By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD
Mr. “CEO” of Gwinnett Public Schools has brought Superintendent Hubris to another level. More arrogant, in my opinion, than the legendary superintendents of the past, Ernest Stroud of Clayton County and Jim Cherry of DeKalb County, Wilbanks might have Gwinnett District Attorney Danny Porter to answer to over the high prices paid to developers for some now famous land deals.
There is a fellow who works in some area dealing with the ocean (not “oceanographer” but a real-high powered name) at the University of Maryland who now has the enviable assignment of coming up with the Top Ten Beaches in the world each year. It started off as just his “opinion,” but now he and his team apply scientific criteria to this salty matter. He has earned the moniker of “Dr. Beach.” For what it is worth, my number one beach is Copacabana. Not the more trendy Ipanema but Copa. Yes, Copacabana over Maui and Waikiki. Now, let’s get this straight from the beginning, my list of unpopular and/or goof ball school administrators and school board members is simply my opinion…based on my observations from contact and experience with these people or from reading the accounts in the print and electronic media, blogs, testimonies and feedback from others who have had dealing with these people, or just looking at search engine phrases on my personal blog. So, in my opinion, here they are, in descending order…
1. Edmond Heatley, Superintendent of Clayton County. This selection may surprise you, but this Chino Valley, California “reject” came to a county where employees had been accustomed to better treatment, and the passion against this man appears to be very intense.
2. Beverly Hall, erstwhile Superintendent of Atlanta. She may be in Maui now but her memory will live on in infamy for decades to come…not just for the systematic cheating but for the brusque and inaccessible style of leadership.
3. Millicent Few, erstwhile Chief of Human Resources of Atlanta. She appeared to be one of Beverly Hall‘s Chief Hench Ladies who was even willing to destroy public documents than to have her Boss Lady, Beverly Hall, looking bad.
4. Kathy Augustine, Superintendent on mandated leave in DeSoto, Texas. It appears that Beverly Hall‘s number one Hench Lady in the Atlanta Public Schools is finding out that the Lone Star State is not all about yellow roses.
5. Morcease Beasley, Chief of Instruction in DeKalb and apparent acolyte of former DeKalb, Birmingham, and Port Arthur, Texas superintendent, Johnny Brown. This rather frenetic administrator has been in Birmingham, DeKalb, Port Arthur, Texas, and back again in DeKalb…all the while inordinately promoting himself on his personal website as some preacher and motivational speaker as well as dissertation-writing “helper” but he does not appear to want to respond to bloggers about the subject or completion date of his own dissertation at Birmingham‘s Samford University.
6. Zeporah Roberts, recently defeated school board member in DeKalb. Ms. Roberts earned much of her infamy because she apparently threatened to slug a reporter from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution but has been in the public’s eye most recently by helping to compromise the DeKalb Superintendent Search process by revealing information in a recent rant at a school board meeting which should only be known to the board members themselves…perhaps because she felt threatened by the Board‘s inclination to hire someone who might topple the Kingdom of Nepotism once and for all.
7. LaChandra D. Butler Burks, Atlanta School Board member. Ms. Butler Burks was Chair of the Board until the Feisty Five took over a few months ago and were determined not to swallow Beverly Hall‘s Kool-Aid without first examining its content, especially when it came to the reality of the widespread systematic cheating on the standardized tests, a reality to which Ms. Butler Burks apparently was unwilling to accept but was willing to bask in the glow of being connected to her boss, Mayor Kasim Reed, and her apparent mentor, Beverly Hall.
8. Michael Hinojosa, new Superintendent of Cobb. This Mexican-born school administrator, the quintessential gypsy superintendent, apparently left the Dallas Independent School System holding a messy financial bag, but theTexans appear to gladly hold this bag to be rid of this song-and-dance superintendent, a supe who very likely will have the teachers bellowing “Remember Dallas!” up and down Cobb Parkway!
9. Alvin Wilbanks, “CEO” of the Gwinnett School System. Yes this “CEO” Mister (sorry, no doctorate here) of Georgia‘s largest school system started off as a shop teacher in DeKalb County and has been ruling Gwinnett with an iron fist, an iron fist which routinely violates Georgia’s Laws relating to schools (Complaints Law and the mandate to report serious disciplinary offenses to the State) and apparently recommends to the school board to buy land from developers which is overpriced in the millions.
10. Pam Adamson, Chair of Clayton County School Board. This erstwhile Central Office Worker under the very unpopular superintendent, Joe Hairston, apparently got miffed when her wings were clipped by the new superintendent, Dan Colwell, and she left Clayton (but not before writing a blistering letter) and eventually secured a job at the Georgia Department of Education and later as the Headmistress at the now-defunct Mt. Zion Christian Academy before she made the biggest mistake of her professional career by leading the charge on the school board to hire Edmond Heatley as superintendent instead of former Assistant Superintendent of Clayton County and now Superintendent of the Year by both the Georgia School Superintendents Association (GSSA) and the Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA), Dr. Samuel T. (Sam) King of Rockdale County.