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School superintendent search gets citizen advice: Thick-skinned

The search to replace retiring Fayette County School Superintendent Dr. John DeCotis is on, and local folks weighed in Monday night on who should replace him.

Former Board of Education member Debbie Condon was one of several school system employees and community members who believed that the successful candidate should not be required to possess a doctorate. Condon said a superintendent should possess strong leadership skills, have tough skin and be a strong leader with courage and a vision for both academics and budget issues.

Fayette County High School teacher and Fayette Association of Educators representative Dana Camp in her comments said the new superintendent should be versed in education law and bring fresh, new innovative ideas to the school system. The new superintendent should be willing to make the organizational changes as needed and possess fiscal management experience, she said.

School system employee Sandra Watson was another who said a PhD. should not be a prerequisite, adding that the successful candidate should put students first and possess the ability to work with the school system’s many stakeholders.

Patricia Moore, whose grandchildren attend Fayette schools, said the next superintendent should be a strong leader, an excellent communicator and open to diversity, a leader who will stand behind decisions once they are made.

One student took to the microphone at the meeting. Franklin Lowe, a 10th-grader at Fayette County High School, said the new superintendent should be one who cares about every type of student and strives to have them do their personal best.

Also speaking was bus driver David Gardner. He, too, believed a superintendent should be thick-skinned and one who is sharp financially with a strong business background. Gardner said the successful candidate should be one who maintains direct contact with schools, students and employees.

Another school system employee providing input was Discipline & Attendance Coordinator C.W. Campbell. Advocating for the board to look closely at who will be the next person to lead the school system, Campbell used the example of Clayton County’s previous hire of an out-of-state superintendent. That person required a learning curve, Campbell said.

Campbell was one of a few speakers advocating that the board confine their search to Georgia or even inside the school system for candidates.

“There’s a Fayette County way of doing things and there’s another way,” Campbell said. “Here in Fayette County we do listen and we do care.”

The public input session drew comments from 12 of the approximately 110 people who turned out Monday night at Sams Auditorium in Fayetteville.

Relative to the online survey available on the school system’s website at were the 1,233 results compiled so far. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said having a doctorate was mandatory with 52 percent saying it was important.

Fifty-nine percent said it is important for the successful candidate to have prior experience as a superintendent while 31 percent said it was mandatory.

Seventy-five percent said it is mandatory that the person have prior experience as a principal and 79 percent said it is mandatory that the new superintendent have prior classroom experience.

And in terms of special expertise, 85 percent said that talent should reside in administration while 87 percent indicated in budgets.

The public hearing was moderated by representatives from the Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA), the organization hired last week to lead the process that will replace DeCotis.

GSBA representative Dr. Don Rooks prior to the public comments gave a brief overview of the selection process. Rooks also noted the online survey that, to date, has been completed by 1,233 people.



The fact that these people do not want a doctorate means they already know who they want. This is their history -build the requirements around the person rather than the job.

That is exactly what I have heard. They already know who they want and are using the survey to support their selection. I've heard it is someone who was neither a classroom teacher nor an administrator. But hey...I hear this person has a documented history of leadership in a community organization.

Who have you heard it is without being a teacher at some point???

I wrote not a "classroom" teacher. I've heard it is someone who has never been a teacher of record (had to maintain grades). It's all just rumor at this point anyway....but, my, the survey does seem to fit the selection!

Dondol's picture

<strong>As long as its Not Sam Sweat</strong>, that would be the DEATH Nail in the Coffin for FCBOE. That man is a complete FOOL!

Totally agree!!!!!

Totally agree!!!!!

Please pay attention to just who the supers are in Atlanta, and environs!

Their opinion is that racial barriers are required.
You see how successful they have been.

It is the same as to PhD. requirements. I assume they want the specialty to be education, and that might be a mistake. We need change.

Hiring only from "lists" of recommended people made by educators is also dangerous. Who will they protect first?
This is serious business and demands a person suited to changing the failed systems.
Don't hire someone at a quarter million dollars who is about to retire in 5-10 years either. He or she has only one objective in many cases.


Dr. John DeCotis is retiring from Fayette County School and Superintendent gets citizen advice that who should replace him. It's quiet strange. <a href="">Famous Art</a>

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