A Question For Dr. John Trotter: What Do You Think About Clayton’s New Superintendent?

What is there on which to comment?  The school board now has what it wanted…a man from California…just as Ericka Davis was insistent in 2004 on going all the way up to Minnesota to bring in Pulliam.  Dr. Sam King, Educator of the Year in Georgia (as chosen by fellow superintendents on two occasions), a known quantity in Clayton County and currently doing a super job by all accounts as superintendent in Rockdale County, was available, but the school board, never known for its wisdom, chose to bring in a person, sight unseen, with two years of experience in the classroom.  Dr. Sam King is well-known for making discipline a top priority in a school system.  I remember him when he was an assistant principal at Oliver Elementary School, principal at Forest Park Middle School, and as he actually worked his way up to Assistant Superintendent before Rockdale County realized that he was a “steal” and offered him the supetintendency about five years ago.  He is known
throughout Georgia as truly one of the brightest and hardest-working superintendents around.  But, if the Clayton County School Board, chooses to go with Sergeant Edmund Heatley, then so be it.  We will see where the school system ends up under his leadership.  At MACE, we predicted that the school board would be sorry that it ever had hired Pulliam.  In fact, the night that the school board voted on her contract, MACE folk were picketing the school board.  One sign said:  “You’re gonna be sorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry.”  Within three years, the same Ericka Davis was working diligently to get rid of Pulliam. 

   Both Dr. Sam King and Dr. Valya Lee would have been better superintendents for Clayton County than Sergeant Edmond Heatley.  But, Clayton County has, through the years, been a veritable graveyard for superintendents, and the school board probably did both of these good educators a favor by not selecting them.  I cannot remember a single superintendent who ever left the Clayton County School System simply because they wanted to retire.  I personally did not know Ed Edmonds, but I knew his nextdoor heighbors and his personal secretary.  I am told that the legislature changed the appointed/elected nature of the  superintendency, depending on Mr. Edmonds’s popularity at the time.  He preceded Mr. Stroud.  I have personally known and interacted with the following Clayton County superintendents:  Ernest Stroud, Joe Lovin, Bob Livingston, Joe Hairston, Dan Colwell, Bill Chavis, Barbara Pulliam, Gloria Duncan, and Valya Lee.  Mr. Stroud is the only one of these people who officially “retired,” but I am
sure that he saw the handwriting on the wall, so to speak.  Mr. Stroud would probably been defeated if he chose to run again in 1986.  The County was simply ready for a change.  His apparent heir, Pete McQueen, was beaten in this race by Joe Lovin, 54% to 46%.

   I wish Dr. Heatley the best.  Right now, Clayton County is dead last in the cellar on SAT and CRCT scores.  The discipline has become atrocious through the years.  About Edmond Heatley:  I have never met the gentleman nor have I spoken to him on the phone.  This, I am sure, is what qaulified him the most in the eyes of some school board members.  (I was told by a sitting school board member in 2003 that the school board then was going “all over the country,” trying to find someone whom I did not know.)  Dr. Heatley, I will not call upon you — unless your administration violates the law (e.g., refuses to follow the grievance law, OCGA 20-2-289.5 et seq., the duty-free lunch law for elementary school teachers, OCGA 20-2-218, etc.).  I have bigger eggs to fry.

   Clayton County has become, as we say in the MACE Office, the “New Atlanta.”  Dr. Heatley, you are encountering the same issues that confronted the old Atlanta, particularly in the 1970s and 1980s.  Dr. Heatley, perhaps you will be successful in your endeavors.  But, if you simply try to sweep the disciplinary problems under the proverbial rug, your stint in Clayton County will probably be somewhat truncated.  Superintendents do not retire or leave graciously in Clayton County.

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6 Responses to A Question For Dr. John Trotter: What Do You Think About Clayton’s New Superintendent?

  1. It's all MACE's fault? Talk about killing the messenger! says:

    First there was the out of town snake oil huckster, Barbara Pulliam. And Dr. Trotter was the first to warn Clayton about it. And sure enough, Pulliam tried to pull off the the PPP, the Pulliam Patronage Plan, where she tried to sneak by close to one million dollars in administrator positions, positions she couldn’t even provide job descriptions for!

    Thank God Norreese Haynes was on the board at the time to help put a stop to that.

    Then there was John “The Diploma Shredder” Thompson whose ego was so out of control he tried to claim that if a diploma didn’t have his name on it, it wasn’t a valid diploma. Dr. Trotter tried to warn the citizens about him as well, but they didn’t listen. And they paid through the nose, for not listening, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars for the debacle that was Thompson.

    Now we have “The Marine” Edward Heatley. Of course one would think “The Marine” would understand the importance of supporting teachers in matters of discipline, but he has yet to offer a single policy that would support teachers in that regard. For that matter, neither have the current and former teachers who make up the “new and improved” board addressed the topic. Funny what some of these teachers will say before they become board members that they won’t say now that they have some perceived power.

    He has said, however, that he has a “world vision” for Clayton schools. Impressive.

    I’m sure that’ll reassure the teachers when students continually disrupt their classes, only to have administrators return them, time and time again.

    If that doesn’t reassure them, they can read reports from Heatley’s last district, where a common opinion was that Heatley’s tenure was a “disaster”.

    An out of town snake oil salesman who tried to implement her own patronage plan. A ego-maniacal out of town snake oil salesman who demanded that he have the right to violate board policy at whim. Yet another out of town “savior” whose last term was widely considered a “disaster”. And who does the uninformed populace continually blame for the problem? Why John Trotter of course.

    Of course when Dr. Trotter challenged any and all comers in ClayCo to put their money where their mouth was, and engage him in a formal debate, about what’s REALLY wrong with CCPS, a grand total of zero rose to meet the challenge.

    I would suggest these bashers go teach in one of the tougher classrooms in ClayCo, but I don’t want to subject the students to the sight of a Trotter basher, hiding under the teacher’s desk in a puddle of his own urine, sobbing uncontrollably “It really isn’t Dr. Trotter; it really IS the discipline!”

  2. Chino Teacher says:

    10 warnings regarding Dr. Heatley:

    1. don’t be fooled by his initial “friendliness”-he is ruthless and capable of turning on anyone anytime
    2. his fear-based management “style” (if one can call it that) is based on pathologically narcissistic desires for more and more power and money
    3. his promises far outstrip his abilities and experience-he will ask for incentives and then work others more capable to death so that he will be rewarded
    4. he mistrusts, and indeed, disdains teachers and will fill his administration with like-minded people, most of whom have taught very little or not at all
    5. he likes to play games with people’s lives from afar so as not to get his hands dirty (he was a sniper, after all)
    6. he will run his principals ragged, treating them like “minions” simply for the pleasure of seeing them scramble in fear and hope of promotion
    7. he will lie to anyone, including the board, to get his way
    8. keep a close eye on the purse strings-do not fail to check his numbers
    9. he cares not a whit for students

  3. Chino Teacher says:

    10. he will create a top-heavy administration with inflated salaries

  4. Concerned says:

    It’s becoming very clear that this new superintendent has very little knowledge of how elementary school systems are operated. I find out now, and it was confirmed by your site and other links including his job history, that he only has TWO years of classroom experience. Now he has recommended to rid kindergarten classes of paraeducators and rid media centers of media assistants/media secretaries. If this happens, media programs will be ineffective, if not non-existent. This man has no idea the chaos he will create within a school system that is already holding on by the skin of its teeth. How in the world did the board choose such an educationallyexperienced-challenged candidate?

  5. Ibn says:

    We’re in trouble…….

  6. Lori Ashford-Stringer says:

    Clayton County’s new superintendent! Wow! Lord help him! He really needs to stand up for classroom teachers and STOP allowing students to rule our schools before all of his GOOD teachers’ get burned out & leave.

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