Based on the AJC article I saw the BOE is definitely in the hunt for a new super. MIchael Thurmond appears to be the candidate of favor. While I am sure that Mr. Thurmond is a delightful person, I must ask ….. what are his qualifications to supervise a school system?

If this selection does occur, he would merely be a figurehead or political window dressing for a struggling board trying to desperately appear responsible and progressive. Looking at his history, it would appear that he and Gene Walker are old friends. Now let’s see…. that would give Dr. Walker control of the top two jobs in the DeKalb school system. He would be the chair of the BOE and he would have direct access to the superintendents chair. Does anyone remember Huey Long? Even FDR was afraid of Huey Long and he was the President.

Now what about a contract? How much would you pay? Should it be more than the previous super. or should it be less? How could you pay him more or even the same as the previous super?

Let’s face it. The workload on the staff will become enormous. Mr. Thurmond would be a media darling. He will be moving around the system, pressing the flesh, talking to the DeKalb Chamber, and collecting accolades wherever he can go. What educational work will he do? What educational work can he do? Now this is not his fault. Remember a couple of days ago he is walking around town without a job and now someone invites him to please come fix something he has no experience in. It does not matter. Work for us. We will give you bags of money. How could you blame anyone in their right mind for not accepting this offer?

Now what about the “former” superintendent. Is there a severance package? She had a very cushy contract. It was one I opposed during its creation. I knew that honeymoons do not last forever. I also remember one of our current board members proposing that it take a three fourths vote to dismiss her for convenience.  I thought that was a bad idea at the time. If she just left or resigned why would you pay her anything? I wonder if the finance department has any extra cash laying around to pay for a severance package? I do remember when I left the BOE after December 2012 that we were pretty much broke.

My goodness folks. We seem to be in a time warp. Watch how your representative votes. It will clearly delineate the responsible from the irresponsible.

Now all this is purely speculation. Let’s see if any of it becomes reality.



  1. Don, Great comments as always. History has shown that inexperience can be a benefit if the lack of experience forces questions that bring light to the inefficiencies that are now taken for granted. In this scenario change only comes with strong leadership. The DCSS and the BOE are in such shambles that there is enough low hanging fruit that simple, unbiased oversight should have an immediate impact. Is Mr. Thurmond capable of this? If your claim that he has close ties to Dr. Walker is true then doubt is already cast. Is this an example of the continued cronyism that plagues the system?

    To any DCSS and BOE members reading this, is it worth risking this perception at this time? Can you afford any action that looks remotely scandalous? We all knew, long before Don’s earlier blog, that the selection of Dr. Atkinson was a compromise made at the expense of our children and the tax payer. Consider how that turned out. It took less than a year for this to prove a failure. The time has come to put politics aside and do the job you were hired to do, build a quality educational system for our county.

  2. Matt,

    Thank you for your comments. Thurmond and Walker are old friends. It street word has any credibility it seems that Thurmond and Melvin Johnson just took a trip together. Mr. Thurmond is obviously a fine guy and very competent in his field. That field would not include education. Why do politicians think that they always know more than educators?

    We need solid educational leadership. Our own Kathy Howe has some credentials. She has a real doctorate from a real university. I think her dad was a school super. I know she knows academics. That is the place we continue to fail our children. We must zero in on that fact.

    Former super. James R. Hallford would be a good interim choice. He has street credibility in this county. He could have impact for a short tenure because he would not have to worry about tomorrow.

    Same old Same old. The web of total control by a specific majority tightens. My only hope is that they will come to their senses and find a worker that has common sense.

  3. Don,

    I dub you the “King of Wishful Thinking.” It is doubtful 4 of the current board have any senses to come to.

    As for Kathy Howe, she may have credentials, but I would not want to see her stay after Dr. Atkinson leaves. I have seen her at two public meetings and each time she acted the fool.

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