Superintendent's community meetings up in air

By Curt Yeomans


Clayton County parents may get an opportunity to hear Interim School Superintendent Valya Lee explain her plan to improve the district tonight at North Clayton High School, if the first of four community gatherings that were scheduled to take place over the next 10 days, is held as originally planned.

Although the proposed meetings were announced on Friday, there was uncertainty about their fate on Monday, after Lee said, "We may postpone the meetings, because there might be some format changes made for the meetings."

Lee and School Board Chairperson Alieka Anderson, who also is scheduled to speak at the forums, said they were not sure if the meetings would still take place.

Tentatively, the first community meeting is scheduled to begin tonight at 6:30 p.m., at North Clayton High School, which is located at 1525 Norman Drive, in College Park.

The school board named Lee as its interim schools chief March 14, after it fired former Superintendent John Thompson.

In one of her first official acts, Lee unveiled a new slogan for the district, "Moving from Good to Great," and met with staff, high-level administrators, and school principals to outline her plan for improving student achievement. During the staff meetings, she pledged that the Clayton County School System soon would "be on top again."

She also recently told school system employees that the district will be student-centered; would base many of its decisions on data gathered from comparable school systems; would exhibit fiscal responsibility, and would maintain open lines of communication with the public by being available to answer questions.

Lee is also calling on teachers to be more enthusiastic in the classroom, so students will have more motivation to learn. "From the highest achievers, to the most challenged students, we're going to have a commitment to see every child succeed," she said.

Unless other changes are announced, subsequent community meetings are set for:

· Thursday, at 6:30 p.m., at Mt. Zion High School, 2535 Mt. Zion Parkway, Jonesboro.

· March 31, at 6:30 p.m., at Lovejoy High School, 1587 McDonough Road, Hampton.

· April 2, at 6:30 p.m., at Forest Park High School, 5452 Phillips Drive, Forest Park.