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DCSS Board takes steps in superintendent search

ALBANY — Dougherty County School Board Chairperson Carol Tharin has appointed a three person “point of contact” committee to lead the search for a permanent superintendent to replace interim super Butch Mosely.

Tharin named Milton “June Bug” Griffin, Lane Price and herself to the search committee during the Board’s mid-monthly meeting on Wednesday. During the Board’s previous meeting, member James Bush nominated Price to head the search committee, which she accepted. On Wednesday, however, Price said she had changed her mind and decided to “respectfully” decline the position.

It was at this point that Tharin reminded the Board that the chair alone had the power to name DCSS committee members, and asked Griffin and Price to join her on the point of contact committee. Price accepted, but added it was her desire that such an important decision be made by a committee of the whole. She acknowledged, however, that a smaller committee would be more nimble as committees of the whole were usually unwieldy.

The creation of the committee upset board member Darrel Ealum, who said he was ‘disappointed’ in Tharin’s decision.

“I think we should have gone with a committee of the whole,” Ealum said. “There are seven of us and we are a deliberative body and we are about to make the most important decision we’ll make this year. I just want everybody to pull together on this.”

Tharin later said the committee was not an effort to shut out any board members, but rather to streamline the process.

“The point of contact committee will set up time lines and provide guidance during the superintendent search.” Tharin said. “The board as a whole will go through the process of selecting candidates once all the applications are in.”

That still did not mollify Ealum.

“I wasn’t on the board during the last search for a superintendent, but the public perception was that the committee caused dissension on the board which resulted in the problems we had later,” Ealum said, referring to the hiring of former superintendent Joshua Murfree.

Prior to the discussion of the superintendent search, the board was updated on Title I progress by the Georgia Department of Education’s Asst. Superintendent for District Effectiveness Barbara Lunsford. She said the system has made progress since being placed on “High Risk” status by the Georgia Department of Education earlier this year.

“We have had meetings with Dr. Mosely to what has been accomplished since the district was placed on high risk status,” Lunsford said. “Our biggest concern is Title I money being spent on allowable expenses. Title I money can look enticing when funding is tight. We are pleased with the progress that has been made.

“Title I money is meant to help level the playing field for all students, and we will continue to work with the district toward this end.”

Lunsford then discussed the District’s three priority schools — Albany, Dougherty and Monroe high schools.

“Priority schools are among the lowest five percent of state schools in regard to student achievement,” said Lunsford. “The three schools have a real heavy lift ahead of them, they need something different. We will continue to concentrate on HR with (DCSS HR Director Farrell Young. Personnel is on everyone’s radar. It’s the biggest challenge facing these schools right now.”

In notable personnel decisions, the board voted 7-0 to approve Gloria Baker as the director of the system’s new College and Career Performance Learning Center and named former Dougherty Principal Ryan Gravitt as an assistant principal at the South Georgia Regional Achievement Center.

The next meeting of the Board is set for Nov. 4 at 6 p.m. at the system administration building.