April 17, 2008

Dey quits RUSD superintendent search, won't vote
Update: REA endorses; Van Atta snaps at Dey

UPDATE, 4/17, 4 p.m.: First, the Racine Education Association and the Racine Educational Assistants Association have endorsed one of Unified's three finalists: Barbara Moore Pulliam, a professor now and the former superintendent in Jonesboro, GA, a suburban Atlanta district with 52,400 students. Pete Knotek, REA president, wrote the board that Pulliam "demonstrated in her interview that she has the skills to reach out to the community, both inside the district and out, about how to move the district forward.”

Whether that endorsement is the kiss of death remains to be seen; it's likely to be so.
In any case, after the public forum Monday night, Dr. Carlinda Purcell, former superintendent of Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery, AL, was the consensus choice of those I spoke to, including at least one school board member.

Second, shortly after 7 p.m., School Board member Bill Van Atta responded via e-mail to Brian Dey's 3 p.m. statement (below). We're not sure whether Van Atta meant his response to go to everyone Dey sent his withdrawal statement to -- media and other RUSD members -- but it did. Here's Van Atta's note:

The lack of integrity demonstrated by this note is simply breathtaking!
Dey's objections to the current board's making the superintendent decision have been known for some while. Dey says he was willing to go along with the current board's picking the new superintendent back in December and January, "when it appeared we could get this wrapped up by April. But when we saw that the board was not meeting deadlines, that was the point that I and Carlsen should have bowed out. There's no rush, (Interim Supt. Jack) Parker is willing to stay through August.

"But now we're talking about an indecisive board trying to rush a decision."

FURTHER UPDATE, 4/18/08, 5:21 a.m.: Dey responded to Van Atta's note with this:
While I owe you no explanation, I do owe the public that elected me. Hence, the public notice of my withdrawal. This Board has worried more about its image with staff, than the public it represents. It's about time someone publicly scrutinizes the actions of this Board and its ineptness. There is a clear difference between you and I. You owe your allegiances to the special interests that put you there, i.e. RAMAC, Johnsons. I owe mine to the general public.
ORIGINAL POST: Brian Dey, a member of the Racine Unified School Board since 2005, did not run for re-election this year (choosing instead to run for the County Board, a race he lost). Nonetheless, until the new board members are sworn in on April 28, he is still a member of the board, and its superintendent search committee.

Until today. Here's the statement Dey released this afternoon:

Effective immediately, I will be officially withdrawing my name from the Search Committee for the Superintendent of the Racine Unified School District. To be clear, I did not attend past meetings, including the first interviews with the eight finalists, nor was I involved with the selection of the three finalists. I have previously discussed with Board President Tony Baumgardt that I felt the process, as it was proceeding should have the newly elected Board members involvement as they would be the ones ultimately working with the new Superintendent. I was unable to attend last night's meeting and discussed with Tony, following adjournment, the events that took place. (The Board released this statement after that meeting.)

I agreed that more needed to be done. However, comments that were made with regards to how the Board came to this decision troubled me. Certain criteria have risen to the top of qualifications, namely "collaboration." While in part I would agree, but total collaboration may not be practical in achieving the communities’ desire for raising academic achievement, and I fear a candidate that for all other reasons would make an excellent Superintendent, may be discarded without merit.

I also fear that the Board may fall back to one of the remaining two, and that is concerning as well. In part, this may be related to comments made by a few of the stakeholders, which were very influential in the hiring of Dr. Thomas Hicks.

To conclude, it is my belief that the new members (should) be a part of this process, and that the exiting Board members stay out of the way. I will continue to follow the events leading up to the hire as a private citizen and will abstain my vote should a vote arise on this matter prior to my departure.

Two other board members did not run for re-election in April. One of them, Randy Bangs, resigned last fall, and was replaced by Melvin Hargrove. Hargrove won election to a full term on April 1 and is participating in the superintendent search. The other departing member is Russ Carlsen, who is also serving on the selection panel. The two new board members who will take office April 28, but until then have no vote in the superintendent search are Pamela Handrow and Dennis Wiser. Both were given the opportunity to meet with the three finalists.

Meanwhile, the board is checking references of its preferred candidate, doing the kind of background checks and due diligence that one would have expected its search firm to have already done for its $37,000 in fees and expenses. Or: as the Journal Times graphically described the process...


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


    dustin - remove please.

  3. One of the things I noticed about Dey is that he is a "hot head" and while his intentions are good and had some good ideas, his posturing, explosiveness really detract from anything good to come out of his ideas.

  4. He is not a hot head....he has the courage to stand up for his convictions and against the other mouth breathin forward leanin morons on the school board

  5. Dear other Anonymous,
    HIs actions, time and time again just scream hothead. While he may have had good ideas and such and so forth, they are constantly lost in his inability to cope.

  6. The taxpayers might want to “google” …. “Clayton County School Accreditation” The system Pulliam left in turmoil.