By Curt Yeomans
The Clayton County Board of Education may bring the future of the school system's superintendent's position into focus this weekend.
The board will meet on Saturday, at 9 a.m., at the school system's Central Administration Complex, 1058 Fifth Ave., Jonesboro, to hold a public training session on how to look at finalists for the superintendent's position. Dr. Richard Green, from the search firm of Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, Ltd., will lead the training session.
A special board meeting may be held after that training session, so board members can make a decision about hiring a corrective superintendent.
The search firm is urging the use of a one-year corrective superintendent, after reviewing data collected from the community, which indicated that community members were not comfortable with the current board picking the new, permanent superintendent.
According to the school board, a corrective superintendent will be someone who is experienced enough to lead the district as it tries to meet nine mandates from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) by a Sept. 1 deadline, or face losing its accreditation.
SACS' governing board will vote to accept the agency's recommendation to revoke the accreditation on Saturday during a conference in Chicago.
"The candidate should have a history of going into difficult situations and succeeding, and they can not be interested in seeking the permanent superintendent position," said Glenn Brock, the attorney hired to handle the board's response to SACS.
The board may hold that special, called session on Saturday, if Green already has candidates for the corrective superintendent position ready for interviews.
Green could not be reached for comment on Wednesday. All phone calls to the search firm were directed to Brock. However, the attorney said he had limited information about the search, and did not know how many candidates would be presented to the board, or when.
Board Chairperson Ericka Davis said the firm has a list of retired superintendents to call on when a school system, such as Clayton County, needs a corrective superintendent.
"Dr. Green has said, and I agree with him, there are a lot of great, retired superintendents out there, who have one more year of service left in them," Davis said. "Should he [Green] come in with someone who knocks our socks off, and who he feels good about, we may take a vote on Saturday."
Brock said a list of finalists would be made public on Saturday - if the board holds a called meeting. He also said Green intends to have the finalists at the Central Administration Complex on Saturday.
If a slate of candidates is available to meet with board members, the district's governing body will go into executive session after the training session ends, so board members can interview the finalists.
During the possible special meeting, the board would vote on accepting a recommendation to postpone its search for a permanent superintendent until January 2009; determine how to terminate the contract of Interim Superintendent Dr. Gloria Duncan; where to reassign Duncan within the district, and either make an offer or appoint a corrective superintendent.
By law, the board must give the public at least 24 hours notice before it holds a meeting, which means the board has until Friday morning to announce the agenda for a called meeting. Chairperson Davis, who sets the agenda for every board meeting, said she will decide about holding a called meeting once Green is "ready for sure."
If the meeting does not happen on Saturday, the board will also take up the issue at its March 24 work session, Davis said.
She added that the school system's administrative re-elections is one reason why the board wants to have a corrective superintendent in place before April. In Mid-April, the board will vote on renewing the contracts for every administrator in the district, ranging from the assistant principals to the assistant superintendents.
The fate of Interim Superintendent Duncan would be included in the re-elections.
"She needs that assurance,and we know she is loved very much by her students, and members of the community," Davis said.