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Board meets before retreat

By Trina Trice

Members of the Clayton County Board of Education are still at odds with their search for a superintendent.

Board members Linda Crummy, Barbara Wells, Ericka Davis and Dr. Bob Livingston requested that a vote to conduct a national search for a superintendent and a discussion on having work sessions be placed on the agenda of Tuesday night's meeting.

Chairwoman Nedra Ware denied the request, according to Wells.

Wells contends her constituents have asked her to push a national search for a superintendent, although she knows the board plans to discuss the search at a two-day retreat scheduled July 9 and July 10.

"By being denied, I feel like I can't represent my district the way I'd like to," Wells said.

Prior to the release of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools report, four board members?Ware, Vice Chairwoman Connie Kitchens, and members Carol Kellam and LaToya Walker?interviewed superintendent applicants and chose a finalist, Dr. Lonnie Edwards, assistant superintendent of DeKalb County Schools.

SACS, an organization that accredits more than 13,000 schools and colleges in the Southeast, placed the school system on probation.

When asked if Edwards was out of the running and that a new superintendent search was imminent, Kitchens said, "We're not sure about that. We have not made a decision, yet. It will be addressed. Hopefully, we'll be able to make a decision (soon)."

However, the chairwoman would like to save any issues concerning the superintendent search for the retreat, Ware said Monday following a Rainbow PUSH Coalition meeting.

Ware is also postponing a meeting she requested with the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

About that meeting, Ware said, "I'm more concerned with the board and doing what's necessary right now. There are other things we need to focus on."

Wells is optimistic about reinstating work sessions that she says could help reduce the necessity of frequent meetings and would help the board get better organized.

"And every district's concerns could get on the agenda," Wells said.

The board started its search for a superintendent in April, after a majority voted to oust former Superintendent Dan Colwell in January.

The search for a school chief has been plagued with problems from the beginning, as the board, at first, considered seeking assistance from a consulting firm, but later decided to conduct the search without help.

Some board members claim a national search has been done, with ads for the job being placed in several local and national publications and Web sites.

Many residents don't believe the board has done national search. SACS, the Clayton County chapter of the NAACP, and Clayton County Education Association, as well as countless parents and local educators have asked the board to conduct a new national search for a superintendent.