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School board to elect officers Jan. 10

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

The Clayton County Board of Education's chairperson, and vice chairperson, said Clayton County Public Schools needs stability in its leadership -- now, more than ever, as the school system prepares for the final review of its two-year probationary accreditation period.

The school board is scheduled to vote Jan. 10, on who should serve as the new chairperson and vice chairperson, according to current chairperson, Alieka Anderson.

Under school board policy, board members must elect a chairperson every two years, and a vice chairperson every year. Members have the option of keeping their current leaders, or electing new ones.

Anderson, and vice chairperson, Ophelia Burroughs, said they are not going to actively campaign to retain their leadership posts They said they do, however, want to stay in the positions, for the sake of stability in leadership.

"The Clayton County school board needs stability," Burroughs said. "If we keep changing things around, we're never going to get to where we need to be."

The upcoming election comes a few months before the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) sends a review team to monitor progress in the school system. The accrediting agency has been sending a review team to the district every six months, since the school district's accreditation was restored on May 1, 2009.

The district lost its accreditation in August 2008, and it was restored the following year, on a probationary basis. The final SACS visit is scheduled to take place in April, district officials reported to the school board earlier this month.

Anderson said the accreditation issue is the major piece of work she and Burroughs feel they have left to finish. "Definitely, accreditation is something we want to address," the school board's chairperson said. She later added that the board is on track to fulfill SACS' one remaining mandate for improving the district -- the establishment of a fully functioning school board -- before the review team visits the school system.

Anderson said the board has a few training sessions and professional-development retreats scheduled to take place between now and the final SACS visit. She added that she feels confident the district will be able to regain its full SACS accreditation this spring.

"Nothing can stop us now," she said. "We are going to get our accreditation back."

Burroughs, on the other hand, said that, how the SACS visit goes will partly depend on what school board members decide to do during the election of officers.

Under school board policy, the chairperson is charged with running school board meetings, speaking for the board, and setting agendas for board meetings.

The policy also states that the vice chairperson is tasked with assisting the chairperson in setting the agendas, and is to lead the board when the chairperson is not available.

"In view of the fact that we are on our last SACS visit, we need to remain stable at this point," Burroughs said.