Superintendent Search Search Update April 11, 2015

DeKalb County School District – Superintendent Search Update April 11, 2015 The process of searching for a new Superintendent of DCSD began with the hiring of the search firm, PROACT Search, LLC. The DCSD Board also approved a timeline for the search. Recruitment of Applicants Ads were placed in the following publications and online:

  • Education Week – March 18th Edition
  • AASA, online for 30 days from March 9th
  • School Spring – Online March 4th until closed
  • LinkedIn – Online March 4th for 30 days
  • NABSE – Online March 4th for 30 days
  • Atlanta Business Chronicle – Online March 5thfor 30 days
  • Atlanta Journal Constitution – Online March 13th until closed
  • PROACT Search Website
  • PROACT Search Blog

Beyond advertisement, PROACT used the following methods of recruiting: face to face recruiting visits, video conference meetings, and phone calls. A great number of e-mails were sent by PROACT Search presenting the position profile and requesting nominations or applications. Recipients included: (1) administrators in Georgia, the Southeast and nationwide, (2) Superintendents nation-wide in districts of similar size, (3) members of New Leaders for New Schools, (4) professional education and business organizations and leaders in the nationwide, (5) individuals known to or lists maintained by PROACT Search, (6) and executives in higher education. As of April 10th, the application deadline, PROACT Search received applications from 120 candidates. DCSD-Search-Update-4.11.2015-1 Next Steps

  • Screening of candidates, including interviews, rubrics, reference checks, and other information.
  • Presentation of top 20-25 candidates to the Community Liaison Group on April 23, 2015
  • Presentation of top 8-12 candidates to the Board of Education on April 23, 2015
  • Coordination of first round interviews
  • First Round CONFIDENTIAL Interviews — Early May
  • Selection of Finalist Candidate(s)
  • Coordination of finalist interviews and processing of full background checks
  • Finalist Interview(s) — TBD
  • Deliberation and selection of new Superintendent of Schools for DCSD — TBD
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21 Responses to Superintendent Search Search Update April 11, 2015

  1. dsw2contributor says:

    Three observations:

    (1) 26 of the candidates may have ties to DCSD. (The math: assume everyone who does not wish to disclose if they have a tie to GA or DCSD does. That means 4% + 18% == 22% have a tie to DCSD or GA. There are 120 candidates; 22% of 120 is 26.4.)

    (2) The April 25 presentation of the “top 20-25 candidates to the Community Liaison Group” ensures that the search will not be confidential…. thereby weeding out any competent Superintendents currently holding jobs in other system.

    (3) The “Race” statistics are troubling — it appears to me that white and (especially) hispanic candidates did not see any point in applying to DCSS.

  2. Completely agree dsw. DeKalb is well-known for having racial issues – and white and Hispanic candidates have stayed away. Making it worse (or simply more clear), one member of the “community liaison group”, John Evans is the DeKalb leader of the NAACP, and a convicted felon – who was appointed to the committee by the chair of the school board Melvin Johnson. Talk about nailing up a “whites and Hispanics need not apply” sign!

  3. thedeal2 says:

    I would like to see a breakdown of where these candidates are from if they aren’t from DeKalb or Georgia. If we were drawing from all over the nation, I would expect the racial breakdown to look more like the whole country instead of like DeKalb.

  4. thedeal2 says:

    I should have been clearer – I want to know more than just “East Coast”, “Midwest”, and so on. Are they from urban areas, for example?

  5. And I should be clear about the comments regarding Evans and Johnson. They are cut from the same old cloth as Gene Walker. They are not the least bit interested in ‘diversity’ – when they use the word, they are only referring to African-Americans. They are only concerned with getting jobs and opportunities for adult African-Americans. Don’t agree? Check out the schools that are majority Hispanic – they are over-crowded and under-funded. Cross Keys is still nowhere near in as good of shape as other high schools in DeKalb. And the International Center is also highly overcrowded and under-funded – it’s housed in a retired elementary school after all. Children with little education who come from warring countries sit elbow to elbow in this school. These African-American leaders treat Hispanic and immigrant communities nearly as bad as whites used to treat the all black schools – which resulted in a decades-long federal court case.

    Michael Thurmond isn’t any better. He has made several comments about Dunwoody that reveal his disdain for that majority white community.

    You can find so many opportunities for common ground. But yet, if I travel from my house there in Stone Mountain, as I did one Sunday afternoon up to Dunwoody. It was just a 15 minute drive. But sometimes, politically, it felt like two thousand miles. What we have to recognize is that some of the dysfunction that we face at the school board is really dysfunction in the county. . . .

    We look at Dunwoody and we might criticize them, but if you really think about it. Majority to minority, is a system to move what exceptional bright kids from a large population of kids that may not be as equally as bright to a more segregated location. Right? That’s what that is. If you really look at it.

    It’s understandable when he reveals his personal story as having grown up in the segregated schools of mid-twentieth century Georgia >>

    Public education is a euphemism for race and class. We understand that. We studied the history of public education, particularly in the South, and it’s always been racially charged. From its inception, post Civil War, Georgia, all the way up today. Often times the steps are ordered and you don’t really know how or why. Forty two years ago I graduated from Clark Central high school. It’s interesting. In the fall of 1970, those of you from Georgia, something historic from the South in Georgia. That was the year we consolidated all black school districts which were then with predominantly white school districts. We were the first consolidated class of Clark Central high school. I was 18 years old and that was the first time in my life I had a conversation with a white person my age. And that was the South. For eleven years I went to all segregated schools and the only people I interacted with were other African Americans.

    Read more here >> https://dekalbschoolwatch.com/2013/04/22/michael-thurmond-around-dekalb/

    We need an enlightened leader – someone without old stereotypes and underlying anger – someone with a vision – regardless of race – as well as someone willing to truly ‘follow the money’ and straighten out the budgets – while moving money around in order to focus on the classrooms – streamlining administration – and focusing on teachers – with equity for ALL children of DeKalb.

  6. For more discussion on Michael Thurmond’s comments about Dunwoody, read this two year old post >>

    Recap of the March 27 “Eggs & Issues” with Thurmond and Leadership DeKalb
    Posted on April 17, 2013

  7. By September of 2013, Michael Thurmond seemed to understand and admit that the issue that most effects education is not race, it is economics. Michael Thurmond, who came from poverty and is now quite wealthy and who sent his own child to private school must have known this all along. We can’t help but notice though – he never took an ounce of interest in poor black childrens’ educations in DeKalb until he was paid $300,000 a year to do so >>

    “We are all in this together…,” he said. “A school district divided against itself will not be successful. I need your help to build this opportunity. Build the bridge and we will all benefit from it as a community.”

    He said differences in student achievement did not reflect racial differences, but economic ones. White students from rich families perform better than poor white students, he said, just as black students from rich families perform better than poor black students. “It’s not about race,” he said. “If you look at the differential…, the differential is almost the same.

    “The great question is not how well my children or your children will do, but how well children from economically disadvantaged families will do,” he said. “And all economically-disadvantaged children are not low achievers.”

    Now, those are some words of Michael Thurmond’s that we can agree with. Hopefully our new superintendent will have a similar understanding as well as a plan and the guts to do something to provide equity and increase achievement for all children.

  8. PolitiMom says:

    I guess I will just never understand why it’s not ok in a job interview to ask about race/ethnic background, but it’s required information in our supt search. How is that even legal based on EEOC regs? In this day and age, it is really ridiculous.

  9. Kim says:

    Two quick comments: 1) No one has mentioned the disparity in gender of applicants; in a profession (educator) dominated by women it is a bit ridiculous that at least 2/3 of the applicants are maile, 2) I’ve called Cross Keys attendance area the canary in the political mine shaft that is DeKalb County School District. For as long as Cross Keys HS, perennially in the top three attendance area high schools of DeKalb (CCPRI), is treated as a second class priority, our community and school system is diseased. We got skunked in SPLOST IV again after the long delayed SPLOST II reno actually happned in SPLOST III. Instead, we built a school that can accommodate 2,000 students at Chamblee that now has an enrollment of 1250 while CKHS is preparing to carry 1500+ in a facility most communities would label as not fit for a modern middle school. Thank you for the chance to soapbox … it’s been a while 🙂

  10. Kim says:

    PolitiMom: I think it is allowed because it is optional on applications. The data is collected by organizations if offered so they can defend their hiring practices, typically.

  11. Not so casual observer says:

    It is my understanding from a reliable source that the portable classrooms or trailers
    were delivered to Cross Keys High School today. They will be set up in the parking
    lot that had been for some faculty–and mostly students. Maybe these displaced folks
    can park up the road at the Brookhaven MARTA station–and catch a shuttle to school!
    How inconvenient. How ridiculous. At DCSS, there is a fine line between poor planning and
    outright incompetence. Ugh.

  12. Kim says:

    Not so casual observer: Not a rumor. In fact, the high school is getting off much easier than the rest of our attendance area. See: https://youtu.be/qdOX2NPuTZY

  13. DavidS says:

    @Kim: Although the gender mix is not ideal, the 2:1-M/F ratio of applicants is not too bad, considering less than 5% of Fortune 500 companies have female CEO’s. I really don’t care if our new superintendent is black, white, female, male, short, tall or any other physical characteristics. I’d really like to get one who has, not only run a system of comparable size, but has, perhaps, turned one around that is performing as crappy as DeKalb currently is. I’ve been impressed with what I’ve read and seen so far of Meria Carstarphen at APS.
    But what I find more troubling is that only 120 applications have been received for a national search. That’s pitiful. Guess the word’s out about DeKalb. I hope we can work through it.

  14. Kim says:

    DavidS: I think you are jumping to conclusions about my comment. I, too, could not care less about the demographic profile of a super as long as they are awesome.

    My point more clearly stated is this: Statistically speaking, more than 75% of K-12 school teachers are women; 80%+ of elementary and middle school teachers are female. If four out of every five educators are women, how the hell would we end up with two out of every three candidates being male? Just based on the numbers of individuals in the profession we should see the vast majority of the candidates as women – just as a proportion of professionals in the field. Not accepting this as out of whack is odd. Would you find it odd if the Joint Chiefs were 2/3 women when the Armed Forces have something like 14% female active???

    I think we all agree we want merit to drive selection. There is NO WAY men are of higher merit than women candidates in education at more than double the rate while be less than 1/4 of the population. It just doesn’t make sense…

  15. former dekalb parent says:

    and now we have another school system looking for a super– where would you go? City of Decatur, Fulton County or Dekalb County?

  16. Very true former parent. With all of the competition for a good superintendent, we fear that only the weakest will apply to DeKalb, given the knowledge that the last three superintendents have either been fired, or charged with crimes. This is not a good sign that you will enjoy a long career unless you support the top administrative leadership and the bloated administrative costs in order to maintain the jobs program status quo — even if it means taking money from the classrooms of DeKalb.

    It will take someone with very strong character – someone fearless who will rebalance the budget in favor of students and teachers and someone who is not looking for a stopover for their resume. Maybe Michael Thurmond has been able to reverse the trend of DeKalb being a career-buster for its superintendents. We can only hope so.

  17. DavidS says:

    @Kim: I don’t know that I jumped, but I certainly inferred from your comments, right or wrong, that gender was an important characteristic to you in the selection of a new super. As I said before, to me it’s irrelevant.
    Our population is virtually 50-50 M/F and yet, as you point out, 75-80% of our teachers are women. Is that “out of whack”? I think, for the most part, it’s more about choices. We have twice as many male applicants than female because that’s who applied. What I find most disturbing is that only 35 women, nationwide, are interested in serving as DeKalb’s school superintendent.
    By the way, I served with a female CO (Captain) in a reserve Navy unit during my career, and at the time, I’m certain that females made up much less than 14% of the general military population. Did I think it was out of whack? No. I had worked with her before and knew that she was highly qualified. She was well received and had a very successful tour.

  18. Bucky Rogers says:

    There were no female superintendents in the state of Georgia until 1996. Until a mere 19 years ago, leadership and decision-making in the female-dominated field of education was limited to men only. I think it’s rather remarkable that we have 35 female applicants in DeKalb, because I assure you that those all 35 of those women have climbed uphill in cement shoes in order to become qualified.

  19. Kim says:

    DavidS and Bucky Rogers…We are all in hearty agreement then. My hope is that no matter who takes the job, and no matter their skills otherwise, they are able to rise above the petty divisions that have defined our public school communities for far too long.

  20. DavidS says:

    Kim: Very well put. And I agree. Heartily!

  21. Frustrated Dekalb Parent says:

    The Community Liaison Meeting to narrow down the candidates to the top 8-12 is scheduled for today. Do we think they will release general information on those candidates? Nothing specific to maintain confidentiality, just hopefully that they all have no ties to DCSD.

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