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BOE reviewing Heatley's first-year performance

The Clayton County Board of Education spent two hours behind closed doors Monday afternoon, conducting a performance evaluation of School Superintendent Edmond Heatley, an attorney for the board has confirmed.

Clem Doyle, an attorney with the law firm of Brock, Clay, Calhoun and Rogers, which works for the school board, would not discuss the specifics of what happened during the executive session, in which board members discussed Heatley's job performance.

Doyle did say, however, the issue was the focus of the executive session, which took place during a called meeting before the board's monthly work session.

"They went into executive session to discuss a personnel matter," Doyle said. When asked if Heatley's job evaluation was the personnel matter, Doyle replied, "I would say that is an accurate description of what took place in the executive session."

Before the called meeting, School Board Chairperson Alieka Anderson had been vague in explaining the need for the executive session, other than to say it was a personnel matter related to the ongoing efforts to restore the district's full accreditation. The school system's head accreditation official, Director of Fine Arts Kay Sledge, said Heatley's job evaluation is indeed tied into the district's accreditation.

"It falls under two of SACS' [the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools] mandates for regaining accreditation," Sledge said. "It falls under mandate No. 1 [establishing a fully functioning governing board] and mandate No. 9 [the hiring of a qualified superintendent]."

Doyle said the board did not complete Heatley's job review during the called meeting, but he added it may not end up being a long, drawn-out process, either. "We hope to complete the review within a couple of weeks," he said.

Heatley's job performance was not the only thing up for discussion on Monday night, however. After the school board moved into its work session, the superintendent gave a presentation on the district's recently re-organized organizational chart. He explained that the heavily re-worked chart was given a face lift because of budget cuts the school system had to make for fiscal year 2011.

Several positions, including the assistant superintendent of support services, and the special assistant to the superintendent positions, were cut. The district also went from having two coordinators in every academic area (one for elementary schools and another for middle and high schools) to just having one coordinator for each subject. The district's Chief of Human Resources, Douglas Hendrix, saw his title changed to chief administrative officer.

"This is the new organizational chart for the school district," Heatley told board members. "I know it's different from what it had been before, but when the money is cut, you've got to do more with less. Even though we'll have less people, we believe we'll have a greater focus on student achievement. This will better allow the communication, and supervision of the expectations of the district [to the schools]."

Heatley specifically pointed to the fact that area superintendents now report directly to him — although they do report to the Chief Academic Officer, as well, on academic issues — as an example of how he changed the organizational chart to improve student performance. Under the previous chart, the area superintendents' only direct supervisor was the chief academic officer.

The area superintendents went through other changes as well in the new organizational chart. There had previously been four area superintendents, but one of those positions was eliminated, and the person who filled that position, Derrick Manning, became the district's athletic director.

The district's 61 schools will now be distributed among the three remaining area superintendents, Susan Patrick (Area 1), Anthony Smith (Area 2), and Janice Davis (Area 3).

• Area 1 now includes: Charles R. Drew, Jonesboro and Mt. Zion high schools, all of their feeder elementary and middle schools, and the district's alternative school.

• Area 2 includes: Lovejoy, Mundy's Mill and Riverdale high schools, their feeder schools and the Eula Wilborn Ponds Perry Learning Center.

• Area 3 includes: Forest Park, Morrow and North Clayton high schools, and their feeder schools.

Patrick, Smith and Davis will each get area support staffs as well. According to the new organizational chart, each area support staff group will consist of an instructional implementation specialist, a data analyst, three math instructional facilitators, three English/Language Arts instructional facilitators, one special education coordinator, and two supervising health care professionals.

"What we see here is the team we're going into battle with," Heatley said. "We hope it's enough to improve student achievement."