Opinion: DeKalb parents ought to get involved in superintendent search

DeKalb parent and education advocate Allyson Gevertz offers advice today on what county residents can do to support school reform. Co-founder of the countywide parent advocacy group Parent Councils United, Gevertz had urged the DeKalb school board to involve the community in the search as it has now done.

By Allyson Gevertz

dekalbmapIn recent years, DeKalb County government and the DeKalb County School District have weathered multiple scandals and widespread corruption.

Both the government and the school system have made steps toward reform — CEO Lee May’s Operations Task Force and Gov. Deal’s removal of DeKalb’s Board of Education members — but the bad news keeps coming.

At this point, cityhood movements, annexation proposals, and potential constitutional amendments demonstrate DeKalb citizens’ desire for change. The two concerns that are repeatedly voiced at community meetings are the quality of the school system and the ethical standards of DeKalb’s leaders.

What can DeKalb citizens do right now to support reform in DeKalb?

Demonstrate support for the individuals that have been charged with helping our Board of Education choose our next school superintendent: the Community Liaison Group (or Superintendent Selection Committee).

Here are the members:

William Boone, Political Science Department, Professor at Clark Atlanta University

Rick Callihan, CEO and Owner of Ameriglo

Diane McClearen, 2016 President Elect DeKalb Chamber of Commerce

John Evans, President, DeKalb NAACP

Rhina Fernandes Williams, Asst. Professor of Multicultural Education, Georgia State University

Urcel Fields, Vice President of Network Management, Amerigroup

Carolyn Finnerty, Parent

Lance Hammonds, NorFalco Account Manager – South Atlantic Region

Gwen Johnson, Citizen

Barbara Lee, Retired DCSD Educator

Katherine Kelbaugh, Principal, The Museum School

Kerwin Lee, Pastor, Berean Christian Church

Michelle Penkava, Representative of Parent Councils United

Al Tiede, CEO & Owner of Horizon Windows Atlanta

Eliezer Velez, Managing Director of Youth Programs, Latin American Association

Betty Willis, Senior Vice President, Emory University

What does that support look like?

1. Pay attention to the superintendent search.  The search firm, PROACT, provides updates on the DeKalb County Schools website:

2. Tell your Board of Education members you are happy with their decision to appoint a Community Liaison Group.

3. If you see a member of the liaison group, thank them for their service. They have a huge responsibility to help select the next leader of our district. It will take an incredible amount of volunteer time and energy.

4. Do not ask group members or Board of Education members for confidential information. Respect that their ability to successfully do their job is 100 percent contingent on their ability to maintain confidentiality. Superintendents will not consider working at a system where names and contract details are leaked. Our Board of Education learned this lesson during a previous superintendent search.

5. Buy into the process. PROACT has taken information from focus groups, community engagement sessions, and online surveys to create a Position Profile.This profile will guide the search firm, as well as the Liaison Group and Board of Education, as they narrow the field of superintendent candidates. If you have input for the Board or Liaison Group, email PROACT’s CEO, Gary Solomon, at gary@k12leader.com. He has said that he will take public input (including candidate resumés and recommendations) and include it in the equitable evaluation process used for all candidates.

6. Expect the best from the Liaison Group. As a group, they are tasked with bringing their life experiences and good judgment to the table. Expect that they will do their job with integrity, then hold them accountable. Expect them to find us an outstanding superintendent.

Once the Liaison Group has done their job and we have an outstanding superintendent, we will also have something else that could help solve DeKalb’s problems: A group of citizens who has brought transparency, integrity, and ethics to their public work. Soon, we will be asking them to run for office.

 

 

Reader Comments 0

51 comments
popacorn
popacorn

After reading all this, no wonder DeKalb has been chosen as the insertion point of the worlds enema tube. 

DSW2
DSW2

FWIW, the person who leaves comments under the moniker 'anothercomment' also leaves comments here. The AJC has a paid staff that can monitor comments, yet many of these remain - and no one refers to the AJC as a 'mafia'... interesting.


We simply report the news, and then have discussions. Go to the tab in our navigation bar at the top of the page and click on "DCSS in the News"... peruse the headlines - they tell the story - year after year after year.  If you find a comment in our discussions to be offensive, please send us an email at dekalbschoolwatch@gmail.com and we will take it down. We don't have time to sit and read through every discussion and every comment but we do get email notifications and will respond to every one. We are volunteers. Help us out if you have a problem. 


We need to choose this next superintendent very carefully. We happen to believe that the current powers that be will push very hard to place someone who will not mess with the status quo: ie: Top-heavy, high dollar administrators and cuts to teachers and classrooms in order to pay for it all.  Pay very close attention - as Allyson says - get involved. Get very, very involved. And think for yourself - don't just blindly believe us, or the AJC or the DCSS board or administrators. Do your own reading and research and make your findings known.

FredinDeKalb
FredinDeKalb

@DSW2 

*Once again, you took our MLK comment out of context and painted a distorted picture of us on the AJC blog.*


Taking comments and information out of context is the root of many of the conversations on your blog.  It is consistently done with issues (Heery lawsuit), people (Friends and Family) and even with the TRS vs. Board TSA.  Remember how I would also say,


Data and information without context can tell a misleading story.


I also do not remember your blog discussing the fire and impact it had on the students at Fairington.  I'd welcome correction if I am wrong, especially if you could provide a link.  Again, it is your blog and you can discuss what you'd like.

DSW2
DSW2

@FredinDeKalb @DSW2 Yes, we discussed it - just not as a main news post. But we are not a news reporting organization, we are a watchdog blog. As always, we encourage the school district to create their own blog and post all about the news of DeKalb schools. This is something they should be [and easily could be] doing - but they only tweet. Tweets are not discussions. We only try to add facts and data to the PR that the school district pushes out to news organizations. If they would like to add in-depth information along with relevant data, then yes, they really should be hosting their own blog.

Mandella88
Mandella88

@DSW2 @FredinDeKalb

Let me get this straight: At the beginning of this blog, you state that the Mafia "simply report[s] the news" but now you are saying that you "are not a news reporting organization."  Which is it?  I don't think the Mafia knows because their minds have become so sick and twisted, they cannot keep up with what they say.


Furthermore, you didn't discuss anything on DeKalb Schools Watch II.  You stated that you "shared" this information, but that is only as a sidebar posting to one of hateful tirades against the DeKalb school system.  I guarantee that you went back to the safe house and desperately dug up any posting you could possibly find.  If you are taking credit for those postings, then guess what - You can take credit for AnotherComment's MLK post.  But you "don't have time to sit and read through every discussion and every comment," right?


On a closing note, the Mafia is about as much of a watchdog as Paris Hilton's chihuahua - tiny, insignificant, and never able to shut up with that yapping little bark.

Mandella88
Mandella88

@DSW2

And yet you singled out African-Americans?  For what reason? (maybe it was to support Howdy1942's plan to separate the district into two school systems separated by US 78)


Please feel free to also share the links to the blog thread where you detailed all of those items as individual postings as well.  I'd love to see the links to the individual stories.

Mandella88
Mandella88

@DSW2

No one refers to the AJC as a Mafia because all opinions are welcomed and allowed to be presented.  That is not the case on your website which is why you are known as a Mafia (What's the matter? You can label anyone that disagrees with you as a troll or a member of the Friends and Family program, but can't take being called a Mafia?).  Furthermore, the AJC does not allow, then manipulate, a thumbs up/down voting process on comments nor do you read Ms. Downey attempting to single out a race when addressing an issue that transcends race as YOU wrote on your MLK day post:


"In reality, the breakdown of the family unit among African-Americans in the U.S. [for a whole host of reasons] is mostly to blame." 


You may not have time to read through all of the posts, but you may want to start.  As the moderator for your blog, you are responsible for what is put there.  Nonetheless, even when a comment is identified as offensive, you fail to remove them.  Not more than two posts below Another Comment's post on your blog was a comment from an individual saying that she found the posting offensive on the same day.  Why did you not care to address the post from Another Comment then?  Easy.  Because until the comment was noted here on this blog and the Mafia were called out for what they really stand for, you were going to keep it intact as a posting on the MLK holiday.


You say you simply report the news?  That may be the funniest thing that I have ever read on this site.  Did you report on the 16 of 22 high schools in the district identified as recipients of AP Honor awards, the upgrade in the accreditation status, the male empowerment conference, the needs and subsequent support of Fairington Elementary after it caught fire?  Of course you didn't because all of those items are stories on the positive things happening in the district and are easily found in the district's press release (it only took me less than two minutes to find them).  No, you and your Mafia members only post negative things (whether they are true, conjecture, or just out and out lies).


Your blog causes more damage to the district than the work of any poor employee.  How many Superintendent candidates are going to race to the school system knowing that nothing they do will ever be correct?  How many teaching candidates do you think read your blog and say this is a district I would like to work in because I want to serve children?  The school system could offer any salary, any benefits, and all that any potential high-quality employee would have to do is read a single one of your postings to get a warped and incorrect view of the school system and cause them to go elsewhere.  Great things are happening in all of the schools around the district and the Mafia's days of marginalizing or ignoring them are almost over.

DSW2
DSW2

We did share the news on all of the above except the male empowerment - we've never heard of such a thing. 


Once again, you took our MLK comment out of context and painted a distorted picture of us on the AJC blog. When that comment was posted, we were discussing an article in the NY Times about the protests held in Atlanta on MLK day. Read the post here >> http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/20/us/king-holiday-events-include-air-of-protest-over-deaths-of-black-men.html


And here is the comment in full (which you only pulled one sentence from ) >>


"In reality, the breakdown of the family unit among African-Americans in the U.S. [for a whole host of reasons] is mostly to blame. So many young men and boys have been or are being raised by second or third generation single mothers and are missing key lessons in the importance of fatherhood. This is a whole different issue – it’s economics and access, not necessarily race as there are many more families in the U.S. in the same situation. Parenting should be taken much more seriously, right from conception. We are in a quagmire of public policy on the issue, as we continue to reward women for having more children, but those children suffer the ills of poverty throughout their lives – a poverty that has become nearly impossible to escape, as the middle class dwindles."

"Education is key. We have the money necessary to lift young people out of poverty through education. We have the ability to teach trades, economics and family planning. We have the ability to enlighten young people as to how to forge a healthy, successful life and to be true to your own family as your highest order. These notions used to be taught in American schools, however, political correctness has put an end to it. In reality, what we refer to as ‘political correctness’ is only good for politicians – and is terrible for those it pretends to protect.

Take a look around – successful children – regardless of race – by and large have family support in every aspect of their lives. Every day. Parenting is a job. Parenting skills and the value of family (rather than money) can and should be taught to children in school. Waiting until they are adults and their own children are already in school is far too late."

Frstrtd_DeKalb_Parent
Frstrtd_DeKalb_Parent

It is disturbing that someone convicted of a crime committed while in public office and who states that blacks should be given contract priority regardless of qualification is on a committee whose sole task is to recommend the most qualified person to be the next superintendent  This decision must be color-blind and the next superintendent must come from outside the district for there to be any chance of restoring the public's trust and educating the kids of the county.

anothercomment
anothercomment

What is worse it is Board chair Melvin Williams who put convicted Felon John Evans on the committee. convicted of taking bribes for contracts. Who in December told Richard Belcher that while Black Folks could not compete on contracts, but while they are in power they should get rich off contracts anyways.

Dekalb Parents should demand this Felon's removal from the selection panel.

TheDeal2
TheDeal2

@Mandella88 @TheDeal2 @Spence5948 @anothercomment What is best about you is that you throw around lies as if they are facts.  Your moniker is a disgrace to the real Mandela.  Given your ignorance of history and the truth, I am certain you work for the DeKalb County central office.  Literally the only people in this county pushing that stupid male empowerment conference were the central office employees.  Are you also behind the #realmenread hashtag?  So incredibly stupid.

You also have very thin skin if you care about thumbs up and down comments on a blog that you apparently monitor 24/7 even though you purport to hate it.  What are you, 12 years old?

DSW2
DSW2

FWIW - here's a statement about John Evans >>

I’m pretty sure the John Evans named to the Superintendent Search Committee is the same John Evans who was convicted of accepting a bribe. Mr. Evans is by all accounts living a fine life on the right side of the law. As a political geek’s footnote, it was Bob Barr, as United States Attorney, who oversaw the Evans trial.

But the appearance of having someone who previously was convicted of official corruption helping to choose the successor to a Superintendent who pled guilty to a misdemeanor after being charged with official corruption is questionable at best.

Oh! That wasn't from DSW2 - it was from the Georgia Pundit ... 

http://gapundit.com/2015/03/03/georgia-politics-campaigns-and-elections-for-march-3-2015/

DSW2
DSW2

@Mandella88 @DSW2 Yes. We are saying that this school board, who placed John Evans on the superintendent search committee -- a convicted felon proven to have taken over $5000 in bribes, who said on television that the school board needed to "massage" the process to make sure we have black representation -- will not be interested in hiring a white person. And no, we don't usually participate in Maureen's blog, however, our name has been brought up here far too many times by you and 'Fred' for us to ignore. Those who would like to know the truth, are free to visit our blog and join the conversation. And yes, we do censor trolls. Sock puppets too. Look up the definitions. Then look in the mirror. 

Mandella88
Mandella88

@DSW2

Wrong again DSW2.  The OED defines racism as the "belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races."  Saying that ALL people of a certain race would vote in a certain manner because of a candidate's skin color defines minorities as having a characteristic specific only to that race, and is thus racism.


Stay off the Dictionary app when looking up the full meaning of words, mmm-kay?

Mandella88
Mandella88

@TheDeal2 @Mandella88 @Spence5948 @anothercomment

Maybe I should get a lobotomy and change my moniker to TheDealTwo.  Then I can be just like you. 


Nonetheless, my little keyboard commando and Mafia soldier, you're too smart for all of us and you have intelligently figured out my secret identity:


I am a thin-skinned twelve-year-old, and I work in the DeKalb County central office.


How did you figure all of this out while posting from your mom's basement?

Mandella88
Mandella88

@DSW2 @Mandella88

Oh and regarding you comment on being a "sock puppet"


Just because someone disagrees with your opinion does not make them a troll.


When you "censor" free speech, you manifest one of the most un-American things you can do.  How about you thinking about that when you look in the mirror.... 

DSW2
DSW2

And no, that is not racism.  This is the definition of racism >>

1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.


2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination. 


Assuming all persons of a certain race will vote a certain way is a stereotype. And in DeKalb, it appears to be a self-fulfilling stereotype.

DSW2
DSW2

@Mandella88

"...so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races."

That is the key. Racism is the idea that one race is superior or inferior to another.

And yes, groups are often lumped together as voting blocs. It's how politicians determine how to phrase a message in order to get 'group' votes. 

Our school board (and county commissioners) most often have split votes along racial lines. 

We aren't making this up. 

DSW2
DSW2

@Mandella88 @DSW2 

FWIW, in reality, we deleted about 12 comments in all of 2014 (out of a total of over 20,000).  None were from anyone named "Mandella". Most were from 'anothercomment'.

FredinDeKalb
FredinDeKalb

@DSW2 @Mandella88 It seems the more DSW2 tries to justify allowing comments by *anothercomment* who posts inflammatory comments yet bans Fred for having a different point of view yet truthful, it exposes what that websites' true intentions are.  It would be interesting to see of the 12 comments deleted that were posted by Fred's so others can see who the real troll or sock puppet is.  


Again, it is their site and they can post and allow whom they want.  For DSW2 to say their mission is to have a community to discuss solutions for improving DeKalb schools is false.

Mandella88
Mandella88

@anothercomment

Well, well, well.  Her comes the "wisdom" from members of the  DeKalb Schools Watch II Mafia.  Check out what Anothercomment wrote on the Mafia's website on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday posting:


"The ironic thing is MLK jr has been exposed as not a family man but an adulterer.  This weakness in character definitely shown up in his own money hungry kids.  Neither of the boys has a legitimate job, earned by their own hard work. How typical of the black males that have been raised by their mothers.  By black women who, were not and are not strong, because they allow their men to cheat on them as Ms. King did.  Now Black women don’t even expect or require marriage."


The sickest thing about these people is that the Mafia left the comment up even after it was deemed offensive by other posters.  Stay away from these nuts, people. I always find it humorous when they are so judgmental of others!

FredinDeKalb
FredinDeKalb

@Mandella88 @anothercomment 


What started out as a good website that shared valuable information and encouraged balanced discussions between those truly interested in improving DeKalb schools has become one that allows frequent misrepresentations, online harassment and cyber bullies.  That is why posters such as anothercomment can find a safe haven there.  As Madella88 indicates, the silence of the few good people on that site that still participate reflects the acceptance of the many despicable comments made. 


They should change their banner to reflect what their real purpose is now.  It is OK to have *Gripe* sites but at least admit what you are.

Mandella88
Mandella88

@DSW2

Yet, it was reposted on the DeKalb Schools Watch II Mafia page, just below a posting from one of the Mafia's soldiers, Howdy1942 (also know as HowdyJune here on GetSchooled):


"You know, things could certainly be so much improved for everyone in Dekalb County if the Legislature would simply split it into two parts – the area north of U.S. 78 and that south of U.S. 78 and allow the State to vote to split the DCSS into the same two parts. The County Commission is split 4-3 as is the school board. So many of the issues discussed on this blog would simply go away"


Wow.  Split the county along the 78 corridor, where the majority of African Americans live to the south against the majority of whites north of this line.  Again, people, this sort of posting is all you need to know about the folks at DeKalb Schools Watch II

DSW2
DSW2

@Mandella88 @DSW2 Again, how is it different when the very same people leave comments here at the AJC?

Mandella88
Mandella88

@DSW2 @Mandella88

This is not a discussion about GetSchooled.  


But to your point, no one has Ms. Downey saying to them that they must be a "Palace" "Friends and Family" employee, nor is anyone labeled a "troll" by her if they disagree with her opinions.  There are no manipulated likes/dislikes thumbs, and she highlights positive stories as well.


Its different because as much as you try and want to be, you, DSW2, are no Maureen Downey; however, I am still looking forward to your explanation on why you support Howdy1942/HowdyJune racial split of the district.  After all, YOU like to see things in color as well as noted in your posting below:


"Reading Philip Lanoue’s bio, we believe he certainly sounds highly qualified. A real catch for DeKalb County Schools. Here’s why, though, he won’t even be considered for the job of superintendent of DeKalb County Schools:
1. He is white.
2. He is superintendent of Clarke County Schools where Michael Thurmond graduated.
3. He is white.
4. He has a real master’s degree and a real Ph.D. from real universities.
5. And did we mention that Lanoue is white?"


Are you saying that the only reason why this individual wouldn't get the Superintendent's position is because minorities wouldn't vote for him? 


believe that childishly assuming ALL people of a certain race would act or behave (or vote) in a certain way because of the color of their skin is racism; however, I'm sure you have a wonderful reason for saying these things.  You should probably go back over to the Mafia's Safe House now.  This blog is for adults.

Falcaints
Falcaints

Private schools don't want vouchers, that would require they play by the same rules as public schools which of course would defeat the purpose.  The idea of money following the child is a pure canard, propagated by those who want to destroy public education.

Starik
Starik

@Falcaints A large part of the voucher movement, along with the other versions of the get-me-out-of-here movement is that parents want to get their kids out of what public education in DeKalb has become, especially in grades 7-12.

FedUp DeKalbGOP
FedUp DeKalbGOP

Ms. Gervetz believes that her best path is to "play nice" but in doing so she plays right into the friends and family mess that is DCSS.  But by doing this, she plays right into Melvin Johnson and his cronies desires to maintain the status quo. 


FedUp DeKalbGOP
FedUp DeKalbGOP

@Mandella88  I was trying to respect Ms. Gervetz's wishes and not talk badly about the committee members.   For argument's sake, compare the members of the committee to those suggested by Parents Council Union (the group that Ms. Gervetz helped found) and then get back to me. 


In this case, Melvin Johnson wants the appearance of cooperating with what the community asked for (a committee) without any real possibility of it mattering much.  Without a doubt, and I would put substantial money on it, Johnson wants an insider to become superintendent.  That is why he resisted so many of the Parent Council's recommendations and is really only giving the appearance of acquiescence for a process like City of Atlanta had.  



Mandella88
Mandella88

@amomwhocares

Why don't you draft a response detailing a better way to work to get a new Superintendent?  I know that you won't, though, because it would require you to put your full name out there, and the DeKalb Schools Watch II Mafia likes to work in the shadows and darkness.

Mandella88
Mandella88

@amomwhocares

Here comes the required "You must be a member of the Friends and Family central office" statement or the "troll" label in three, two, one....

Mandella88
Mandella88

@amomwhocares @Mandella88

Then state right here for the record that you will donate $1000 to the closest DeKalb Title I school if a DeKalb insider is not selected as the next Superintendent.  Since you are a "mom who cares," I am sure you would stand by your word.  Its what you expect the school system to do, right?

Don't Tread
Don't Tread

DeKalb parents ought to get involved in making school choice a reality instead of all this window dressing.

Spence5948
Spence5948

16 person "Community Liaison Group"?  That should be productive.

TheDeal2
TheDeal2

A bit Pollyanna but Alyson's heart is in the right place.  She knows that the friends and family will not tolerate pressure or negativity, so she is playing nice.  I myself do not thank the board of education members for doing their job or for doing a very base level of what is expected. Part of my taxes going to pay them is enough of a thank you for the minimum being met. I will thank them when something they do shows me that they are placing students at the top of their priority list or not having to be bullied or pressured into doing what they were supposed to be doing all along.  Patting them on the head for not peeing on the carpet only reinforces their bad behavior.

Belinda51
Belinda51

Mandela--I'm talking taxes and you're talking trash.

TheDeal2
TheDeal2

@Mandella88 What are you talking about?  As usual, you are attacking posters instead of commenting on the post?  Who are you to say I don't live in DeKalb County?  Where do you live? 

Belinda51
Belinda51

I hear ya. The school portion of my property tax is 69%. Unbelievable for the results we get. And I have no children in school!!!

Mandella88
Mandella88

@Belinda51

Even better, most of the DeKalb Schools Watch II Mafia (like TheDeal2) don't even live in DeKalb....

Mandella88
Mandella88

@TheDeal2 @Mandella88

BWAHAHAHAHA - You just proved that you don't!!!!!


Classic example of an EPIC fail.  You mean like attacking posters by calling them "Friends and Family" when they disagree with you?  Or perhaps you mean when you call someone who is trying to do the right thing "Pollyanna?"  Maybe you should slither back over to the Mafia's Safe House....



Bill Fisher
Bill Fisher

Isn't this the same John Evans ex-county commissioner who served Federal time for tax problems a few years ago?

Rickster_
Rickster_

@Bill Fisher His entry should read "John Evans, Convicted Felon and President, DeKalb NAACP"