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Former attorney hired for superintendent search

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

The Clayton County Board of Education turned to the school system's former accreditation attorney Tuesday to help find the district's next superintendent.

In a unanimous vote, members decided to hire Marietta-based education attorney Glenn Brock, and his firm, Brock, Clay, Calhoun and Rogers, over four other firms.

The board needs to find someone to lead the school system after Superintendent John Thompson's contract expires June 30.

Brock previously worked for the system, to help it avoid a loss of accreditation. He resigned from that position the day after former members of the school board hired Thompson, calling the board "deceptive" and "unethical."

"To me, it's a job not finished," Brock said to the board Tuesday. "During the [2008 superintendent] search process, it became clear they [the old board members] were not going to take my advice. If they were not going to take my advice, then why should I continue to be paid for my services?"

The school needed to select a firm to show the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) it is making progress toward meeting one of the agency's mandates for restoring the school system's accreditation - the hiring of a permanent superintendent through a national search process.

Brock said helping the district find a superintendent would help him complete the job he left unfinished nearly a year ago. "Obtaining a permanent [superintendent] is an outstanding mandate," Brock said after the board meeting. "SACS and the community will soon see this board fully engaged in the search process. I feel very positive about this new board."

Brock has pitched his firm for a flat fee of $7,500, but his proposal to the board included several, additional "out-of-pocket" fees. Those fees would nearly double the price, based on estimates listed in the proposal. Brock said although several expenses were listed in the proposal, he will not need all of them.

Clayton School Board Chairperson Alieka Anderson said she was impressed by Brock's price, and some of the things he offered to do to help the board conduct the search, including training the board on how to hire a qualified superintendent.

"It showed me he had a lot of interest in finding the best candidate for the school system," Anderson said.

Brock's firm has conducted superintendent searches for school systems in Cobb, Fulton, Cherokee, Muscogee, and Elbert counties, as well as city school systems in Commerce and Cartersville. Among the hires is Frank Petruzielo, who has led Cherokee County schools since 1998. The firm also found Joseph Redden for Cobb County Schools. Redden resigned in 2005, after a scandal involving a contract for laptop computers for that school system.

Brock said there are "a number" of people interested in the Clayton County position, but he did not specify where those people are from, or how many candidates had expressed interest in the position.

He said he is going to submit an advertisement to "Education Week" magazine by the end of the week, so he can announce the position. The advertisement, which must be submitted by Friday to be published in the March 18 edition of the magazine, will only say there is a superintendent's vacancy and list some basic information about the school system, Brock said.

The other firms that made presentations include:

· Hollins Group - Chicago, Ill.-based firm with offices in New York, Atlanta, Sioux Falls, S.D., and Westport, Conn. The proposal included a cost of $25,000, plus expenses. The firm found Beverly Hall for Atlanta Public Schools.

· McPherson and Jacobson, LLC - Omaha, Neb.-based firm, which has conducted 143 superintendent searches over the last five years. The price quoted was $25,000 for fees and expenses.

· PROACT Search, Inc. - Wilmette, Ill.-based firm whose recent searches were done for school systems in Portland, Ore., Austin, Texas, St. Louis, Mo., and Newark, N.J. on a fixed fee of $22,500.

· Ray and Associates, Inc. - The Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based firm has done searches for school systems in Albuquerque, N.M., Fayetteville, Ark., and Seattle, Wash. Its estimated base fee is $20,500, with estimated expenses of $4,500.