DeKalb’s new school chief will arrive to cheering section. Can’t promise it will last.

There are a lot happy folks in DeKalb with the hiring of Kansas City, Mo., superintendent R. Stephen Green to run the county’s schools

I can’t predict how long the good will toward Green will last, but he is arriving to quite a welcoming committee. (It usually takes about nine months for the euphoria over a new school superintendent to fade.)

R. Stephen Green

R. Stephen Green

Green’s main challenge will be improving academic performance in DeKalb schools. The district has weak leaders in some of its schools, and it will be incumbent on the new superintendent to change that.

The DeKalb school board won praise today from Parent Councils United on the process and the selection.

The group — representing parent councils countywide —  issued this statement today:

Parent Councils United congratulates the DeKalb Board of Education on its selection of R. Stephen Green as the next Superintendent of DeKalb County School District.  PCU has spent the last year advocating for a transparent and purposeful superintendent selection process.  Our Board of Education has risen to the challenge, showing a unity of purpose and leadership in bringing DeKalb such an outstanding leader.

With full accreditation and the confidence of the community on the line, it was imperative that the Board of Education demonstrate transparency and integrity in its search and selection of Dr. Green.  Throughout the process, the Board has communicated with the public by maintaining a superintendent search page on the DCSD website. The Board also enlisted a group of DeKalb citizens, the Community Liaison Group, to assist in narrowing the field of candidates.

The Board stayed focused on its goal, even as it terminated the contract of its search firm and weathered the related publicity.  Board members did their due diligence, reassessed their candidates, visited their finalist’s system, and coalesced around a strong message: “The Board is committed to the completion of the search process and the selection of DeKalb’s next Superintendent.”

DeKalb’s Board of Education has earned the respect of the public.  This selection process was a valuable step in forging a stronger foundation of trust within the district.  PCU offers the Board its gratitude for forging ahead with integrity in the face of many obstacles.  We look forward to partnering with our unified Board of Education and welcoming Dr. Green to DeKalb County.

And speaking of statements, DeKalb school board chair Melvin Johnson issued one today about the hiring of Green and the impending departure of Michael Thurmond. This statement is quite a paean to Thurmond:

On behalf of the DeKalb County Board of Education, it is my privilege and honor to announce that the Board has selected, Dr. R. Stephen Green, as the sole finalist to be superintendent of the DeKalb County School District. Before I go into details about Dr. Green’s outstanding qualifications and the bright future we see under his leadership, I must pause and recognize the enormous debt of gratitude we owe the current superintendent, Michael Thurmond.

During the past two and one-half years of Mr. Thurmond’s tenure, we have faced some of the most critical challenges imaginable including loss of accreditation, budget deficits, lagging employee morale, low academic achievement, and widespread frustration and anger by parents and other stakeholders.

Today, we have:

  • Gotten off probation and stand one step from full accreditation
  • Replaced a $14 million deficit with a growing $81 million surplus by managing our resources in a more prudent and responsible manner
  • Made the District one of the national leaders in school choice with nearly 50 schools offering education alternatives
  • Eliminated all teacher furlough days and hired one hundred new teachers with plans to hire 200 additional teachers next school year
  • Created greater opportunities for parent engagement
  • Improved graduation rates and test scores
  • Changed the narrative about measuring academic growth as well as achievement
  • Improved safety in schools
  • Decentralized regional superintendents to place more decision-making in local schools
  • Created 21st Century learning environments with significant investments in classroom technology
  • Restored a sense of pride for the 14,000 District employees

In his proposed budget, Mr. Thurmond will leave a legacy of increasing salaries for experienced teachers and establishing the first ever for any school district a minimum wage for the lowest paid employees – the people who come to work every day making sure that students arrive to school safely and on-time, receive a nutritious meal and learn in a safe and clean environment.

Mr. Thurmond has built a foundation for future growth and improvement.

I will close these comments with one of Mr. Thurmond’s most powerful and insightful quotes: When we lose sight of our goal to help students, we get into trouble.

Thank you, Mr. Thurmond.

Now, to the big announcement.

The DeKalb Board has undertaken an exhaustive, open, deliberate process for selecting a new superintendent. Community involvement and input were our top priorities. Sixteen members of a community panel assisted in selecting the replacement for Mr. Thurmond. We held six public hearings around the District. More than 120 candidates from around the nation responded to our advertising and outreach efforts. With the help of our community liaison group, we selected eight very well qualified semi-finalist candidates. After conducting our in-person interviews with each of them, we quickly coalesced around Dr. Green as a uniquely qualified and outstanding candidate.

Dr. R. Stephen Green, currently superintendent of Kansas City Schools (MO), has been selected by the Board as our sole finalist. By law, we are required to wait 14 days from this announcement before offering a contract.

Dr. Green is the experienced and well-suited education leader we need in DeKalb County. He brings an impressive track record to the District. Dr. Green brought back the Kansas City Schools system to provisional accreditation. He has demonstrated innovative approaches to teaching and learning and moving student achievement forward.

Dr. Green was named the winner of the 2015 Pearce Award as the best superintendent in the state of Missouri.

In addition to his education experience, Dr. Green has also served as president and executive director of the New Jersey Teaching and Learning Collaborative, not-for-profit organization founded to provide ongoing technical assistance, professional development and advocacy for local and state policy reform.

This position will be a homecoming for Dr. Green. He will be able to join his children and grandchildren here in the Atlanta area. We anticipate that in the next few days we will be able to announce a visit to the District by Dr. Green.

 

Reader Comments 0

30 comments
FredinDeKalb
FredinDeKalb

Can someone give howdy1942 of DSW a clue?  This person consistently posts incorrect information yet no one corrects or challenges it.  The said that DeKalb was the only school district that reduced teacher salaries due to the Great Recession and recently said APS presented three finalists (they only present their current superintendent). 


That blog is a shell of what it once was because of posters like howdy1942.


Data and information without context tells a misleading story

Teacher Reader
Teacher Reader

After today's ajc article, I can't help but wonder who in their right mind would interview someone one time for a $275,000 plus job, that is in charge of the education of 100,000 students and a billion dollar plus budget along with the tens of thousands of employees that are found throughout the district.  The process of hiring Dr. Green was flawed and not acceptable.  We'll be lucky to walk away with accreditation.

Gwinnetting
Gwinnetting

Let's hope Mr. Green surprises us with success.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@ MiltonMan.  What a pointless, and indirectly racist, remark to make. 


Some have predicted that Superintendent Green will leave within a few years, since he broke his contract in Missouri to come here. But none have mentioned what is noted here: he has children and grandchildren in the area.  That should root him here! I certainly do hope that DeKalb's educational tribulations have begun to end with his appointment.

MiltonMan
MiltonMan

@OriginalProf 


Please, oh please, tell me how my comment was racist???  You are nothing more than a hack who turns every comment into a racial objection.  Crawl back into your hole.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@MiltonMan @OriginalProf 


And you are nothing more than a Northside hack who constantly posts with negative racial innuendos and coding about those in South Fulton and DeKalb. Why do you bother?

MiltonMan
MiltonMan

DeKalb residents cheered when Victor Hill was re-elected as clown sheriff.  They love celebrating incompetence.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@MiltonMan


Are you not embarrassed to have made such a sweeping, public analysis,  when Dr. Green has not been in office even one day?

ChicagoBJ
ChicagoBJ

@MiltonMan I am puzzled my this comment. Victor Hill was or is nowhere on my radar since I live in DeKalb.   I do have some friends who live in Clayton and they told me that Victor Hill is serious when it comes to fighting crime in Clayton.  I have heard DeKalb County police officers say the same.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@MiltonMan Now, in Gwinnett county they should be concerned, as he seems to come up there to shoot people (accidentally.)

Starik
Starik

@Wascatlady @MiltonMan Everybody needs to worry. "His"county straddles I-75 and lots of us might encounter him driving, let alone "practicing police tactics."

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@MiltonMan Why would Delalb residents care who is elected sheriff in Clayton County?

Mandingo
Mandingo

Until Dekalb gets BETTER parents the results will be the same no matter who the Superintendent is.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Thank you for a job well done, Mr. Thurmond.


Congratulations to the DeKalb Board of Education for staying the course.


Congratulations to Dr. R. Stephen Green for undertaking this task to help the students, teachers, and families of the DeKalb School System, of which I was a part from 1971 - 2000, when I retired.

MiltonMan
MiltonMan

@MaryElizabethSings 


Leave it to Mary to celebrate such incompetent personnel.  Gov. Deal saved DeKalb schools from losing accreditation.

popacorn
popacorn

@MaryElizabethSings 

You were there a long time. Big fish in a puny, polluted pond. Do you take at least some responsibility for the sad state of this cesspool today?

BurroughstonBroch
BurroughstonBroch

@MaryElizabethSings  MES, you began with DCSS in 1971 when it was the best system in the State and you rode it down to near the present bottom when you retired in 2000.

Why should anyone view you as part of the solution and not part of the problem?

TheDeal2
TheDeal2

It will be very easy to see which side (smart vs stupid) he is on during the first board meeting.

MiltonMan
MiltonMan

@TheDeal2 


There is a smart-side in DeKalb????  I thought it was just like the movie that was filmed there:  Dumb and dumber.

Mandella88
Mandella88

@TheDeal2

I'm curious.  As a soldier in the DeKalb Schools Watch mafia, I would like for you to be brave enough to list who are the "smart" board members and who are the "stupid" board members so that Dr. Green can clearly know which side he should be leaning towards.

TheDeal2
TheDeal2

@Mandella88 @TheDeal2 Or you love the sound of having no life and monitoring a message board for responses to your inane comments.  You and people like you are the stupid ones.  People who question our superintendent, who don't give him a blank check, who understand their role is to use the administrative staff to provide details and information in order to help our students are the smart ones. 


Go ahead and really surprise me by using the words "mafia", DSW2, and soldier again.  Get a new vocabulary, loser.

Mandella88
Mandella88

@TheDeal2 @Mandella88

BAWA HA HAH HA  - When all else fails, go for the ad hominem argument.  HOW ORIGINAL!


I'll begin my new vocabulary right after you find replacements for your loser vocabulary like "Friends and Family" or "The Palace," tough guy.


Nonetheless, I am still waiting to see your response to my question that came from your own posting - WHO ARE THE "SMART" BOARD MEMBERS AND WHO ARE THE "STUDID" BOARD MEMBERS?

popacorn
popacorn

He'll be dancing for the Board of Education soon.