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Board chair responds to SACS
by Bill Baldowski
October 03, 2012 02:51 PM | 5217 views | 0 0 comments | 112 112 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Reaction has been swift to the “letter of concern” former Clayton County School Superintendent Edmond Heatley, Ed.D. received last week from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

The letter, signed by Mark Elgart, Ed.D., president of AdvancED/SACS and the Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement, expressed trepidation with what he said were important governance issues plaguing the Clayton County Board of Education.

In the letter, Elgart said current actions of individuals on the board “could put the school system in jeopardy of losing its current and future accreditation.”

The Clayton County School District lost its accreditation in 2008 and only gained back full SACS accreditation last year. Elgart said the school board is operating, “with much conflict between and among board members as well as individual board members launching attacks on the school system and its personnel.”

He added there is a “clear and documented distinction” between the roles and responsibilities of a local school board and its appointed administration.

Clayton County BOE Chairwoman Pam Adamson, Ed.D. responded that any alleged conflict among board members, board members micromanaging the school system or any other inappropriate action of the board, was due to the actions of only a small fraction of board members. Adamson did not identify the board members to which she referred. “The board has done all it can it to rectify any alleged inappropriate action with board members,” she said. “We have talked to this group, sent letters asking them to refrain from this sort of behavior and even sanctioned them so we have done everything we know how to do.”

In addition to these allegations, Elgart emphasized to the school board that any search for a new school superintendent should be “supported and facilitated with the help of outside experts who have a proven record in superintendent and executive searches.”

“There is no evidence that the current board of education has the skills and experience to conduct such a search without professional assistance and guiding,” Elgart said.

Adamson responded that the board never intended to conduct a search of a new superintendent “by ourselves.”

“We used the search firm of Brock and Clay, which conducts national searches,” she said. “The last time we were searching for a new superintendent and used the services of Brock and Clay, SACS seemed pleased with that selection,” she added.

“This time, Brock and Clay is again working with our board so we have the same advice and same support we had last time,” Adamson said.

As to any remaining SACS allegations, Adamson said she would have to discuss it with the board before making any additional comments.

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