Seven Sorry Superintendents

Seven Sorry Superintendents!

1. Fulton’s James Wilson. He’s Fulton’s fifth superintendent in two years (James the Fifth). Jamie Boy hails from Cobb County -- part of the Cobb Legion which has taken over the Fulton County School System. The Republicans of North Fulton have stacked the Fulton system with arrogant lads from Cobb County. Wilson and crew apparently think that mundane laws like O.C.G.A. 20-2-989.5 et seq. (the grievance law for teachers) don’t apply to them. MACE will break in ole Jamie Boy real well. Right now, he’s learning dumber.

2. Muscogee’s John Phillips. He was arrogant in Bartow County, and he’s still arrogant in Muscogee County. He’s got the personality of a baloney sandwich. He’s apparently determined to let the administrators run roughshod over the downtrodden teachers in this very race-conscious school system.

3. Atlanta’s Beverly Hall. She was disastrous in New Jersey, and she’s been disastrous since coming to Atlanta in 1999. But, don’t tell that to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The AJC has been her cheerleader during her entire tenure in Atlanta. The discipline is near non-existent in Atlanta. Teaching in Atlanta is a Viet Nam experience. The word of a student or a parent is often taken carte blanche. Teachers are essentially seen as the enemies. If a teacher reports a major ethical infraction (like cheating on standardized tests) to the Professional Standards Commission, the teacher may find himself/herself terminated or abruptly transferred. Atlanta is a hell-hole to teach in. Avoid Atlanta at all costs! Rumors have it that Hall has been seriously sick. But, she’s still at the helm of this rudderless system. Atlanta’s logo is "Resurgens" with a phoenix rising out of the ashes. But, in reality, Atlanta has long since sunk to the bottom of the ash heap. If you teach in Atlanta, you’ll end up with dirty smut all over you. Don’t say that we didn’t warn you!

4. Gwinnett’s Alvin Wilbanks. This is the same superintendent who did not report about 40,000 cases of serious disciplinary infractions to the Department of Education as required by law. (See related story on this website.) Gwinnett is Georgia’s largest school system, and it is changing daily. There’s a great influx of Hispanic students in the western part of the county. And, like every county in the metro Atlanta area, there’s a constant black/white racial transition. The central office has historically been very arrogant with the "we’re above the law" type of attitude. With the great changes taking place, teachers are often left hanging when it comes to disciplining the students. Sweep it under the rug! That’s the mantra. That’s how Wilbanks was named the Georgia State Superintendents Association’s Superintendent of the Year. What a joke. His "good ole boys" at GSSA were shoring him up after he had been beaten up in the media.

5. DeKalb’s Crawford Lewis. Lewis can be quite congenial when you meet with him. But, he probably was recently named as Johnny Brown’s replacement because he was seen by the fractious and meddling school board members as weak enough in his personality to be molded and shaped into their own image. He’s the school board’s play dough. Like most superintendents of large systems, Lewis tends to want to sweep brewing controversies under the proverbial rug. He has a handful of decent upper management people in place, but most are fairly inept, slothful, and afraid to make a decision. However, Lewis’s administration is not as arrogant as Fulton’s and Muscogee’s administrations and not quite as incompetent as Atlanta’s.

6. Clayton’s Barbara Pulliam. Pulliam comes from a system of about 5,000 on students to a system of more than 51,000 students. Her first year on the job shows that she’s in way over her head. She put out an ill-advised mandate for teachers to reduce their disciplinary referrals by 10%. She should have mandated that the students increase their behavior by 10%! Recently, three students beat up a teacher at Forest Park High School. The Alternative School is a cauldron which erupts periodically. There was a virtual riot at the school last month. The overall system-wide discipline has declined precipitously since Pulliam’s arrival a year ago. The teachers are growing very restless. But, believe it or not, the students’ behavior is still a notch or two better than Atlanta, DeKalb, and Fulton. Also, the administrators are still a notch or two better than those in Atlanta, DeKalb, and Fulton when it comes to dealing with teachers. But, the administrators’ support for teachers is getting weaker and weaker every day. In another year or two under Pulliam’s reign, Clayton will be just as bad as Atlanta, DeKalb, and Fulton. There have been persistent rumors that Pulliam has been interviewing for jobs elsewhere.

7. Hancock’s Florence Reynolds. No list of Georgia’s sorry superintendents would be complete without mentioning Hancock’s Florence Reynolds. How she got the job, we’ll never know. She came from DeKalb County with very little administrative credentials. Of course, she followed a superintendent who earned a 27 count federal indictment. (He may be finishing his career in federal prison.) Reynolds, like some of her predecessors, apparently thinks that the Georgia law doesn’t apply to Hancock County School System. The grievance law, local board policy dealing with back pay for updated certificates, etc., are ignored. MACE refers to Hancock County as Georgia’s "Wild, Wild West." (See related story on this website.) Hancock County has a sordid history of mismanagement and mercurial in-fighting and vendettas. It’s a touch of Atlanta in the country. The Professional Standards Commission (PSC) and the Georgia Department of Education (DOE) are apparently reluctant to take on the Hancock County School System and the Atlanta Public Schools because they are predominantly African-American. Apparently, the "white boys" in these agencies don’t want to be accused of racism. Meanwhile, the students and teachers languish in Hancock County and Atlanta. It is sad. The "nice" and spineless bureaucrats at the PSC and the DOE engage in benign neglect at the expense of the innocent children and the dedicated teachers. Both the Hancock County and the Atlanta school systems should be taken over by the state.

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