Both Fulton and Athens-Clarke Schools reeling with news Phil Lanoue will not take Fulton job

Parents in two school systems are likely surprised today with the announcement that Phil Lanoue, the 2015 National Superintendent of the Year and Athens-Clarke County school chief since 2009, will not be joining Fulton County Schools. He intends to stay in his current job.

The state’s fourth-largest school system, Fulton tapped Lanoue earlier this month to fill Robert Avossa’s post. Lanoue gained national attention for many of his reforms in Clarke County and for his criticisms of the testing culture.

In  a statement explaining why he withdrew his name for the Fulton superintendency, Lanoue said:

Phil Lanoue is staying in Athens for now.

Phil Lanoue is staying in Athens for now.

After much reflection, and in consult with my family and the CCSD administrative team, I have come to a decision that home — here in Clarke County — is where I need to be. Therefore, I have withdrawn my name from the superintendent search process in Fulton County.

These past few weeks have been incredibly difficult, and it’s clear to me that while we have made incredible strides, there is still much to be done. This community is one that rallies behind its schools, in good times and in bad. Again, this is where I want and need to be.

I look forward to our work together in the future. Our dialogue remains open. Our parents are our most important partners, and our teachers are the ones who make it happen each and every day in our classrooms. Your voice matters, and we will continue working together to do what is right for all students.

Of course, there is always a backstory, and Lanoue’s seems to be a messy one. Athens has been roiled by the alleged rape of a 15-year-old girl in a stairwell at Cedar Shoals High School and charges the school system failed to act in a timely and responsible manner.

According to Online Athens:

The same day that Fulton County announced Lanoue was their only finalist, news accounts that three students had been charged with the rape of a 15-year-old girl at Cedar Shoals High School appeared. That soon spiraled into a public relations nightmare for the school system as word began to filter out that school officials not only failed to inform parents, teachers and students that anything had happened, but that the three teenagers now jailed on felony charges had been allowed to remain in school while Athens-Clarke police investigated.

I have been hearing from Athens readers unhappy with the response to the rape case at the school and central office levels. While the alleged rape occurred in January, parents were not alerted for a month. The principal was relieved of his duties 12 days ago. I assume Fulton officials also heard from unhappy Athens parents.

Given the frustrations around this case and the fact Lanoue was willing initially to embrace the Fulton job, the question may now be whether his future is secure in Athens. (I have personally heard both reactions today; his decision to stay is good news and his job is secure. His decision is bad news and his job may be on the line.)

Online comments in the Athens Banner-Herald today reflect some of the hostility toward Lanoue. “If he resigned, he needs to reapply for his job.  And I vote no,” commented one Athens resident.

Reader Comments 0

8 comments
CSpinks
CSpinks

Hopefully, Clarke County School System officials will learn the necessity for the timely reporting of serious incidents to appropriate police agencies. And, hopefully, teaching the lesson won't involve a Clarke County sheriff's investigation for "obstruction of Justice" and a DA's consideration of the indictment of school system officials on that charge. Unfortunately, about ten years ago in my county, lesson-teaching required such law enforcement involvement.

Ginsuz
Ginsuz

The police were involved from the start.

Mom71555
Mom71555

Good luck, Fulton County!  And even better luck to Clarke County--you are going to need it!

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Seems like CCSS is still doing more of the same. In the early 1990s my daughter was being sexually harassed and assaulted at Cedar Shoals. Come to find out, even then, CCSS had problems with protecting students.  They had NO POLICY for student on student sexual harassment!  I appeared to the BOE and asked for a policy.  They did not act.  My daughter had to appear to the BOE TWICE to get a policy in place that protected the victim without violating the rights of the harassers.


One assistant principal and several teachers stepped up to support and reassure my daughter.  Turns out, of course, it was also happening at Hilsman Middle School, once the female students were given a safe place to report it.


You would think, over 20 years ago, they would have gotten a clue on handling allegations of harassment/assault.


Back then, as apparently (according to the Athens Banner Herald) now, they also had the Parking Lot Kids--kids who hung out in the parking lot all day.


My son was assaulted in class  (teacher out of the room) at HMS.  The girl who assaulted him was given a couple of days suspension.  Perhaps the BOE needs to do some serious house cleaning, since these problems continue.  All I heard back then was excuses on how "we can't expect these kids to know how to behave."  Is it the same now?


Parents, you have power in numbers, IF you choose to use it!

Another comment
Another comment

Wascatlady that is the great code for blacks can't be expected to conform to white standards. He would have fit right in with Fulton county. Especially with what has been going on the last few years in Sandy Springs as we have had the invasion and destruction of our neighborhood schools.

White parents are called raciest if they report anything has happened to their child by the "apartment kids". Yet whose house taxes pays for everything??

Same thing in the close in Cobb schools. When I reported over here a black child complaint about a mother's boyfriend beating him. I was told they discipline their children different. I was also told the mother goes to church. I was like so, she has had two different men living with her and her children in less than three months that is not good church going christian women behavior. A mother doesn't bring any man she is not married to sleep in her bed in front of her children. At least not a revolving door.

ErnestB
ErnestB

It's tough being the boss, regardless of the job.  The buck always stops with you.  Hopefully Fulton will find another quality candidate.

CSpinks
CSpinks

"A wise man will change his mind. A damn fool never will."