Board holds first meeting

By Trina Trice

The school board plans to settle unfinished business from its July 8 meeting, as well as discuss its national superintendent search tonight.

At the called meeting board members are considering using the services of Dr. Chester Gibson, parliamentarian of the Georgia School Boards Association.

Gibson offered his services free of charge following a lesson in parliamentary procedures he facilitated at the board's recent two-day retreat with the GSBA.

"You need to put in writing what you're going to do regarding the superintendent search," he told the board. "I would love to see this board come together?in how you're going to proceed with the search. I don't think you're going to move forward until you get beyond it."

The board will allow Gibson to assess what it has done so far with its national superintendent search, namely whether or not one was actually done.

"We're going to get Chester to decide," said Connie Kitchens, Board vice chairwoman.

The school system has been without a superintendent since February when former Superintendent Dan Colwell was ousted in a manner that spurred controversy some board members haven't been able to shake since.

The board took the retreat to get an intensive lesson on policy, legal matters, and responsibility as it all pertains to the board, in hopes of getting the school system off of probation.

The school system was placed on probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, an accrediting agency, due in part to the micro-management of the school district by board leadership.

Also at tonight's called meeting, the board plans to ratify the wording of the four commitments it made at the retreat.

The commitments bind the board to communicate more openly and honestly with each other, treat others respectfully, be more progressive in seeking solutions to problems, and act as a board, not as individuals.

The commitments can be subjected to some alteration, said Siss Henry, executive director of GSBA.

Following the retreat all board members, even Clayton County residents that attended, were hopeful and saw it as a productive move on the board's part.

Tonight's meeting is the first since the retreat, though, and some might wonder if the board will resort to its old ways n internal bickering.

"There's always the possibility of that, but we have those commitments we made," said Board member Ericka Davis. "If anybody slips back, then the seven of us can remind them of our commitments."

Other business planned for tonight's meeting include personnel recommendations for assistant principals at Riverdale and Forest Park high schools, Roberts and Lovejoy middle schools, and Church Street Elementary School. An administrator for the Alternative School will also be considered.