BOE to vote Monday on new school chief

By Curt Yeomans


Clayton County residents will find out Monday whether a school chief from California will become the next leader of Clayton County Public Schools, school board members announced Thursday.

Chino Valley (Calif.) Unified School District Superintendent Edmond Heatley was announced as the sole finalist for Clayton County's vacant school chief position May 5. The school board will meet Monday, May 18, at 6:30 p.m., at the district's central office, located at 1058 Fifth Ave., to decide whether Heatley will, indeed, be the school system's fifth superintendent in two years.

"On Monday, the Clayton County Board of Education will hold a called meeting to vote on the hiring of a new superintendent," board member Charlton Bivins said during the meeting. "This will be the sole purpose of the meeting."

If Heatley is hired by the school board, he will be the latest in a series of people to lead the school system since former Superintendent Barbara Pulliam resigned in July 2007.

Following Pulliam was Interim Superintendent Gloria Duncan, who led the school system almost all of the 2007-2008 school year. Duncan was replaced by former Superintendent John Thompson, who was hired in April 2008. Thompson was fired in March, and replaced by Interim Superintendent Valya Lee.

There was some question after the school board meeting about whether the board's scheduled meeting Monday would meet the state-mandated 14-day waiting period between when Heatley was announced as a finalist, and when the board will vote on hiring him.

School board member Jessie Goree said she believed the clock should have started on May 6, when the announcement of Heatley as the sole finalist was published in the Clayton News Daily, which is the county's legal organ. Goree said a vote on hiring Heatley should not take place before Tuesday, May 19, as a result.

"It went to the media at night time, and so it wasn't in print until the next day, and I think that's when the 14 days should have begun," Goree said.

Bivins and fellow school board member Pamela Adamson said they agreed to holding a called meeting on Monday to vote on hiring Heatley because School System Legal Counsel Glenn Brock told them it was OK to do so.

Brock said the 14-day waiting period began on May 5 because that was when the school system sent an e-mail to members of the media, public officials and parents who are members of the school system's Key Communicators group, announcing Heatley as the only finalist.

"Tuesday was day 1, and so you start from there," Brock said.

School board Chairperson Alieka Anderson said Heatley and his family, which includes wife, Karen, and their three children, are tentatively scheduled to visit the school system a few days after the board is scheduled to vote on whether he will be hired as the new superintendent.

"He will be back here with his family on May 22 - if he is hired," Anderson said. After a meeting with Clayton County parents and community leaders on May 6, Heatley said he plans to attend the graduation ceremonies in Clayton County later this month - if he is hired - as well as the Chino Valley graduations next month.

Anderson and Brock said details of a possible contract for Heatley have not yet been agreed upon. Heatley said last week he makes approximately $250,000 per year as the superintendent of Chino Valley schools. Anderson said contract discussions are not far enough along to say whether he will make that much money in Clayton County, or even former superintendent Thompson's $285,000 annual salary.

"We are going to be frugal with the money," Anderson said.