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School board takes weekend class

Photo by Jim Massara
Board members Alieka Anderson and Ophelia Burroughs, board chair Pam Adamson and board vice chair Mary Baker master the secrets of their new iPhones at Saturday's retreat.

Photo by Jim Massara Board members Alieka Anderson and Ophelia Burroughs, board chair Pam Adamson and board vice chair Mary Baker master the secrets of their new iPhones at Saturday's retreat.

— The students may have had the weekend off, but the Clayton County School Board was in class Saturday.

Billed as a “retreat,” the all-day session at the S. Truett Cathy Professional Learning Center covered everything from showing board members their role in overseeing a superintendent to showing them how to use their new district-issued iPhones.

All board members were present except Charlton Bivins, absent due to a family emergency. Also on hand was incoming interim superintendent Luvenia Jackson, who sat quietly on the outside perimeter of the conference room, taking notes and occasionally answering questions from board members. Jackson is scheduled to be sworn in as superintendent on Oct. 1.

Not present was outgoing superintendent Edmond Heatley, who resigned last month to accept what looked like a certain job offer of superintendent in Berkeley, Calif. Heatley later withdrew his candidacy when protest over his perceived position on gay marriage forced the Berkeley school board to announce it would slow down the hiring process.

The afternoon classes in management oversight and hiring a superintendent were conducted by school board counsel Glenn Brock, who walked participants through nuts-and-bolts explanations of how they might do their jobs.

Brock urged the board to draft a management-oversight policy — in other words, a document defining how they would guide a future superintendent — as soon as possible. He suggested policies already in use at several other districts as possible templates for Clayton County’s.

Board members commented and asked questions from time to time, and Brock, board chair Pam Adamson or other speakers fielded them as appropriate. In fact, with everyone sporting golf shirts instead of ties and jeans instead of slacks, the atmosphere was like nothing so much as a relaxed college seminar.

The board holds retreats several times a year to comply with state laws requiring all school boards to complete state-mandated training.