs. Who is going to be our next superintendent? DeKalb is not paying into Social Security or the TSA, this will impact staff for the rest of our lives. No one in the system ever mentions this. Insurance cost are going up and services are going down.

    I am not trying to just list a bunch of issues. I am trying to say that we have to be careful not to let things take us away from really important issues.

  40. All true JW – and we have reported on those issues many, many times. This situation with Stan is interesting, because ‘someone’ (apparently a board member or a top administrator in HR or internal affairs or above) leaked to the press that Stan would not submit to fingerprinting. He was no sooner sworn in than WSB was pounding on his door. Now that is interesting to us — who is trying to bring the media in on such trivial issues?

    Read more here >>

    DeKalb school board member refuses fingerprint check by district

    DeKalb Co. school board member refuses fingerprint check by district

    ===
    FROM STAN’S EMAILS POSTED ON HIS WEBSITE; TO: Stockman, Rachel (CMG-Atlanta); JAN. 4, 2015, IN RESPONSE TO HER INQUIRY FOR A STATEMENT, HAVING HEARD STAN DECLINED TO BE FINGERPRINTED BY DCSS STAFF >>>

    I do not object to a thorough background check or being fingerprinted. In fact, last week I sent the Chair a copy of my background check completed by the Dunwoody Police Department. Additionally, I have already made arrangements to have my fingerprints taken by the DeKalb County Police Department tomorrow morning to address anyone’s concerns. I will be putting my reports online and they will be made available for anyone to see. I challenge the rest of the board members and administration to do the same. I do reject the manner and rationale of the board Chair in dealing with this issue. It has ranged from inaccurate to intimidating. Our children deserve better. Rather than try to bully or embarrass other board members, I will take great care to do what is in the best interests of children and taxpayers.

    Stan Jester

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