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DCSS board releases Murfree from contract


Joshua Murfree Jr. is superintendent of the Dougherty County School System.

Joshua Murfree Jr. is superintendent of the Dougherty County School System.

ALBANY, Ga. — The Dougherty County School Board and Superintendent Joshua Murfree signed a general release and mutual employment termination agreement Wednesday, effectively ending Murfree's tumultuous three-year tenure with the troubled school system.

The board voted 4-3 to offer Murfree a mutually understood termination agreement that stipulates he will step down as DCSS superintendent on Dec. 18.

photo

Terry Lewis

Dougherty County School Superintendent Joshua Murfree and the Board of Education signed a mutual agreement Wednesday in which Murfree will step down as superintendent on Dec. 18. Murfree, who has been on the job for nearly three years, was facing a contract renewal in June of 2013.

Board Chair James Bush and members Carol Tharin, Darrel Ealum and David Maschke voted for the agreement while Milton "June Bug" Griffin, Anita Williams-Brown and Velvet Riggins voted no.

"I would refer any questions you want to ask me to your board members," Murfee said after signing the agreement. "That's all I have to say."

Board members discussed the terms of the agreement in a closed-door executive session before re-opening the meeting and taking a public vote.

The 13-page agreement reads in part: "The parties have agreed it is in the best interests of all involved to mutually terminate (the) employment relationship to provide for transition of employment responsibilities and to amicably conclude all matters arising out of or related to the employment of (the) Superintendent and/or termination of that employment."

Hired as former superintendent Sally Whatley's replacement in June of 2010, Murfree's 30-month tenure was marked by controversies in which some involved with the school system have been accused of school lunch fraud, tampering with the school system Police Department and repaying bond money of an arrested student.

Currently, there is Georgia Department of Education involvement in several different federal programs because of questionable Title I, Part A expenditures.

It became evident that Murfree had lost support for renewal after an Oct. 10 closed board meeting at which individual board members discussed continuation or termination of Murfree's contract.

Sources say that at the conclusion of the 30-minute meeting, it was apparent that Murfree did not have the four votes necessary to renew his contract.

Murfree was not present at that closed session, but minutes were taken and given to the superintendent. Sources close to the situation said then that Bush and system attorney Tommy Coleman then had a meeting with Murfree in which the superintendent was given the option to "control his own destiny."

"I think the Board and Dr. Murfree made every effort to go through the process with respect and dignity, and I think we did that," Tharin said. "Now we need to find an interim superintendent who can help us with a smooth transition and can take an objective look at the system."

Bush said the decision not to renew Murfree's contract came after weeks of negotiations between the board and Murfree.

"This was not a difficult decision to reach. He (Murfree) had his mind made up and so did the majority of the Board," Bush said.

Riggins, who wanted to retain Murfree, said he took the job under bad circumstances, which he was trying to improve.

"The board made its decision, but he (Murfree) came into a plagued system, and he's been trying to fix it since he took the job. At least he will be getting a check until June. I am unemployed and still looking for work because of the same plagued system," Riggins said, referring to her recent acquittal on school lunch fraud charges. "I wish him well in his job-hunting. With his credentials and qualifications, he should be able to find work immediately."

Maschke said the agreement was in the best interests of all involved.

"The majority of the board supported the agreement and believed that a change was necessary," Maschke said. "The board and Dr. Murfree reached this agreement for the benefit of the school system and the community."

Comments

tccvc 2 years ago

Good Luck in your future endeavors, the school system had problems before you got the job and will still have them after you leave. here's hoping the school board gets it right this time around

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BettyBowTie 2 years ago

Yes they did, but he made many bad decisions.

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PatrickY2K 2 years ago

Riggins is blaming her unemployment on the "plagued system?" If you can't say anything non-stupid, don't say anything at all!

Right, Goseer?

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MRKIA 2 years ago

ALL SHE IS CONCERNED WITH IS GETTING A CHECK, TO HELL WITH DOING YOUR JOB. BUT THEN SHE DOESN'T HAVE ONE.

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LadyD 2 years ago

It is not a tragic day for the victims, our children, the image of the community, the image projected of our educators, etc., within the school system. From the initial onset, when Dr. Murfee #34 was selected, the destiny of his realm was set. Whenever a decision is based on unethical principles, it causes the foundation to crumble. Moving forward, it is left to parents, teachers, mentors, and ministers to become involved in the continued future of our children in the Dougherty county school system. Squaking among ourselves and not in the forum where your voice makes a difference...is in vain. The structure of those selected by the community to serve on the Board of Directors is the common factor in resolving future problems. The downfall of WorldCom and Enron was based on the culture set by leadership. The board plays a vital role in who that next master of our failing school system will be. It appears there has been a battlefield of casulties under this administration. I do hope that proactive measures and effective strategic planning goes into defining the goals that must be accomplished by the next Superintendant. And God be with her or him...on the cleanup job that lies before that individual. I also support, the board needs management/leadership training to become a much more effective board...and that means the board needs to be a board. Now defining that role is yet another consultants challenge.

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Momof3 2 years ago

Will he get paid through the end of the original contract or does that stop on the 18th of December also?

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Shinedownfan 2 years ago

He's getting paid thru June 7th.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

Thank you, Chairman Bush, for your courage. Seriously!

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Gabrielblows 2 years ago

My belief in human intellect is partially restored.

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jglass 2 years ago

He is suppose to get paid til the end of his contract. Too funny the three that voted against terminating him. They need to be releaved of their duties next time they are up for election!!!!

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

There goes some more of the 11 million dollar surplus. Not to mention court costs to come. I wonder which Legal Eagle's phone is ringing right now? Murfree should be forced to sign a document promising not to sue if he gets his severance pay. Would the DCSS attorney think of that? I wonder.

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PatrickY2K 2 years ago

Why would he sue? He isn't being fired for cause, and he's being paid through the end of his contract.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

That hasn't stopped these other geniuses around DoCo from suing now has it?

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saveourcity 2 years ago

I see nothing it this story that tells us he is being paid through the end of his contract. I'm sure Terry will confirm that as soon as he can as it will soon be a matter of public record. Even if he IS paid through the end of the contract, it is money well spent. He should have never been hired in the 1st place, and he should have been fired months ago. Lets move on and begin the recovery process.

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Citizen_A 2 years ago

It says it in the WALB article....

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KaosinAlbany 2 years ago

One of them will be leaving and was voted out. 2 more to go...

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mr_nobody 2 years ago

Wow. Glad the board is finally owning up to the mistake. I've been reading the "More Like this Story" links at the end of the article. As someone that moved here who's not from the area, all I can say is "wow."

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Outtahere 2 years ago

Did I just read that correctly? Well, all I have to say is "Goodbye"!

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Sherwood_Eagle_Alum 2 years ago

Don't let the door hit ya' where the dog should have bit ya'.

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raysegrest 2 years ago

Superintendent Joshua Murfree has been released from his contract and that was the correct thing to do considering the overall lack of confidence that had been expressed repeatedly. Now we need to go outside of the county to a successful school district and find a qualified person to take his place, but what we need more than that is parents and grandparents that are willing to get their hands dirty for the sake of our children and grandchildren. Partners in Excellence that have pledged to help particular school need to do what they said they would instead of just using the title to glorify themselves and their businesses. There are 300 plus churches in Albany that could make sure our school teachers and staffs have the support they so desperately need. Schools are for Education not raising children.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

Please cite possible actions that area churches could do to support public school teachers and staffs? Please list specific things that a church could do to "make sure our school teachers and staffs have the support they so desparately need". Make the list as long as you can. Thanks.

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mr_nobody 2 years ago

I thought the schools want no part of churches? What are you and your church doing to set the pace for the rest of the churches in town in regards to what it means to support the schools? I agree with the sister. I'd love to hear your ideas. Also, please tell us exactly what a Partner in Excellence is supposed to do. I'm part of an organization that is a Partner in Excellence with a school, so I just want to be sure we meet the criteria.

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FryarTuk 2 years ago

Raysegrest, I say you are on point for the majority of your comment but don't think for a minute schools don't help raise children. Let's get some competent teachers and support systems in place to help teach the teachers subject matter. My wife and I have tutored teachers for years in DoCoSS and they are inadequately trained at ASU in the school of education. There are programs available with federal grants where instructors can be brought in from various schools of education to help these teachers. The programs have to be constructed and monitored by professionals other than DoCoSS Curriculum Supervisors and Administrators and ASU. None of these people know the curriculum and can't teach it. If the School Board wants to begin helping these students begin with a new SUperintendent that can reorganize the personnel and teacher support systems.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

7 hours later..............nothing..........just what I expected......raysegrest..........nothing.......................................................stupid

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Dino58 2 years ago

Very classy. Is that scripture as well?

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

Actually it's just basic common sense....ask someone a question to clarify how that would accomplish something they proposed and get nothing back. It's rude.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

School Board hiring authorities: please do not let the next person that gets hired as DoCo Super write their own contract. If nothing else, it sends them the wrong message. Thanks.

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saveourcity 2 years ago

That picture is just awesome! Who keeps their OWN picture on their desktop?

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mr_nobody 2 years ago

I do. I have a picture of me and my family on my desktop as I type.

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Shinedownfan 2 years ago

I have Hogwarts as my wallpaper :).

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beenhereawhile 2 years ago

It's not just having the picture on your desk or computer screen - a lot of people do that. It is posing in front of the picture of yourself for a newspaper reporter that shows what a narcissist this guy is!

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FryarTuk 2 years ago

I've never seen an accomplished professional or business person have a picture of himself on their wall or desk as a single photograph. I've seen plenty of vanity wallls where there were photos with a potentate or politician or family but strong achievers don't usually spend much time with a mirror.

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boyoboy 2 years ago

It's about damn time! Now we just need to get rid of the other three incompetent, self serving nit wits.

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boyoboy 2 years ago

Oh, and by the way, he needs to take that crook Gooseer with him!

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Albanite 2 years ago

You know, in my lifetime before 1964 Americans were ashamed to take something they did not earn and schools were places of learning. It seems like someone warned America about something in 1964, but I can't quite recall what it was.

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FryarTuk 2 years ago

Laus Deo! So we begin the change. We are not ready to begin the healing process because there is still much malignancy.

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GOBEME 2 years ago

I SEE GOOD OLE VELVET VOTED TO KEEP HIM!! THAT THERE PROVES HE NEEDS TO GO!! CROOK WANTING TO KEEP A CROOK.. SHE NEEDS TO GO TOO!!!!

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terihdfxr1 2 years ago

Velvet Riggins, Anita Williams-Brown, and Milton "June Bug" Griffin MUST BE NEXT. Clean house completley. # 34 didnt get there on his own. This incompetent board put him there. We must keep the Momentum going and finish the job that needs to be done. If you ask me he is responsable but not all alone. The Joke of a Board we have is just as responsable as he is. I kinda feel like he is the fall guy and has been ever since they hired him. Why else take # 34? Entitlement position How did that work out? Not to good !!!

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chinaberry25 2 years ago

Velvet will go next election. June Bug maybe, Anita is already toast. This school system will also have some competition with Charter schools so they need to get ready.

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Cartman 2 years ago

Despite what Carlton Fletcher sez, Squawking pays off!

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

Fletcher's just jealous because most of us can "put ideas to paper" better than him!

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DoctorDorite 2 years ago

Maybe he does'nt like it because he knows it does work, squawking helped get him out of the school system with his troubles if you remember.

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MRKIA 2 years ago

I HAVEN'T RUSHED TO COMMENT ON THIS LATEST EVENT IN THE DCSB AS I'VE KNOWN ALL ALONG IT WOULD COME TO THIS. BUSH IS NO FOOL AND HE KNEW MUREFREE HAD TO GO.WHAT'S NEXT? OF COURSE A NEW SUPER AND WITH IT THE DISMISSAL OF GOSEER AND BETTY GRAPER. IF THE BOARD DOESN'T DO IT FIRST THE NEW SUPER WILL. MURFREE? HE WON'T BE MAKING THE KIND OF MONEY HE GOT FROM THIS FIASCO ANY TIME SOON. IN FACT HE WILL LIKELY HAVE TO MOVE OUT OF ALBANY TO FIND EMPLOYMENT. HERE'S A TIP FOR YOU MURFREE: LOSE THE BOW-TIE AND THE "I SMELL DOO-DOO" LOOK. IT MAKES YOU LOOK LIKE A TURD.

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Clyde 2 years ago

But...but, and just when I found the coolest desktop picture in the world he has to leave. I guess I will keep it so I can remember the "good times".

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

Can you see that there's a teeny tiny picture of THIS picture in that picture behind him and it goes on and on, smaller and smaller like a million mirrors..............but you need some good glasses to see it.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

That picture (or the OTHER one) either one, just begs the qwerstion axed in the Commercial before School started "Come on out and show some LOVE to yo Super!"

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bigbob 2 years ago

This whole Murfree deal has made DCSS look the the biggest dumbies anywhere. Now they decide to pretty much fire him making them admit the DCSS is a big joke.

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waltspecht 2 years ago

He needed to be terminated for cause, voiding thee rest of the contract and saving the money. If there wasn't sufficient cause shown over his tenure, I don't know who was watching. They certainly weren't looking at and following his progress and the gross failure to control.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

Maybe that's why W-Brown, Riggins, and JayBug voted "NO"....they felt he should be terminated for Cause. Ya'think?

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brudderfromanuddermudder 2 years ago

I do not think that Dr. Murfree should have been fired. The Board new that he was a flawed candidate in the beginning. The Board should have never placed him in that position of leadership and not support him. The Board is fundamentally flawed itself and firing Dr. Murfree will not make it any better.

Let us pray that the Board and new Superintendent perform much better in the future.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

Memo to Velvet Riggins: Yes the "system" is plagued.......due to the taint that exists upon it from YOUR VERY PRESENCE within it. The word "plague" may be defined as "A highly infectious, usually fatal, epidemic disease; a pestilence" which precisely describes YOUR PERSONAL IMPACT AND INFLUENCE upon the "system" based on your lack of moral character and integrity. "Not Guilty" ????? NOT HARDLY!!!!

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FryarTuk 2 years ago

Riggins yet does not take responsibility for her self. I definitely believe she is accurately described by Romney's 47% remarks.

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FryarTuk 2 years ago

Velvet Riggins: " At least he (#34) will be getting a check until June. I am unemployed and still looking for work because of the same plagued system . . . " What a self serving creature. Never taking responsibility for herself and always interpreting circumstances with her at the center. She has no capacity for rational objective functioning and should not be in any decision making roll where the welfare of others (and particularly children) are concerned.

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FryarTuk 2 years ago

Riggins said, referring to her recent acquittal on school lunch fraud charges. "I wish him well in his job-hunting. With his credentials and qualifications, he should be able to find work immediately." Not hardly. He's so radioactive burglar alarms trigger when he walks in the mall. #34 needs to pay his Sears bill, pack up and hit the road taking Velveeta with him.

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spookj6 2 years ago

Now who are ya'll going to blame for the mess in DCSS

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stc1993 2 years ago

I believe it's going to get better now. They're still a couple that need to go that have no thought of educating children, but just lining their pockets.

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Sherwood_Eagle_Alum 2 years ago

Whoever is in charge, until things get better. Hopefully this is but a mere domino in the grand scheme of things.

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FryarTuk 2 years ago

No, please lord, not W. Within half an hour he'll have us invading Baker County looking for yellow birthday cake. They will whip us in half a day and we'll never find our fallen.

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sck1118 2 years ago

the whole board is a joke

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MRKIA 2 years ago

MODERATOR, I'M BACK. STOP DELAYING MY POSTS.

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sck1118 2 years ago

The whole board is a joke.

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Brother_Love 2 years ago

Y'all a bunch of racist pigs. I know y'all love this witch hunting. Y'all just as well be weariing white sheets over your head, but trick or treatin was 2 weeks ago. Y'all just wanting to hold a black man down. Murfree was doing an excellant job as school superintendant in fact the best we had besides John Culbreath but y'all were hatin on him as well as if Whatley did a perfect job just because she was white. Just like Heard would have made an excellant school board member. Y'all also be hating on John Bush, June Bug, Velvet Riggins and Anita Williams Brown just because they are black, but praise your white board members. Uh huh we know where your heart coming from, the devils heart.

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saveourcity 2 years ago

And you are obviously a recent product of the DCSS......or did you even graduate? I knew John Culbreath........and #34 is no John Culbreath....not by a long shot.
We are not hating on the people you mentioned because they are black. We are upset with them because they make bad, self-serving decisions. They do not act in the best interest of the children, but for their OWN interests......

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TrixibelleBento 2 years ago

Brother, you've got blinders on. Read or watch the news once in a while. John Culbreath was a wonderful man and I wish he were still down there. And oh, by the way, I'm white, so stop with the racist B.S.

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chinaberry25 2 years ago

But I do think that the school system is headed in the right direction. Whoever leads it white or black should not have their own self interests at heart. These children need a strong arm to move them forward. They are taking over the schools, wandering the halls all times of day doing God knows what. If it were just smoking, I would not be worried, making babies is a thought, Most of you are clueless as to what is happening in the schools.

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doingwhatisright 2 years ago

Yesterday, the spouse came home and asked, Is it fraud to use the DCSS computer system/ email to send every school and employee a picture of your new grandchild...like Murfree did yesterday?

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Terry.Lewis 2 years ago

The BOE will begin a search for an interim Superintendent.

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Sapphireblue959 2 years ago

I really do hope that the contract is not presented to him as it is shown with the "scratch outs". Hopefully, this is a draft and it is being revised professionally.

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saveourcity 2 years ago

The reports indicate that this was a mutual agreement. I'm sure there is more to this story. #34 knew he was on the way out and make the best deal he could. I'm sure the deal would have been much different had the vote been delayed until January. As it stands, he gets a 6 month vacation on our dime. Still, its money well spent to get him out of here. Hopefully, the Board learned a lesson from this fiasco......While your pick may be your buddy and easy to manipulate.....#34 out of 37 is a bad choice anytime. Start a national search, follow the process (and the sunshine laws this time), and hire a LEADER, not a follower. We need a turn-around specialist, someone who can rise above the drama on the school board and LEAD us out of this mess. This next Super is not a local person, is not the buddy of the Board Chairman, is not the latest laid off Janitor from ASU, and is not chosen from the bottom of the list of candidates. He/She is a LEADER....with years of experience in the classroom, with proven experience leading troubled school systems. This person will likely be expensive, costing a great deal more than the $$$ paid to #34, but the payoff will be worth it.

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DaneGlesak 2 years ago

Those who said DCSS was a mess way before Murphree came on are right. Folks can blame him for everything uncluding global warming and gas prices if they want but the real problem is way deeper than a man with a degree bought off the web. It will take nothing less than a miracle to upright DCSS. If we all would spend our energy on positive things like praying instead of hating and the white/black worn out issues we are hung up on things would probably get better.

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FryarTuk 2 years ago

Point well made though considerably overstated. The DCSS can be repaired successfully. Murfree was not capable of doing it and he knew, even though the uneducated members of the board didn't understand how feckles his management would be.Perhaps they didn't care, which I suspect is the case, because I truly believe that some in the group that hired this man had unrighteous motives. "We want a superintendent that can follow orders," said one board member. Murfree was not honest and therein is his fault.

As to the successful remediation of the DCSS the Board must find a strong competent administrator who is preferrably black who can lead the board, community and the system. They have to have experience on the ground as well as in the bureaucracy. The down town group has got to change or be changed and it will probably work better to replace them. All the teachers can't be fired so a support system has to be established to teach them how to teach and in many cases their subject matter. Teacher recruitment has to extend beyond ASU and retention has to be based on achivement in class room as well as attainment of degrees from accredited institutions. Resources from Universities like UGA school of education must be tapped to organize education and teaching methodology. There are plenty of federal grants that can help with this and the cost to local taxpayers would be minimal. This school system can be turned around and it can be accomplished in much less than 10 years, probably 5 or 6 but it will take grit and determination and a board not seeking to turn over the check book to an incestuous nest of corrupt rogues rather wanting to provide the children with a good education. But make no mistake this will not be a miracle but hard work and dedication.

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