School superintendent selection a critical job

On Wednesday, the closing of a chapter of the Dougherty County School System began.

Superintendent Joshua Murfree and a majority of the Dougherty County Board of Education agreed to a mutual employment agreement that will result in the superintendent leaving the job on Dec. 18, the day before school breaks for the Christmas holidays. When school resumes in the new year, there will be another individual in charge of the school district, likely on an interim basis.

Murfree took over the job on June 8, 2010, and his administration has had its share of controversies, not the least of which was the flawed selection process that the School Board used to make the selection. By ignoring Sunshine Laws and pushing through a selection in violation of its own expressed process, the board placed Murfree in a difficult situation. After his appointment, Murfree did little to improve the situation.

While we have been less than impressed with Murfree’s performance on the job, the problem was not who was selected in 2010, but how the superintendent was selected. Rather than giving all the candidates full consideration and making a well-thought-out decision, the board majority cut short the process.

We hope the School Board will take a more disciplined and considered approach in choosing its next school chief.

There are about 16,000 students in the school district who are depending on capable leadership to help them get off on the right foot after high school. They need someone at the helm who can focus on them, someone who will make sure that funds are going to the right places and that the students are getting the most benefit possible from the education money being spent. The School Board needs a high-quality administrator who will make necessary changes and facilitate community support, one who is capable of getting the system beyond controversies such as Title I spending and lunch programs that distract from the job of education.

Choosing a new superintendent is a critical job for the board members. We hope they will take this task seriously, find quality candidates and provide the people of Dougherty County with an opportunity to meet at least the top three choices at community forums. Education is all about knowledge, and the more knowledge the residents of Dougherty County have about the next superintendent before a final choice is made, the better.

We all have a stake in this — students, their parents and guardians, businesses that will hire those students in the future, and the taxpayers who fund their education. Dougherty needs a healer and a leader and a School Board that will find that individual.


FryarTuk 3 years ago

Some of your editorial statements just are incomprehensible but nevertheless we are where we are. I'll settle for #34 being gone. As for consideration of future applicants, I believe it is absolutely critical that a superintendent be capable of introducing or finding appropriate instructional models, defining professional skills and establishing teacher support systems to train the numerous inadequately trained educators. Finally the superintendent will need the capacity and steele to teach the board how to be a board. How to provide oversight, support, facilitate unity and community reinforcement. In other words teach them how to have some kahunas.


waltspecht 3 years ago

The State needs to establish and enforce standards for School Boards. About like a Sheriff.There is a stt course of training required of a Sheriff, should be the same for any elected post. The basic problem with most elected Officials is they really don't know what they are supposed to be doing. They think they know, and follow their own agenda. It takes years for them to actually figure out how best to accomplish their job, and in the mean time the system suffers. Some never learn. Many remain a JOKE for their entire term or terms. One has but to look at DCSS to see a prime example of this. So how will they evaluate someone for a position they have no idea of the total requirements are, let alone what knowledge they should have. In otherwords, they can easily be BS'ed, and never even know.


Black_Falcon 3 years ago

Walt I agree with you to a point. I think with any position, elected or otherwise, there should be a clear cut description of its roles and responsibilities. However, having said that, school board members are elected by the people, many of whom lack the knowledge of how a fully functional and capable school board should operate. The problem with the DCSS school board lies with an uninformed and/or uncaring electorate. When and until the electorate of Dougherty County start holding elected officials accountable (at the ballot box) there will continue to exist high levels of disfuctionality. I point to Clayton County, DeKalb County and City of Atlanta as examples.


Terry.Lewis 3 years ago

Have you ever considered that some BOE members accurately reflect their constituency?


chinaberry25 3 years ago

You are talking to the wrong folks. Address DCSS board.


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