Another top-level DeKalb County School Official has been reassigned as new Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson continues implement her 90-day entry plan and restructuring of the system.
On Jan. 5, the DeKalb County School System announced it reassigned Chief Financial Officer Marcus Turk. Earlier in November the system reassigned former Interim Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Dr. Morcease Beasley and hired Atkinson’s former colleague Kathleen Howe to replace him. Uladia Taylor, former director of purchasing has also been reassigned.
“I think she had made some promises to clean house and make necessary changes and I think this is part of her plan—she’s trying to be true to her word,” Gil Hearn, a member of Parents for DeKalb Schools, said.
In addition to Howe, Atkinson has hired three other former colleagues for top central office positions. Hearn said it was good to see personnel changes of such high-level positions after the system has “maintained the status quo” for so long.
“Overall, I think it’s positive,” Hearn said.
President of the Organization of DeKalb Educators David Schutten echoed Hearn and said he had heard positive things from teachers in the county and viewed the changes as Atkinson doing what she promised when hired.
Before breaking two weeks for winter holidays, school officials announced 2012 would bring “sweeping” personnel changes at all levels, including the central office.
School spokesman Walter Woods said the school system is currently in the first phase of a personnel audit of all the central office staff that is scheduled to be completed by Jan. 13. It will include a new organizational chart for all departments. Phase two of the audit will be complete in March and will evaluate remaining positions within the system.
School Board Vice-Chairman Tom Bowen said he viewed the recent changes as nothing more than Atkinson giving the public what it wanted in a superintendent: someone from outside the system who could come in and make drastic changes.
“I view this as her evaluating all of the key leadership positions and deciding if we have the right people in the right places…I think the public should support her evaluating the central office,” Bowen said.
According to officials Turk, who has a contract with the system until June, will continue working in a different capacity. Woods said Turk will remain in the central office but “beyond that I really can’t comment on individual personnel moves.”
“We said from the beginning that we would audit the central office—look at every position—and make changes to drive resources back to the classroom. The whole idea is that the resources aren’t here but at the school level,” Woods said.