JONESBORO — Clayton County Schools Superintendent Edmond Heatley’s new job in California may not be a done deal after all, thanks to his support in 2008 of a ballot measure to ban same-sex marriage.
While superintendent in Chino Valley, Calif., Heatley urged the Chino Valley Board of Education to approve a resolution supporting Proposition 8, which would have amended California’s constitution to specify that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid.” The board passed the resolution 4-0 and California passed Proposition 8. The measure has since been tangled in various court challenges.
The Berkeley United School District was on the verge of hiring Heatley to be its next superintendent. But after a Berkeley news website brought the memo to light, BUSD board president John Selawsky said they would have to further research Heatley and slow down the recruitment process.
“My observer’s view is that this issue around Proposition 8 would make it highly improbable they would appoint [Heatley] in Berkeley,” said Lance Knobel of berkleleyside.com, which broke the story. “Berkeley is one of the most left-leaning, liberal, progressive — any way you want to say it — places, and it prides itself on being very politically progressive.”
Indeed, while California voters overall passed Proposition 8, Alameda County — where Berkeley is located — did not. In addition, according to Berkeleyside, Berkeley schools adopted the Human Rights Campaign’s Welcoming Schools curriculum which embraces diversity, and “the City of Berkeley (has) sought to be in the forefront in LGBT-friendly policies.”
“It [Heatley’s support of Proposition 8] would not go over well in Berkeley,” said Frances Dinkelspiel of berkeleyside.com. “It’s a very diverse community, a very tolerant community. That’s one of the reasons that people move to Berkeley, because there are so many diverse lifestyles.”
Whether Heatley can stay in Clayton County as school superintendent is unclear.
Board president Pam Adamson, reached by phone by Clayton News Daily Thursday night, declined to predict what might happen next.
“I could give you lots of scenarios, and they would all be speculation,” Adamson said.
Board member Jessie Goree simply wished Heatley well.
“All I can say is on Monday night we accepted his resignation and appointed an interim superintendent,” Goree said. “What that means to me is on Oct. 1 Luvenia Jackson will be interim superintendent. I don’t know what the future holds for Dr. Heatley, but I wish him the best.”
Click here to see the berkeleyside.com story