DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — The DeKalb County Board of Education voted at a Nov. 11 special called meeting to approve a separation agreement with Superintendent Stephen Green effective immediately.
This summer, Green announced he would not seek an extension to his contract which was set to end June 2020. Some board members said they approved an immediate separation to avoid a lame duck period.
Ramona Tyson was named interim superintendent as the Board of Education continues to search for a new leader.
Tyson brings 32 years of total service to the DeKalb County School District, serving as a classroom teacher, administrator, deputy chief superintendent, interim superintendent, chief of staff to three superintendents and chief administrator to the board.
Board Member Stan Jester, who represents Dunwoody, said he looks forward to working with Tyson.
“The one thing I most appreciate about Ms. Tyson and her career is her courage to make difficult decisions,” Jester said. “She’s had a lot of pressure to do what’s popular, and when it’s tough, she makes the tough decisions.”
Tyson has announced she will retire on June 30, 2020, and the school district is set to find a new superintendent by then. School Board Chair Michael Erwin said the separation agreement will not affect the timeline of the superintendent search.
“We appreciate Dr. Green for his service to the county and wish him the best in his future endeavors,” Erwin said. “With Dr. Green’s immediate departure, we have the utmost confidence in Ms. Tyson serving as the interim superintendent.”
The vote to approve the separation agreement was 6-1, with Board Member Allyson Gevertz opposed. She said the move sends a message to potential superintendent candidates that the School Board does not honor its commitments.
“I don’t think it will have a positive impact on our students,” she said. “It will be disruptive. I don’t see the benefit of introducing instability when it’s not necessary. It is fiscally irresponsible. When we’re in the midst of a hiring freeze, we should not be paying two people for the same job.”
Board Member Vickie Turner said the move was necessary to avoid a “dormant stage.”
“I think it’s a mutually beneficial thing,” Turner said. “What we don’t want is a lame duck year. We have progress to make. I think we’ve made some good progress, but it’s time to go to the next level.”
Green announced that he would not seek a contract extension in May but said at that time he intended to continue serving through June 30, 2020. Green attributed his departure to personal reasons after consideration with his family.
Green became district superintendent and CEO in July 2015. During Green’s tenure, the district regained full accreditation and received a five-year renewal in 2017 from AdvancED. The district also saw graduation rates and participation in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate go up.
Before his appointment, Green was superintendent of the Kansas City Public Schools. He also served as superintendent of Community School District 28 and as an instructional superintendent for Region 3 for the New York City Board of Education.
The nationwide search for a new superintendent is being conducted by BWP & Associates, which includes engaging the district community to determine needs and wants, recruiting candidates, performing assessments on potential successors and selecting candidates.
Those interested in contributing to the search may complete the survey in any one of 16 available languages, either online at dekalbschoolsga.org/superintendent-search/2019-2020 or via a hard copy at their local school.