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Clayton County School Superintendent Edmond Heatley resigns

'We had heard rumors, but who puts stock in rumors?'

Superintendent Edmond Heatley

Superintendent Edmond Heatley

— Edmond Heatley resigned Wednesday morning as superintendent of Clayton County public schools after a tumultuous three-year tenure, according to school system officials.

Heatley delivered his resignation in a 10 a.m. meeting with school board chair Pam Adamson, who said that Heatley told her he had accepted an unspecified job elsewhere.

Adamson said she didn’t expect that to be the reason for the meeting.

“I was just so shocked I didn't ask [where],” said Adamson in an interview. “We had heard rumors, but who puts stock in rumors?”

Heatley's resignation is effective Sept. 30. Adamson said the board hoped to appoint an interim superintendent whose tenure could overlap with Heatley’s last month on the job. She did not indicate when an interim superintendent would be selected, however.

The board will officially accept Heatley’s resignation either at its next scheduled meeting on Sept. 10 or at a called meeting before then, the school board chair said.

“School has just begun and our primary focus will remain providing the students of Clayton County with a high-quality education during this transition,” Adamson said in the system’s official statement. “We are grateful to Dr. Heatley for his service and wish him the best.”

Heatley was unavailable for comment Wednesday afternoon.

There have been murmurs throughout his tenure that Heatley was looking elsewhere for employment. He was even revealed to be a finalist for a superintendent’s job in Dallas, Texas, earlier this year.

Critics of Heatley’s leadership offered mixed reactions to the news of his resignation.

“Whatever makes him happy, no need to be negative,” said board member Jessie Goree, one of Heatley’s most vocal critics. “I don’t know the reason why he’s going to move, but I wish him all the best and the greatest success.

Another critic and longtime observer, John Trotter of the Metro Association of Classroom Educators, wasn’t nearly as generous.

“I’ve never seen a superintendent as despised by employees as Edmond Heatley,” said Trotter, whose group — commonly known as MACE — is critical of education administrators across metro Atlanta.

Heatley was appointed as superintendent in May 2009 after running the Chino Valley Unified School District, near Los Angeles. When he was hired, the school system was on the tail end of a tumultuous period in its history. During the preceding school year, Clayton schools had lost and regained its SACS accreditation but was just beginning a two-year probationary period.

The accreditation was restored just days before he was announced as the sole finalist for the superintendent’s job.

The district had also gone through a prolonged period of turnover in the superintendent’s office. Heatley was the school system’s fifth superintendent in two years. He enjoyed early support from the Clayton County community, particularly when he suspended 1,500 high school students who participated in a district-wide protest of the system’s school uniform policy in November 2009.

But over his three-year tenure, Heatley — an ex-Marine drill sergeant — was often criticized for his tough management style. He was also heavily criticized for his annual handling of budget cuts, which always turned into months-long fights with the school board over proposed cuts such as eliminating employee benefits for bus drivers, shortening school weeks and doing away with arts programs.

He also had a sometimes tenuous relationship with the media. It culminated in a May 2011 press conference where he blasted reporters for investigating rumors he was having an affair with an employee in the school system’s central office.

Heatley ran afoul of parents in July 2010, when he announced bus service was being cut to 4,600 students only a week before the school year began. He landed in hot water with parents again in July of this year when he announced a controversial shortened school day plan — less than a month before the current school year began — without first seeking public input.

The shortened day plan is being reconsidered.

News Daily reporter Jeylin White contributed to this article.

Comments

whm41 2 years, 3 months ago

Well, maybe now the school board will look with in for a replacement. At one time we had qualified people with in the System to run our schools. I just hope that there is some one left who might want the job. The Students of Clayton County deserve better. Wake up school system !!!!!

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james171 2 years, 3 months ago

At one time, there were people in the school sytem who could manage the system and do a good job; however, that is not now the case. There is no one in the system capable of leading the system. Most of these folks do not even know how to run a school much less anything else.

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halem 2 years, 3 months ago

I hope this doesn't mean that we have to pay another superintendant until the end of their contract.

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OscarKnight 2 years, 3 months ago

Quote : "Brown then surprised Heatley by lining up staffers and others, including Sheriff Kem Kimbrough, behind Heatley to lift him into the air."

...They should have dropped him, carried him to the county line, or both.

http://www.news-daily.com/news/2012/aug/10/heatley-rallies-teachers-staff-new-year/?c=55572

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james171 2 years, 3 months ago

Amen!!!!!! Heatley was a lost cause when he arrived and he will be the same no matter where he goes. Good riddance, Heatley.

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Lunchman 2 years, 3 months ago

When you do not get your own way, you resign.

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MD 2 years, 3 months ago

Clayton County residents don't want schools! Who are you kidding? They want sitter service! Next contestant please!

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JLA 2 years, 3 months ago

As a resident of Clayton County I disagree! Education is what my child wants and what I want for her! She has goals just like any other child in any other county in this country. GROW UP and stop putting us all in one box. I know for a FACT that all some of these students want in an education and a chance to show people like you that they are wrong. YOU ARE WRONG!

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DE 2 years, 3 months ago

I just have to ask, how involved are you with your child's education? What have you done to get other parent's involved with the education of their children? If you aren't involved and don't get others involved, then you are using the school system as a daycare like most of the parents of Clayton County are doing. Just ask any educator. Schools with parental involvement graduate children with higher test scores and a better chance of being productive citizens when their education is completed. School's without parental involvement have higher dropout rates and lower test scores. Which group do you want your child to be in?

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FeeJizm 2 years, 3 months ago

@MD.....You sound foolish. There are a miniscule number of parents in Clayton Co. that would probably "fit" into your statement. Over the past couple of years, the school system has made improvements (mandatory school uniforms was a great start!) they are trying to better educate the students THAT WANT to be educated.

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OscarKnight 2 years, 3 months ago

.....The Clayton County School System was forced to make improvements, to regain their accreditation. One of the fired School Board Members is now a State Representative in Clayton County.

....Maybe some of our Voters and Parents, in this county, should attend the school of common sense.

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Lunchman 2 years, 3 months ago

If parents are so involved the why is it when PTA, forums and open houses only have about 30 people show up and half of those are county employees? Visit your child's school and see how many follow the school's mandatory uniform policy, no using of electronic devices during school hours, etc. I was told by two subs they would never sub at a certian high school in the county because when the their child was caught cheating the parent was more upset they were caught than the cheating. Thank goodness there are students who want the opportunties an education will give them and find a way to get it and a teacher is there to help because this is not the norm in Clayton County Public Schools any more.

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james171 2 years, 3 months ago

Yippee!!!! I hope Heatley takes his human resources chief with him!!! I also hope that Pam Adamson does not select the interim superintendent. She was responsible for Heatley coming here in the first place. Dr. Heatley, take Pam Adamson with you, too.

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james171 2 years, 3 months ago

When I grow up, I want to be superintendent of Clayton County Schools. I want to do a very poor job, get paid a lot of money, and then leave after I have completely terrorized the school employees....What a mess Heatley has caused.

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