School Board gives favorable evaluation to Pulliam

By Jeffery Whitfield

Clayton County Public Schools Superintendent Barbara Pulliam likely will receive a contract extension to run the county's schools.

The Clayton County Board of Education completed an evaluation of the superintendent on Monday at a special called meeting and concluded that Pulliam had “met all goals and targets” previously established by school officials, according to Ericka Davis, chairman of the Clayton County Board of Education. The board also unanimously approved its meeting calendar for 2006 at the meeting.

“The superintendent's contract will tentatively go on the December board members' agenda,” Davis said.

The board announced its decision after an executive session that lasted more than four hours. The executive session was held to conduct the evaluation.

“We were being extremely thorough,” said Davis of the session's length.

Pulliam commended the board for its action.

“I want to thank the board for due diligence going into this,” she said. Pulliam added that she thought the board's decision was fair and consistent with established goals and procedures agreed upon by school officials.

The board and superintendent focused on five goals: improving academic achievement, instituting a safe and orderly environment, employing and retaining highly qualified staff, increasing parental involvement, increasing community collaboration and business partnerships, and starting support services that deliver on time and on budget.

Davis said the board also provided Pulliam with recommendations for areas that schools need improvement on in the next six months before a mid-year review of the superintendent's performance in 2006.

The board had several priorities, starting with the improvement of student test scores.

“We want to see an implementation plan for mathematics to see improvement in (student) scores,” Davis said.

Board members also asked for the creation of a new benchmark assessment for mathematics, she said.

Additionally, Davis said board members requested the development of a parent notification system, which would allow students' parents to be contacted in the event of incidents such as violence at a school. The aim of creating the system would be to allay parents about rumors of incidents at schools, she said.

Board members also asked for the establishment of a three-year plan to add nursing staff to schools.

Another aim board members had was to complete a survey in March 2006 to gather feedback from school employees, she said. Pulliam has targeted the survey to be conducted in June 2006.

“It's a survey or process so staff can get feedback for how the district is doing. It's a measurement of morale,” Davis said.

Boardmembers also asked that a plan be put in place to aid teachers with the system's existing curriculum.

Pulliam is the first woman superintendent and the second African American to serve in the role.

She was hired after the board conducted a year-long national search. Officials from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools praised the board for hiring Pulliam, who was considered an ideal candidate to guide the school system and give it direction.

Pulliam earns an annual salary of $180,000.