Home > Education > Will new superintendent be savior for DeKalb Schools?

Will new superintendent be savior for DeKalb Schools?

August 18, 2011

The short answer is no. The more in-depth answer is we do not know. I have poured over the available data of her district in Ohio, and what I saw was not surprising. An urban, poor school district struggling to teach its kids. This is not an anomaly. There are issues like poverty and race that cannot be solved by superintendents. Those are societal issues that filter down and affect many levels of our society. As outsiders we are looking at data and trying to determine what our outcome may be based strictly on test scores from a district that we have no intimate knowledge of.  No administrator is a miracle worker. All they can do is put in policies and procedures that foster a healthy environment that will eventually produce success. Lets face it, minority districts with large numbers of students living in poverty take time and resources. No one should expect her to turn around her district in four years, and they should not expect it here either. In all professions, be it school systems, private companies, or even sports organizations, decisions based on who to hire is much more complex than raw data. We need to judge this candidate as a whole and not via pieces and parts based solely on numbers. What concerns me more than the test scores of the students in her district, is the fact that she has moved around a lot. That makes me wonder if she will stay committed to DeKalb for the long-term, say a decade or so. If she could stay committed and turn around the system without cheating like what happened at APS, then she will be able to write her own ticket. I am not going to let test scores be the primary reason for not accepting her as superintendent. We do not have to settle, but we do need to move forward. I am sure there are better candidates out there, but who can say that those candidates want to be here. Time is running out a decision needs to made real soon. Unless something shockingly gross comes out, I would be willing to give her a chance. That’s just one mans opinion though.

On another related note, I am not hearing much from my brethren down here in South DeKalb. Whether you agree with the boards choice on this or not, you should let your voice be heard. It’s pointless to cry after the fact. And please attend the meet and greet.

Here is your official invite from DCSS

Some background info on Dr. Atkinson from DeKalb School Watch

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  1. Just Watch
    August 22, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    I think she is making a huge mistake. For someone who clearly likes to move from job to job, she is ending her career here. This will be the end of the line for her, as nothing can really improve.

  2. Bernadette Wilson Cotton
    August 19, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    We, the stakeholders of DCSS (parents of students, homeowners funding this foolishness with our property taxes) need to do our own house cleaning – the School Board. The Board has a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that funds are being spent towards the true mission of any school system and that is to educate children. It’s disgusting to see the amount of money that is wasted in this county on lawsuits, programs that obviously don’t work (America’s Choice), and exhorbitant salaries for central office personnel etc. when the needs of the children are not met year after year.

    We in the southern end of the county have the most to lose. Look at our test scores and compare them to schools in central and/or north Dekalb. It’s astonishing. We are helping to create and perpetuate a permanent underclass by not providing our children a proper education.

    Remember that most of the Board members are the same ones that rubber-stamped and okie-doked the previous superintendent and we know where that got us.

    I hope Atkinson does come in and clean house and redirect funding back to the classroom and support our teachers. If not, then it is up to us to make our voices heard loud and clear at every Board meeting and at the ballot box by electing new Board members.

    • August 19, 2011 at 4:11 pm

      “We, the stakeholders of DCSS (parents of students, homeowners funding this foolishness with our property taxes) need to do our own house cleaning – the School Board”

      The board should have some criteria on who can actually server. No less than a college degree preferably masters or above in management, education, business. No Liberal arts majors. No sports science majors. Not knocking them, but we need professionals who have the experience of managing a large organization and who have the ability to look be forward looking and forward thinking. We need men and women who can think through issues critically and not emotionally. The qualities I see in a majority of the board does not instill much confidence in me that they are capable of doing what needs to be done to help salvage this ship.

      • Bernadette Wilson Cotton
        August 19, 2011 at 6:54 pm

        I totally agree. How is that we elect non-educated folk to serve on a Board of Education? My Board rep has been working on a degree for years from a college with at last count 70 students. Surely she could have been awarded a degree whether earned or honorary in “something” by now. It is embarrassing and we can do better. We had educated, intelligent candidates this last time for the southern districts and they were defeated by two uneducated folk who have no business serving in this capacity. More like the Bored of Education rather than Board.

    • Name One
    • Ms Bssy
      September 13, 2011 at 11:02 am

      Some of the stakeholders need to get off their behinds & get their own houses in order in addition to paying attention to who is running for the BOE. Test scores are low because many in OUR COMMUNITY don’t value education. If you have a 2nd or 3rd grader that can’t pass the CRCT something is wrong with YOU—THE PARENT!! People, these are the most basic skills that our children should have. WE need to stop blaming the school, teacher & board when parents are sending their child to kindergarten and they can’t spell or write their name,count to at least 100, or recognize basic sight words (Cat, hat, No, Yes). WE, MEANING PARENTS need to focus on what we are doing at home–is it more important that my child looks cute in all their fly outfits, nice weaves/nails, haircuts, bling or do you focus on spending that money on educating your child via visits to museums, plays, concerts, books, and other educational trips!!! READ to your children, have them READ TO YOU–you will quickly learn if your child has issues reading. Expand on the crappy curriculum that is only geared to teaching them how to fill in bubble on a scantron.

      Parents, show up at the PTA, Board Meetings, & candidate forums. We can pack Memorial Stadium or Panthersville, but you can hear a pin drop in most of the MS/HS PTA meetings. Until the parents in S DeKalb take some ownership of their children’s education first & moblilize second–nothing will change.

  3. Name One
    August 19, 2011 at 6:41 am

    Willing to give her a chance, but these are some concerns:

    -13 jobs in 29 years, a new job every 2.25 years

    -Two bankruptcy filings and another lawsuit against her for unpaid bills

    -She’s a member of the AKA sorority, as are so many administrators and Office of School Improvement staff. Will she be able to “clean house”? Will she be tough enough to bring fiscal sanity to the tens of millions we waste on the office of School Improvement, and their multi-million dollar pet projects like America’s Choice, etc.?

    -She worked for Rockdale, and some have mentioned she was a member at New Birth. We clearly don’t need any more afiiliation with them. It’s crazy the system pays New Birth hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent to host two charter schools with so many other closed schools in the county.

    The Central Office is the root of many but not all of DCSS’ issues. Can she come in and make the tough but necessary changes? Almost all of the Crawford Lewis administration is in place, and we all know what they did to Johnny Brown.

    • August 19, 2011 at 3:56 pm

      I do worry about her level of commitment. If things look bad after a couple of years will she bail for another system? We need a commitment for the long haul. Constant change in leadership only exacerbates the problem. As for her membership in AKA or New Birth, I am going to hold judgment. I would hope that she is strong enough to make decisions based on what is best for the system and not what serves her friends or asscociates. I hope I am not being naive

  4. Just Watch
    August 18, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    Also, keep in mind that Clayton and Marietta schools, systems with equally or more challenging demographics than DeKalb, have better test scores. And Rockdale County — wow, just wow.

    DeKalb students really are on the short end of the stick here. We need to rid the central office of all the cronies, etc and hire strong principals with proven track records to lead our most troubled schools.

    Time will tell if she can do that.

  5. Just Watch
    August 18, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    We don’t need an administrator. We need a make over artist, someone who has changed an organization for the better and who could get the system ready for an administrator.

    For those of you in the lowest performing schools and high school clusters, you have the most to lose. Without true reform and personnel changes, your schools won’t get any better.

    Will she fire the many friends and family members? I hope so. Time will tell.

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