In an 11 a.m. press conference today, Deal was asked about comments from SACS, the accreditation agency.
SACS released this statement at noon:
“Governor Deal has moved according to the law in replacing the suspended DeKalb County Board of Education members. The executive branch does not have a choice in whether or not to follow a law as written,” said Mark A. Elgart, Ed.D., President and CEO of AdvancED, the parent organization for the K-12 division of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
During testimony presented to the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus on Tuesday, Elgart offered a detailed summary of the accreditation process, a brief overview of SACS history and answered questions from legislators. Elgart received several questions regarding the timing and particulars of Georgia Senate Bill 84, signed into law in 2011, which uses accredited probation status as a trigger for a hearing by the state board of education. That hearing may result in a state board recommendation to the governor for the suspension or removal of the school board in question within 30 days.
“The process should allow time for improvement to occur over six months to one year, just as our accreditation process permits,” Elgart said. “Additionally, we support the governor’s view that if accreditation is used as a trigger for state intervention, that it should be for much more than just governance. Student achievement is the most critical aspect of our accreditation work and the focus of all schools.”
The SACS report of December 2012 remains a guiding document for required improvements in DeKalb County School District. Elgart further stated, “We remain committed to working with the board of education and Superintendent [Michael] Thurmond to help the school system make the necessary improvements for the benefit of the 98,000 students of DeKalb County.”
The new school board members are John Coleman, Michael Erwin, David Campbell, Joyce Morley, Karen Carter and Thaddeus Mayfield.
They were sworn in at 1 p.m. today
Deal thanked the nominating panel.
“I tasked the nominating panel with finding excellent board members who will put the school system back on track toward full accreditation, and the panel performed a Herculean task with a quick turnaround so that the board could get back to work on behalf of the county’s students as soon as possible,” Deal said. “We had many outstanding community leaders offer themselves for service, and the high caliber of the candidates reflects well on the county. I faced an enviable problem: It was difficult to choose between so many great applicants. I truly believe that the board members will do an incredible job for DeKalb County. The volunteers who served on the nominating panel and as my liaisons to the county school leaders have given of themselves, and they have made a tremendous difference. I cannot thank them enough for their service.”
Acting on the recommendation of the state board of education, the governor suspended six members of the DeKalb school board In February. He then appointed a panel to nominate replacements and tapped Brad Bryant and Robert L. Brown to act as his liaisons to the DeKalb board and Thurmond. The nominating panel received a total of 403 applications and interviewed more than 60 applicants before narrowing the list to six finalists.
The bios of the new members of the DeKalb County school board are below:
Coleman is a strategic planning manager at Invesco. Previously, he held a variety of leadership roles at McKinsey & Company. He also serves on various nonprofit boards. Coleman has a master’s in Business Administration from Harvard and a master’s in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. He resides in Atlanta.
Erwin is a U.S. Navy veteran and has been a research assistant at Duke University Medical Center and the University of South Carolina. He has worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Services and is past chair of the NOAA fisheries committees on fish species and fish diseases in Maine and South Carolina. In 2008, he earned a Ph.D. in Biological Science from the University of South Carolina. He has been a member of the faculty at Georgia Gwinnett College since 2009 and teaches undergraduate students in biological science. He graduated from North Carolina Central University with a bachelor’s in Biology and a master’s in Biological Science. Erwin resides in Decatur.
Campbell is a senior manager with Georgia Power, where he supports the company's energy conservation efforts. He is a certified public accountant with managerial experience. Campbell received a degree in Business Administration from Albany State University. He is a former chair of Leadership DeKalb, a member of the DeKalb 100 Black Men and an active member of St. Phillips AME. He formerly served on the Stephenson High School Council and resides in Lithonia.
Morley is the chief executive officer of Morley and Associates and is a nationally known public speaker and trainer. She is a certified counselor, a trained mediator and serves on several local and national governance boards. Morley has a doctorate in Counseling, Family and Worklife from the University of Rochester. She received her specialist’s and master’s degrees in Counseling Education from the State University New York College at Brockport, and a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the SUNY College at Genesco. A Stone Mountain resident, Morley has lived in DeKalb County for more than 22 years.
Carter serves on the faculty of Georgia Perimeter College where she is chair of the Business and Social Science department. She received a bachelor’s degree in Speech Communications from Denison University and a law degree from Ohio State University. Carter has served as a classroom teacher and has held several senior administrative roles in the field of education. She is a graduate of Leadership DeKalb and is an active community volunteer and a PTSA member. Carter is a resident of the Lakeside Community.
Mayfield is a senior partner with FOCOM, Inc., a Georgia-based business development firm. He holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from Mercer University and received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Tougaloo College. He co-chaired the successful Friends of DeKalb Education SPLOST IV Campaign and is an active member of several business and civic organizations in the metropolitan area. Mayfield is a resident of Lithonia.