DeKalb parents group: Hire new superintendent rather than entice Thurmond to stay

As Monday’s DeKalb school board meeting showed, community support exists for keeping Michael Thurmond in charge of schools.

The DeKalb school board fired its search firm this week amid disturbing allegations about the CEO, but continues to move forward in its effort to replace Thurmond, including interviewing semi-finalists Friday and Saturday.

The school board meets in executive session Wednesday afternoon, which may signal it’s now ready to name finalists for the post.

In the meantime, one county-wide parent group is making clear the district needs to hire a new leader rather than entice Thurmond to stay. Here is a letter penned by Parent Councils United to the yet-to-be-chosen superintendent.

May 5, 2015

Dear New Superintendent,

DeKalb County is ready for you! We don’t know who you are, but we have been hearing about you for the last few weeks. Our Board’s Community Liaison Group is impressed by you. They became acquainted with you on paper, discussed your accomplishments, and highly recommended you to be interviewed by our Board of Education.

Michael Thurmond

Michael Thurmond

Last weekend, our BOE members left their interview with you energized and excited by what you could bring to our district. We know that you must have inspired them because they have been able to stay focused on completing their search for you in the midst of many distractions. We commend our Board for staying true to their goal of finding you, so that you can bring strong visionary leadership and continue the progress made over the last two years.

If you watched our Board of Education meetings yesterday, you are aware of the distractions our Board is facing. Board members voted to terminate the contract with our superintendent search firm, PROACT, in the midst of controversy surrounding the firm’s CEO. PROACT’s sister company, SUPES Academy, was involved in a no-bid contract with Chicago Public Schools. This contract is now under investigation.

As documents have been released during the course of the investigation, the PROACT/SUPES CEO has come under fire for his behavior in the 1990’s. Luckily, the Chicago scandal has nothing to do with you. Our Board has an independent relationship with you and doesn’t need the search firm to facilitate that.

You may be hearing that some citizens are asking our current superintendent to stay in place.  This phenomenon happens with any leadership transition—people are apprehensive of change.  Mr. Thurmond has told us that he is not interested in the job and is stepping down on June 30, 2015.  We understand the sentiment regarding Mr. Thurmond; he is beloved by many in the community.  Because of this, we believe he can help smooth the path for you.  He has the best interests of our students in mind, so we expect that he will help you transition into the superintendent role and share the wisdom he has gained over his tenure.

We want you to know that parent leaders are not the only DeKalb stakeholders who are ready to welcome you. Parent Councils United (PCU) hosted a roundtable discussion with some of DeKalb County’s most influential leaders, such as Interim CEO Lee May, DeKalb Legislative Delegation Chair Howard Mosby, and Chamber of Commerce Chair-Elect Al Edwards. During this January, 2015 meeting, we discussed cityhood initiatives, annexation movements, reform efforts, and DeKalb County schools.

The group acknowledged the quality of the school system impacts all areas of the county and that finding you was/is a top priority for DeKalb. PCU has reached out to metro Atlanta and DeKalb leaders from various organizations. These leaders stand ready to welcome you. They are affiliated with organizations such as the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, Leadership DeKalb, Leadership Atlanta, the Junior League of DeKalb County, South DeKalb Improvement Association, DeKalb County Council of PTAs, DeKalb Municipal Association, the Latin American Association and our metro Atlanta universities.

PCU is supporting our Board of Education as it hires you, and we will support you as you transition into the role as DeKalb Superintendent. PCU includes executive board members from Dunwoody Chamblee Parent Council (DCPC), Emory LaVista Parent Council (ELPC), South DeKalb Parent Council (SDPC), and Tucker Parent Council. We pledge to do whatever we can to help you so that you can lead us and our children into a bright DeKalb County future.

Sincerely,

Parent Councils United

 

Reader Comments 0

16 comments
OnlySoMuch
OnlySoMuch

Mr. Thurmond looks good compared to his dishonest predecessors. However as bu2 points out, he has kept on the same management who was at the helm in the big slide to the bottom. They are only concerned with protecting their own well paid cushy jobs.The people at the top of the org chart need to be given pink slips. Fresh perspectives and new blood is needed in all county leadership or a new supt. won't accomplish a thing.

noname1913
noname1913

I was sad to read that Mr Thurmond's staff, the ones comfortable with only one respondent to their RFP   failed to properly vet Solomon, president of ProAct.  The fact that the search firm selection & vetting happened on his watch is enough t make me wary of those wanting him to stay.

The most important next-step at hand is finding a new leader for DeKalb County. It needs to be someone new.

living-in-outdated-ed
living-in-outdated-ed

If one of the semifinalists is qualified to take the job, then there is NO REASON to ask Thurmond to stay.  


Dekalb School governance is a complete train wreck.

Frstrtd_DeKalb_Parent
Frstrtd_DeKalb_Parent

I whole-heartedly agree that we need someone besides Mr. Thurmond as the next permanent superintendent, someone who has no ties to DeKalb County, who can be objective in truly assessing the needs of the students and making the tough decisions to improve student achievement and the quality of education.

bu2
bu2

@Frstrtd_DeKalb_Parent 


I'm just wondering.  Who ARE these people???????


Thurmond is not an educator and he's relying on the same staff who have been participating in DeKalb's slide.  We need someone with an education background, not just a management background.  He's done his bit.


Maybe they are relatives of the administrative staff.

BurroughstonBroch
BurroughstonBroch

Br'er Rabbit Thurmond says, "Please don't keep me in that brier patch." And the gullible believe what he says.

He's an out-of-office Democratic politician with no chance of being elected to a statewide office. He needs this job to keep food on the table until he reaches full Social Security age in 4 more years.

Point
Point

@BurroughstonBroch  Mr. Thurmond has a job waiting on him.  I hope and pray DeKalb finds a superintendent with as much love and compassion for all God's children as Mr. Thurmond.  Large systems in Georgia have made some bad hires using these search firms.  Search firms just want to be paid, not as concerned with what you get stuck with.  Google is free and all the warnings that have been offered in other nationwide searches have turned out to be true.

BurroughstonBroch
BurroughstonBroch

@Point @BurroughstonBroch  Love and compassion for the status quo and "friends & family", but no one else. The slide down the razor blade of deterioration has continued unabated under his control.

anothercomment
anothercomment

Hopefully, they select someone who will route out the friends and family. Someone who realizes that the School diversity does not match the county diversity. That the goal as Superintendent of a Public School District is to correct the problems in the public school, in order that the Public School District demographics can mirror the demographics of the community. Folks the Dekalb School District should be over 40% white. The county is 46% white. A county will not prosper if the educted middle and upclass does not feel it can put its children in its public schools.

Starik
Starik

@anothercomment If the trend continues there won't be anybody to provide the white part of diversity.

Mandella88
Mandella88

@anothercomment

Why don't you worry about this in your own county.  Everyone that knows you, knows that you don't even live in DeKalb....

FredinDeKalb
FredinDeKalb

@anothercomment 


I would suggest that you post your unwanted rhetoric at DSW2 however even they have begun to disassociate themselves from your comments.  Their profile might rise again if personalities such as yours are banned as you do not add much to the discussion.  As Madella88 says, worry about your own county.

Starik
Starik

@FredinDeKalb @anothercomment I've never been to DSW; I lived in DeKalb for roughly 50 years, leaving a little over a year ago because of the deterioration of the schools and County government.  I paid my dues, dude.

Mandella88
Mandella88

@Starik @FredinDeKalb @anothercomment

Let me help you out:  Just so that you understand how blog threads work, and you don't make the same mistake twice, when someone responds to a specific post, the person to whom they are responding is listed as "@" whomever.  This, of course,  means that I was addressing anothercomment's post, not you, Dude....

vmstewart
vmstewart

@anothercomment Your numbers are incorrect.  As of the 2010 Census, DeKalb County was 54% black; however, that does not mean the rest of the county is 46% white.  I know it's difficult for a lot of DeKalb residents -- both black and white -- to acknowledge but there are other types of people that live here.  The actual 2010 Census showed the following: 54% black, 29% white, 10% hispanic, 5% asian, and 2% multiracial.