Past Annoucnement PCU Asks for Superintendent Candidates Selection Committee

The selection of a superintendent to replace Michael Thurmond will be one of most important decisions the DeKalb School Board of Education will make. All citizens in DeKalb County want the very best superintendent candidate to continue to build upon the foundation laid by our recent leadership.

The rationale behind a Candidates Selection Committee of recognized community leaders is three-fold.

  1. A respected selection committee signals to both the community and superintendent candidates that DeKalb County is ready to build on the foundation of change experienced during the tenure of our most recent superintendent.
  2. A high profile selection committee allows DeKalb County to showcase its outstanding leadership to potential candidates thereby possibly expanding the pool of interested candidates.

Drawing from the Atlanta Public Schools and the Boston Public Schools experiences, the DeKalb County Board of Education can create a selection committee for the DeKalb School District made up of a group of twelve respected individuals from throughout the county. Chosen for their outstanding leadership in DeKalb and their service to the community, each member brings a personal and professional perspective to the task of listening to all stakeholders and vetting candidates. The committee includes business leaders, higher education leaders, parents and former school board members, leaders in governmental outreach, medical care and philanthropy.

The DeKalb County Superintendent Candidates Selection Committee will

  1. Fully acquaint themselves with the vision, objectives and priorities of the DeKalb School District
  2. Coordinate with the national search firm to attract the best pool of candidates
  3. Prioritize the superintendent qualities DeKalb parents and community stakeholders value most.
  4. Evaluate strengths & weaknesses of potential candidates and select a short list of best candidates to present to the school board.

The DeKalb Board of Education will evaluate the candidates selected, choose the most capable and make the contract offer.


  1. The DeKalb Board of Education formally approves the formation and membership of the Search Committee
  2. The Committee holds an organizational meeting to decide timelines and leadership roles. Elect a committee chair
  3. The Committee meets with Board Members and staff to be up-dated on goals and priorities of the DeKalb School District
  4. The Committee meets with the national search firm to coordinate public meetings
  5. Community input meetings are scheduled; Meetings, timelines and in-put sessions are posted regularly on the DSCD web-site.
  6. With community input, superintendent qualities are ranked
  7. Appropriate candidates are vetted, ranked and are put forth for board review
  8. The DeKalb County Board of Education announces how they will make their final decision and offers a contract to the most suitable candidate

Working together towards one goal: choosing a new leader who will ensure a quality education for all children; who will share our vision of closing the achievement gap, providing equity in all educational endeavors while maintaining a professional environment for educational professionals.


Ron Alston is been with SunTrust Bank for 22 years, and is responsible for providing credit, depository, treasury and other banking services to nonprofits. Ron’s major clients include the YMCA, American Cancer Society, United Way, City of Atlanta and the Paideia School. Prior to his current assignment, Ron was a Credit Officer in the Corporate & Investment Banking Division.

Ron enjoys serving the community as Board Chair for the DeKalb Advisory Board of the United Way, as a board member of the Decatur-DeKalb YMCA, on the advisory board of Hillside, Inc., on the Finance Committee of the Waldorf School of Atlanta, and as a member of the 2008 class of Leadership DeKalb. “I saw the chance to join the Not-for-Profit and Government Banking Group at SunTrust as a unique opportunity to blend my professional and personal interests. It’s rewarding to use my skills to help nonprofit organizations to meet their goals. I’m especially proud of my work with the Waldorf School of Atlanta, helping the school to build its financial capacity and more efficiently serve the families in the Waldorf community.”

Originally from Philadelphia, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University in Boston and his MBA from the Wharton School.

Christopher Chavez is the president of DeVry University’s Atlanta Metro, spanning seven Atlanta-area locations, over 5,000 students and nearly 300 staff and faculty members. He joined DeVry University in 2004 as the Center Dean of the Gurnee, IL Center. After successfully launching and operating the Gurnee Center, Chavez took on the leadership role of the Chicago Loop Center.

Prior to joining DeVry, Chavez spent 8 years in various progressive roles in the intermodal transportation industry. He graduated in 1995 from Northern Illinois University with Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Industrial Technology and Industrial Management.

Sadie Dennard is the external affairs manager for Georgia Power's Metro East Region. In this role she works in the area of education, economic development, civic and community relations, environmental initiatives and with city, county and state legislators in DeKalb and Rockdale counties. She joined Georgia Power in 1980 and has since helped position the utility company as a leading corporate citizen.

During the course of her career she has been honored with several awards and recognitions, including "Who's Who in Atlanta", "Women Looking Ahead” and "Atlanta Women of Influence". This civic-minded leader has served on the Board of Directors of the PAGE Foundation, Senior Connections, DeKalb Workforce Development, Callanwolde Arts Foundation and Leadership DeKalb among other organizations. Ms. Dennard served three terms as a member of the Atlanta Board of Education and was former President of the Atlanta Board and the Georgia School Boards Association. Sadie Dennard is a graduate of American University in Washington D.C.

Tina Fernandez is a Partner with Bellwether Education Partners in the Talent Services practice area. She joined Bellwether in the spring of 2014 as Co-Director of the Talent Readiness Pilot and Senior Advisor to the organization. Tina was a Bellwether founding board member and served as chair of the board in 2013-2014.

Prior to joining Bellwether, Tina was a Clinical Professor at the University of Texas School of Law and the founding Director of the school’s Pro Bono Program. In that role, she created opportunities for students to engage in pro bono work and cultivated a commitment to service among constituents. She also increased delivery of legal services to low-income persons, most notably in the area of immigration services to DREAMers and interventions in the school-to-prison pipeline. Prior, Tina was the Managing Director of Alumni Engagement & Infrastructure for Teach For America and in that role, worked to engage TFA’s alumni through fundraising and volunteer recruitment. Past experiences also include serving as Associate Director of Career Services at UT Law and as a litigation associate at Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P., where she also served on the firm’s diversity committee.

Tina earned her J.D. from Columbia University School of Law and her B.A. from Harvard College and is from the Rio Grande Valley. Before attending law school, Tina was a Teach for America '94 corps member and spent two years as a bilingual elementary teacher in the South Bronx. She is a member of IDEA Public Schools national board of directors, and is also a founding member of FuturoFund Austin, a philanthropic organization dedicated to supporting nonprofits impacting Latino communities in Central Texas.

Deborah Jackson currently serves as Lithonia’s mayor. Jackson has more than 20 years of experience as an attorney, previously serving as city attorney and city councilwoman for the City of Lithonia. Passionate about community improvement issues, in 2003, Jackson helped the City of Lithonia receive an $85,000 Liveable Communities Initiative grant.

A native of Savannah, Jackson holds degrees from Princeton University, Rutgers University and Southern New Hampshire University. - See more at:

Diane McClearen is Director of Community and External Relations for Oglethorpe Power Corporation
located at 2100 East Exchange Place PO Box 1349 Tucker, Georgia 30085
Oglethorpe Power Corporation (Oglethorpe) is a Georgia electric membership corporation. Oglethorpe is owned by 38 retail electric distribution cooperative members. Her past employment includes Easter Seals, Director of Community Relations and the Ferst Foundation, Director, Community Relations. Presently she serves on the board of the Georgia Association of Chamber of Commerce and the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce.

Alicia Philipp is president of The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. With assets of more than $740 million, The Community Foundation strengthens the 23-county Atlanta region by providing quality services to donors and innovative leadership on community issues.

Named as one of the “100 Most Influential Atlantans” by the Atlanta Business Chronicle and one of 175 “Emory History Makers” by Emory University, Philipp has led the Foundation’s grantmaking, fundraising and collaboration with donors, nonprofits and community leaders for more than 30 years. Under her leadership, The Community Foundation has grown from $7 million in 1977 to more than $720 million today and facilitates more planned gifts than any other locally based nonprofit organization in the Southeast.

Philipp has served on the advisory committee of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University, and her national and regional leadership responsibilities have included service as a board member of the Council on Foundations, the Southeastern Council of Foundations, Independent Sector and the National Center on Family Philanthropy. Philipp received the 2010 John H. Allen Humanitarian Award from Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasters. She also received the Community Leadership Award by the Harvard Business School (HBS) Club of Atlanta and the Atlanta Women’s Foundation Shining Star award. She has also been recognized as an “Achiever” by the YMCA and received the “Roz Cohen Community Action Award” and the “Emory Medal,” Emory University’s highest honor for alumni.

Philipp received a bachelor’s degree from Emory University and a master’s in business administration from Georgia State University.

Lawrence M. Schall, J.D.was elected the 16th president of Oglethorpe University in March 2005 and assumed office on June 23, 2005. Under Schall’s leadership, Oglethorpe has seen a dramatic rise in enrollment and philanthropic giving. In fall 2013, Oglethorpe opened the new $16 million Turner Lynch Campus Center, home to the A_LAB, or Atlanta Laboratory for Learning, further linking Oglethorpe students and the community.

Born in Manhattan, Schall grew up in Wilmington, Del. He graduated with honors from Swarthmore College in 1975 and went on to earn his Juris Doctor degree in 1978 from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Schall practiced law in Philadelphia as a trial attorney, specializing in civil rights litigation. In 1990, he returned to his alma mater, Swarthmore College, and served for 15 years, leaving as Vice President for Administration. While at Swarthmore, Schall was awarded a doctorate in higher education from the University of Pennsylvania, and served as Director of the Executive Doctorate Program in Higher Education as well as an adjunct faculty member of Penn’s Graduate School of Education.

Schall currently serves as Board Chair for the East Lake Foundation, and on the boards of the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) and the Lovett School.

John Shelton, President and CEO of DeKalb Medical, has over 20 years of healthcare experience, with 17 of those years at Baptist Health System. Shelton was named Alabama Young Health Executive of the Year by the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE). He served as the COO of DeKalb Medical for seven years and was recently promoted to president and CEO of the three hospital healthcare system.

Betty Willis is senior associate vice president for Government and Community Affairs at Emory University and works to develop and implement strategies to promote the interests of Emory University and Emory Healthcare on the local, state, and federal levels. She joined Emory in 1996 as director of community affairs and assumed her current position in July 1999. Willis is also executive director of the Clifton Community Partnership, which focuses on quality of life issues impacting the Clifton community (a three-mile radius surrounding the heart of Emory’s campus) in the areas of activity centers, housing alternatives, transportation choices, and pedestrian friendly streetscapes.

Prior to coming to Emory, Willis worked in governmental affairs for 15 years in Washington, DC. She was assistant director of government relations for the American Psychological Society, the professional association representing behavioral research scientists, and worked as a legislative analyst for the Society for Neuroscience, the world’s largest organization of scientists and physicians engaged in research of the brain and central nervous system.

Willis is engaged in a variety of nonprofit organizations including serving on the board of directors of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce (2000–2013), the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce (1997–present; Board Chair 2003), Central Atlanta Progress (2004–present), the Regional Business Coalition (2003–present; Board Chair, 2009), Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce (2003); Leadership DeKalb (2006-10), Georgians for Passenger Rail (2006-2011), Atlanta Streetcar, Inc. (2003-05); the DeKalb History Center (Trustee, 2006–present; Board, 1998–2005; President, 2001); the DeKalb Workforce Investment Board (2005–2009). A native of Bainbridge, Georgia, Willis received a BS from Radford University in Virginia.

Advisor to the Committee

Ann Cramer, a graduate of Salem College in Winston-Salem, NC, works as a senior consultant for Coxe Curry and Associates, a fundraising consulting firm that helps Georgia nonprofits strengthen their fundraising efforts and prepare for long-term sustainability. Cramer has a rich history of supporting education through volunteerism, board service and advocacy. She has served as chair of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education (GPEE), the Carter Center Board of Councilors, Communities in Schools-Georgia, the Georgia Chamber’s Education Committee, Voices for Georgia’s Children and the Georgia Shakespeare Festival, and she currently sits on the boards of the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta, the Metro Atlanta Chamber Education Committee, the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development and the Georgia Public Education Foundation.

The board is invited to appoint two members. Possibly :
David Campbell – Senior Management Georgia Power, DeKalb School Board
Thad Mayfield – Senior Partner FOCOM, Inc., DeKalb School Board
Karen Carter – Chair Business & Social Science Department GA Perimeter College, DeKalb School Board
John Coleman – Strategic Planning Manager Invesco, DeKalb School Board

Boston Superintendent Search Process

On February 26, 2014, the Boston School Committee unanimously approved a 12-member search committee to spearhead the effort to select a permanent superintendent for the Boston Public Schools.

On March 12, 2014, the School Committee approved Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA) as the search firm charged with recruiting and vetting candidates for the position of BPS superintendent. HYA was the unanimous choice of the Superintendent Search Committee when it held a public meeting and vote on March 10.

Read the Superintendent Search Committee's Request for Indication of Interest

Read the rubric used by the Search Committee to score the search firms
The Search Committee will begin the process to solicit, vet and narrow the list of candidates for superintendent. It is specifically charged with naming three finalists for the Boston School Committee, Mayor Walsh and the greater public to consider, with a final decision to be made by the Boston School Committee. The co-chairs have agreed to strive to make the process as transparent as possible, incorporating public input, while still preserving candidate confidentiality when necessary.

Superintendent Search Update: April 4, 2014

At a public meeting on April 16th, HYA presented a Leadership Profile Report to the Search Committee summarizing the themes of the feedback it received at community hearings and an online survey. The Search Committee then drafted a document summarizing the desired characteristics of the next superintendent, which was posted online for public review and feedback.

On April 30th, the School Committee unanimously approved this criteria for the next superintendent. The Committee also approved a Strategic Vision which will serve as a road map for the next superintendent.

May 19, 2014 Update: Search Committee Extends Timeline for Superintendent Search

On Monday, May 19th, consultants from the search firm HYA presented to the Superintendent Search Committee a recommendation to extend the superintendent search timeline into the next school year. Their recommendation was based on extensive community feedback about the good work that Interim Superintendent John McDonough is doing in the district and the desire to have him continue for another year to implement a number of ongoing initiatives. The time extension will also allow the search firm more time to seek a strong, diverse pool of candidates for superintendent.
After hearing and discussing this recommendation, the Search Committee voted to extend the search as recommended. Under the new timeline, the search firm will present a slate of candidates to the Search Committee in early January 2015, with the goal of bringing candidates to the School Committee in February. At its meeting on Wednesday, May 21st, the Boston School Committee expressed support for this revised timeline.
Please see the attached memo from HYA for more information on the search firm’s recommendation. The Search Committee co-chairs will continue to provide periodic updates to the School Committee over the next seven months as the recruitment of candidates continues, and we will continue to share information as it becomes available.

The Search Committee, working with the search firm, will issue a call for candidates and actively work to create as wide a pool of potential candidates as possible. The Search firm will conduct initial vetting and background checks on candidates and then will work with the Search Committee to decide on candidates for initial interviews.

The Search Committee will conduct a round of interviews (in executive session to preserve candidate confidentiality at this level) and select three final candidates to present publicly.