Board Chair Elections. This Should Be Interesting.

Each year I would dread the board chair and vice chair elections. Board members would start calling you right after Christmas trying to line up votes to be the leader of the pack. It usually would involve a large amount of pressure as to why you should cast your vote for a certain person. Thankfully I will not have to deal with that this year. This year the chair-vice chair elections will go a long way to establishing credibility. The Board has one chance to get it right this year and earn some of that credibility.

Let’s look at what has transpired up to now. The street network tells me that Ms. Edler has been holding meetings with the new board members at her house trying to assure that Ms. Edler is chair and Marshall Orson vice chair. Dr. Walker has sent out an email saying that he would like support for returning as chair. I have heard rumblings that Mr. Cunningham is also going to throw his hat in the ring. If any of these folks become chair or vice chair it will be a disaster for the Board.

Let’s examine why. None of those previously mentioned have any credibility. Some because they have not been to the first meeting yet and some because they have little or no leadership ability and one because he has been significantly tainted by the SACS report. There are only two people that have any street credibility in the county. They would be Nancy Jester and Dr. Pam Speaks. Either would make a great chair or vice chair. Election of these two folks would send the first signal to the state and SACS that the Board is attempting to right the ship.

Now what do you think? Do you believe the Board can put down personal feelings and contribute to the greater good? My gut feeling is NO. The jockeying for power has started amongst the new board members and a coalition of the old some time ago. You see it is still about power and ego. Power and ego must be sacrificed for the good of the system. It will take a great deal of maturity to reach that decision.

SACS has already cited the new members as being in the schools using their elected positions to set their expectations. Beware of this kind of behavior. Of course they were doing all of this before they even take office. It is also very clear that one person is taking the lead on how the coalition thinks. I have already been copied on some emails that say I agree with what he/she said. One member has almost shown that they have no original thoughts only the thoughts of a compatriot.

If this Board has the guts to pick Ms. Jester and Dr. Speaks it will say a great deal about their dedication to fixing the problems of our school system. It would be a great present to the people of DeKalb County. It is not about race. It is about competence and leadership.

Coming soon. My thoughts on the SACS report.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone.


9 thoughts on “Board Chair Elections. This Should Be Interesting.

  1. Pingback: Don McChesney talks about electing the board chair | dekalb school watch two

  2. I think your comments have great merit and I agree. I also agree that it probably won’t happen.

  3. I think it is time for board to do what they have been elected to do and that is to make sure Dekalb County Schools are the best schools in the state. One way to stop North against south is to have one magnet high school, one magnet middle school school and one magnet elementary school located somewhere on near Memorial drive. Then every school should have a highly qualified principal and given time to improved the school for all its students. We cannot continue to accept failure. Good schools everywhere in the county is good for everyone. Also, we as citizen should not only looks at what’s best for your area, but what’s best for Dekalb County. It want be easy, but it can be done, if we keep our eyes on the prize.

  4. Rae,

    If it happens it will be a win for DeKalb children and taxpayers. If it does materialize then the BOE will attempt to make Nancy and Pam victims of anything that might go wrong. I personally think that this has the proverbial snow balls chance ……….. of succeeding. Nancy and Pam are reasonable people that have the system’s interest at heart. It will not be about how important they are.


  5. I made the exact same suggestion to Dr. Lewis in 2009 and to Ms. Tyson, and to Dr. Atkinson. It never went anywhere. It is ok for the Board to drop ideas, but the administration must act on them if they think they have any merit. I guess the non action shows what several administrations thought of our idea.

    In DeKalb the prize is power instead of the students.


  6. I really can not speak to Mrs Jester’s ability or record to lead as chair or vice chair, however in my opinion Dr. Speaks has been a folllower and not a leader on the school board. She has not in my opinion been for all of the children that DCSD serves and that is definitely one of the characteristic that I would be looking for in a leader of this next school board. And of those you mentioned that are already rallying votes for the positions, I would not like to see in the leadership role either. So, right now all we can hope for is someone who is a true leader, credible and willing to fight for what is right no matter the cost, our children are worth it!

  7. Dee
    There are 9 BOE members. You can’t speak for Nancy, and don’t like Pam, Donna, Jay or Marshal. Jimmy Mac and Johnson are new. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume you know that Coppelin-Woods couldn’t chair if her life depended on it. Soooooo … by the process of elimination, you are left with Walker.

  8. I was speaking to the position of chair, which would include Walker. If Mr. Marshall is not speaking up for himself about his intentions, then maybe I should also be concerned about that as well. In all honesty I would love to see the entire board replaced with the exception of the new members, Jim and Melvin. Let’s just wait and see what happens after the State Board hearings next week.

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