Senior school officials retire, leave system

By Greg Gelpi

Senior officials are retiring and leaving the Clayton County public school system.

In the past two months, four assistant superintendents have announced their departures, along with a number of other senior level positions, Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Ed Scott said. The school system has 10 assistant superintendent positions.

Scott is retiring, along with fellow members of the personnel department, Director of Certified Personnel Bill Bibby and Director of Classified Personnel Diana Forbes.

John Ramage, assistant superintendent of facilities, construction and purchasing, retired in April and Ronnie Blake, assistant superintendent of auxiliary services, announced his retirement last month.

Judy Johnston, assistant superintendent of secondary curriculum and instruction, is leaving the school system to be the assistant principal of Cotton Indian Elementary School, a school in the Henry County school system.

Coordinator of Elementary Math Laura Grimwade is also leaving the school system.

"We have turnover every year from teachers and administration," Scott said.

Clayton County Public Schools Superintendent Barbara Pulliam said that personnel changes can be expected any time a school system reorganizes.

She announced "restructuring" of the school system in March and state budget cuts forced other personnel changes.

Part of the reorganizing included transferring interim Deputy Superintendent Bill Horton to being principal of East Clayton Elementary.

The system is also eliminating and consolidating positions to shave money from the budget, although Pulliam said the goal has been to lose personnel through attrition, rather than letting employees go.

"We believe that through attrition we will be able to meet our goals," Pulliam said. "One of the things I really tried to do was to make sure people stayed employed. The pressure was alleviated through people leaving."

She said she is taking into consideration the recommendations of a consultant that had been hired by the school system to audit its organizational structure, as well as advice from senior staff members.

In addition to administrators, a number of teachers are leaving the school system as well, although Scott said the number of teachers is no more than in years past to his knowledge.

Of the contracts extended to teachers, 2,863 returned the contracts in April, he said, adding that some teachers have returned contracts since then. The system has about 3,800 teachers.

"I don't believe there is that significant of a difference (compared to previous years)," Scott said. "My intuition is that we have a higher return rate."

The school system is in the midst of interviewing for the senior level positions, along with principal and other administrative positions, he said.

A vote could come as soon as the next regular meeting of the Clayton County Board of Education set for June 7, Scott said. Committees are conducting interviews of applicants, making recommendations to Pulliam, and Pulliam will make recommendations to the school board, which will approve or not approve the applicants.