Chavis opts for retirement

By Greg Gelpi

Clayton County Public Schools former interim Superintendent William Chavis retired Tuesday.

Five weeks after being transferred to the recruiting office, Chavis said he has done everything he wanted to do with the school system and it's time to move on.

He had two contracts with the school board, one as interim superintendent, which expired when Barbara Pulliam, a permanent superintendent, took over and one as a senior administrator.

Chavis said he was appointed interim superintendent to conduct a national search for a superintendent, and that is what he has done. He also applied for the permanent post but was not one of the finalists.

"I've got to move on and do some other things with my life," Chavis said. "I have done what I have intended to do. I decided this is the best time to go."

He said he plans to go into business as a "headhunter," helping young educated blacks find jobs.

"I believe the most underrepresented group are young African-American college graduates," Chavis said. "That is the kind of thing I'm concerned about."

Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Ed Scott was not available for comment. He directed calls to the school system's public affairs department through his secretary. Jerry Jackson of public affairs said he would ask Scott to call back, but no calls were returned.

Chavis' retirement hasn't been the only change in senior administration.

As part of Pulliam's "restructuring," she moved former interim Deputy Superintendent Bill Horton to be principal of East Clayton Elementary.

Horton filed a grievance against Pulliam for not paying him as interim deputy superintendent, but instead paying him the same as his former position, a principal. An offer was made to Horton. In the offer, the school system would pay the difference in pay for his 13 months' work as interim deputy superintendent if Horton agreed to retire.

With the leaving of Clayton County veterans comes an influx of fresh faces.

Pulliam brought in three senior administrators, from St. Louis Parks, Minn., and Rockford, Ill., both places she previously worked, to fill the Area 1 instructional specialist position and newly "restructured" positions of chief of staff and chief academic officer.

The move prompted John Trotter, the president and chief executive officer of the Metro Association of Classroom Educators, to file a complaint with the state Professional Standards Commission. Trotter argued Pulliam broke the law by not advertising the positions.

Chavis cleared out of his office Tuesday and left work early. He was named interim superintendent after the school board fired Superintendent Dan Colwell in January 2003.

Only months after voting to put him in the position, Board Chairwoman Nedra Ware was trying to run Chavis off but could not muster five votes to do it.

Chavis fired a volley back at Ware, saying anyone would be stupid to apply to be superintendent as long as she was on the board.

One of the main areas that got the school system on probation was the allegation that Ware and others were trying to micromanage the day-to-day operations of the system rather than letting Chavis run the operation.