A rare show of unison on a delicate subject — the assignments of top administrators to Dougherty County School System schools for the coming school year — could be a sign that the School Board has turned the corner, moving in a direction in which the students are the first consideration.
We sincerely hope that is the case.
After several years of upheaval on issues from testing and performance to finances and hiring practices, it would be a wonderful change for the children and youth, our greatest resource and hope for the future, to come under consideration first.
On Tuesday night, the School Board agreed to personnel changes recommended by interim Superintendent Butch Mosely, who has lived up to his charge of shaking up the school system and remolding its structure into one that better serves the students. Mosely’s recommendation was to change the principalships at a dozen schools, including three of the county’s four high schools.
In the not-so-distant past, this would have resulted in a razor-thin margin on the decision amid political posturing and charges of unfairness. That was not the case Tuesday night. The seven School Board members unanimously accepted the recommendations, saying they were in the best interests of the students.
“I think this will be a positive change for our school system in that we will have people in administrative positions with new ideas and focus,” Board Chair Carol Tharin remarked. “It shows the the system is headed in the right direction and that our employees will be held accountable.”
Board Vice Chair James Bush concurred. “There are times we’ve all made bad decisions, and this board is no different in that regard. Now we have a chance to clean things up,” he said. “This is all about making sure our kids can read, write and talk, and the final measurement is in performance. The 7-0 vote is indicative of the board’s unanimity on this issue.”
Indeed, for too long friendships, politics and power have eclipsed the purpose of the Dougherty School System — to give the 16,000 young Dougherty Countians who attend the public schools quality educations that will prepare them for college, work and life in general.
We have been among the School Board’s harshest critics when it has acted in a way that we believed was contrary to that noble goal. It’s only fair that when the board does the right thing — as it did Tuesday — that we recognize the action and applaud it.
The school system is in a deep hole, there’s no way around that fact. But there are signs that those in charge — both appointed and elected — are attempting to pull the system out of that hole and return it to the high ground it once occupied.
It won’t happen overnight, in a week or even over months. But if our School Board officials and administrators continue this new direction, the Dougherty County School System can again be a point of pride for the community, one dedicated to growing young minds into the leadership of tomorrow.
The decisions school officials make for these students will to a large degree determine the course of our community in the future. It is a tremendous responsibility, one that can only be met if the board and appointed leadership continue to travel in unity on this promising pathway.