Ericka Davis picked for post

By Greg Gelpi

Not under contract yet, Superintendent-elect Barbara Pulliam is already having an impact in Clayton County.

As soon as the controversy seemed to have vanished, a face from the past appeared to stir things up at the school board.

A parade of colorful posters preceded a vote for the Clayton County Board of Education's vice chairman position.

In a split decision, the board voted 5-4 for Ericka Davis to be vice chairwoman. She replaced Connie Kitchens, whose one year in the position expired Monday. The other four votes went to Kitchens.

Barbara Wells, Allen T. Johnson, Linda Crummy, Bob Livingston and Davis voted for Davis.

Chairwoman Nedra Ware, LaToya Walker, Carol Kellam and Kitchens voted for Kitchens.

Most of the boardroom clapped with the naming of Davis as the vice chairwoman.

"I know it's most important to have a good leader to help us get off the (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) probation," Bob Boyer of the Georgia Parent Teacher Association said of Davis.

John Trotter, the chairman and chief executive officer of the Metro Association of Classroom Educators, organized a group of two other MACE members in parading signs around prior to the meeting. He also addressed the board during a public comment session.

"I hate to spoil the whole kiss-up party," Trotter said.

Trotter criticized the board on a number of issues, including the naming of Pulliam as Clayton County's next superintendent.

"We haven't talked to a teacher, principal or educator that is pleased with this," he said.

Along with Trotter, carrying posters were Benjamin Barnes and Norreese Haynes, who had previously run for school board.

The board met in executive session at the end of the meeting to discuss contract negotiations with Pulliam.

Board attorney Gary Sams made an offer to her, but she has yet to reply to the contract. She has given notice of her intent to leave the St. Louis Park, Minn., school system, where she is superintendent.

Crummy said no decision had been made as of Monday night on the contract.

Although no contract has been finalized, Ware frequently referred to Pulliam as the superintendent, even as Ware sat next to interim Superintendent William Chavis at Monday's meeting.

Pulliam may not be under contract, but she is already wielding influence.

Ware, speaking in Pulliam's absence, said the superintendent-elect wants all board business to be first discussed in committees, and that these committees should no longer have two board members, but three.

Responding to Pulliam's desires, the school system's bank bid was removed from Monday's regular business meeting agenda and placed on tonight's committee meeting agenda.