Note: This is the list. Make what you want of it. These kinds of things are fun to do. Give me a few days, and I will provide you with my rationale for putting these people on these lists. Many of whom I helped to get elected through the years are on both lists. Many with whom I have agreed whole-heartedly and many with whom I decidedly disagreed on several matters are on both lists. I tried to be objective. As a human, this is a difficult task, I know. I have personally interacted with all of the people on these lists, agreeing with them many times and disagreeing and coming to blows on a few occasions. Ha! But, in a few days, I will put “meat on the bones,” so to speak.
Worst Clayton County School Board Members of Last 30 Years!
1 – Ericka Davis
I hear that Ericka Davis is intending to run for the school board in Clayton County again. Wow. Just what Clayco needs. A school board member who is the only person who was on the school board in Clayton County when SACS came marching in in 2003 and 2007. Wait! Is this a coincidence? Ha! Could it be that Ericka (and her cohort on the school board Rod Johnson) are the very ones who called upon Mark Elgart and SACS to come to Clayco and rescue them? They were, as Chairperson and Vice Chairperson, losing power. It wasn’t because they were concerned with micromanaging. Heck, they were hands down the worst and most egregious micromanagers on the school board. Yes, Rod, Ericka’s flunkie on the school board, actually wrote to Mark Elgart, asking for a SACS investigation. Wow. Thanks, Ericka, Rod, and Eldrin. Help Clayton County lose millions, if not billions, in property values and infrastructure, will you? SACS’s “investigation” was no investigation at all. SACS ignored the mounds and mounds of evidence against Ericka Davis and Rod Johnson (their egregious and flagrant micromanaging of the system, etc.) and just went on a witch hunt. On February 15, 2008, the very day that SACS’s so-called “Report” came out, school board member Norreese Haynes called it what it was, “a sham and a farce.” Oh, so this strategy of using Mark Elgart and SACS to scare Mr. Haynes wasn’t working, was it? Something would have to be done about Mr. Haynes. He’s got a voice. We’ll have to shut him up. Ha!
Ericka Davis is a political control freak. I guess that she just can’t stand sitting on the sidelines. A couple of years ago, there was talk about Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell appointing his friend Ericka to a county board, but there was a lot of howling in the community. So, this never took place. Now, she apparently wants to come back. Let’s see if she will contact her apparent buddy Mark Elgart for the third time…if she is not getting her way. (I am assuming that Ericka was one of the persons who contacted Mark Elgart in 2003 as well as 2007. I believe that even Eldrin Bell was in those meetings too.)
They couldn’t handle Norreese Haynes. So, they had to trump up false charges about him living outside his district…even though the Secretary of State’s Office had already done a thorough investigation and found “no evidence” that Mr. Haynes lived outside his district. The Secretary of State issued two detailed reports on this matter. But, this did not keep Ericka from leading the charge for the school board to vote Norreese Haynes off the board, in a split decision. Mr. Haynes to this day has never been given his “judicial review” as required by the Georgia law before anyone can be removed from an elected position. Judge Deborah Benefield, a real hoot of a judge in Clayton County, refused to hear the case. What cowardice on the part of Miss-Debbie-Goodie-Two-Shoes-But-Mean As-A-Hornet-Benefield.
Back to Norreese Haynes: In his 14 months on the school board, he exposed the notorious land deal, and Mark Belcher of WSB TV2 covered the story two nights on TV with Mr. Haynes. Mr. Haynes discovered that Barbara Pulliam, the superintendent, had not even signed the land contract. Now who was selling that awful piece of land to the school systems for an exorbitant price? Why, it was apparently a friend of Eldrin Bell. We think that this “friend” even held a big fundraiser for ole Eldrin when he ran for re-election. Mr. Haynes turned down Bill O’Reilly’s The Factor on the FOX National News as well as four local television stations in one day, trying to be a good team player. No good deed goes unpunished, as the saying goes.
Norreese Haynes also discovered the Contract Switheroo with the lawyer (who, by the way, wanted to be called “the school board lawyer” as well as be an employee under the superintendent but Mr. Haynes had to inform him that this didn’t work under the Georgia School Law statutes). Apparently, the contract which had been shown to the school board and approved by the school board was not the same contract that Chairperson Ericka Davis and the lawyer signed. It had been materially changed for the benefit of the lawyer, and apparently Ericka Davis and/or the lawyer changed the contract without consent of the school board. But, darn it, having Mr. Haynes on the school board is very inconvenient. He catches such hanky-panky deals and exposes them!
Mr. Haynes created and pushed for The Teacher’s Bill of Rights. He was able to get 100% of the nine school board members to vote for this action, and the passage of this policy gained national media attention. Perhaps too much attention to suit Chairperson Ericka Davis. Mr. Haynes also led the assault on the dreaded Kaplan Plan which teachers tended to despise in Clayton County. It was, as I understand it, one of those sickening cookie-cutter curricula and pedagogical plans. You know the kind…the kind that puts teachers in proverbial straight-jackets. The school board voted to get rid of this set of manacles and free up the teachers.
Mr. Haynes also spoke out loudly and forcefully about “order being the first law of the Universe,” and he publically called for the removal of “the thugs” from the school system. Mr. Haynes actually kept using the term “the thugs.” This was resonating both with the teachers (naturally) and with the community (not shocked but pleasantly pleased). Haynes was on the move. In fact, this same school board attorney apparently came up to Mr. Haynes in early 2008 and told Mr. Haynes that everyone “knows” that you’re going to be the next school board chairman. Something had to be done. This is when the Ericka Davis and Eldrin Bell subterfuge began in earnest. The details are reserved for another forum, but suffice it to say that Norreese Haynes was illegally removed from the Clayton County Board of Education.
Within a very short time, Ericka Davis and Eddie J. White resigned under apparent duress from the school board. (Rod Johnson, the Vice Chairperson, announced early that he was resigning, but he lingered on until the Governor removed him.) The rest of the Clayton County Board of Education members were removed by Governor Perdue. But, in light of the recent Georgia Supreme Court’s decision on the governor’s removal of school board members in Warren County, this action to remove the Clayton County School Board members might also have been illegal. The point that I am making is that this disgraced Clayton County Board of Education, in a split decision, voted to illegally remove one of its members, a member who fought like heck for the children, the parents, and the taxpayers of Clayton County. Within no time at all, all eight of the remaining Clayton County School Board member had either resigned under duress or had been involuntarily removed from the school board. Life has a way of being poetic. © JRAT.
2 – Rod Johnson
Rod Johnson, Ericka Davis’s flunky on the board, didn’t seem to have a clue about his role as a school board member, but apparently thought that he was a mini-superintendent.
What can we say about Rod Johnson? He was basically Ericka Davis’s political flunky on the school board. “Landslide Rod” made the run-off by a single vote in 2004. He went on defeat incumbent Barbara Wells. Immediately, it appeared that Rod thought he was a star whose time had come. Ha! Initially Eddie J. White was the Vice Chairman, but we think that Ericka really wanted Rod as her do-guy in this spot. Mr. White was a very respected retired principal and assistant superintendent, and he apparently was not comfortable in a mere fetch-it mode for Ericka. Mr. White stepped down as Vice Chair but remained on the school board. Rod was right in the middle of the massive micromanaging that was taking place while Barbara Pulliam was superintendent and later when Gloria Duncan took over.
The night that Barbara Pulliam stepped down (strongly nudged to resign, more accrately spoken), Rod was seen driving off in a car with the new superintendent, Gloria Duncan. Rod and his new “security person” for the school system were presumably escorting Dr. Duncan to her house, as if she had just be named President of the United States. This “security person” whom Rod unilaterally nabbed as the new security chief for the entire school system at the time was caught up in a major sexual scandal which allegedly took place while he was working with the Jonesboro Police Department. He apparently lost his job there, but ole Rod was going to take care of him. When all of this hit the media, immediatley he was jettisoned. We think that he was later exonerated of the accusations relative to his tenure at the Jonesboro Police Department. The point we are making here is that Rod arrogated himself to thinking that he alone could just name who would be in charge of the school system’s security. Keep in mind, that this is the same person who, having not served on the school board even two years, announced that he was taking on long-time State Senator Terrell Starr in his senate post. At the time, the late Senator Starr had been serving Clayton County over 35 years in the Georgia Senate.
The next morning after Gloria Duncan was named the “interim” superintendent the night before, Rod showed up at the cabinet meeting with his own personal organization chart in hand. Yes, he literally came to the new superintendent’s cabinet meeting and sat in on it. He also brought his own organizational chart for the entire school system. Someone called Norreese Haynes to tell him what Rod was doing, and Mr. Haynes got in his car and arrived at the Central Office in time to meet Rod Johnson after the cabinet meeting had adjourned. Mr. Haynes confronted Mr. Johnson, chastised him, and told him in no uncertain terms that his type of behavior could not be tolerated and could even jeopardize the school system’s accreditation with SACS. Keep this in mind. It was Haynes who was concerned about the accredidation with SACS. But, after Norreese Haynes could not be controlled by Rod Johnson and Ericka Davis, they tried to reverse the roles and make Norreese Haynes out as the problem. He was a problem O. K. He was a problem to them because he kept foiling their plans and their micromanaging of the school system.
Rod Johnson actually wrote a letter to Mark Elgart and SACS, inviting them to Clayton County to investigate Mr. Haynes. What chutzpah. Ha! Mr. Haynes actually had all of the goods on Ericka and Rod and even provided a detailed report to Mr. Elgart in about 12 pages of cold facts, with evidenciary documents (emails, etc.) attached. But, in virtually all of this massive amout of documentary evidence of micromanaging and other improprieties [see post on Ericka Davis above], Mark Elgart just “observed the passover.” He just blithely ignored the massive evidence against Ericka Davis and Rod Johnson but could only offer vagues and oblique innuendos against Norreese Haynes. Nothing specific at all. So, the heat was mounting on Rod and Ericka because Mr. Haynes immediately called SACS’s so-called “Report” as “a sham and a farce,” which is was. The attempt to use Mark Elgart and SACS to shut up Mr. Haynes was not working.
Rod Johnson, apparently under great duress, announced at the school board meeting that he was going to resign from the school board. He had made a very outlandish claim against the Metro Association of Classroom Educators (MACE), a claim that was 100% false and a claim that was actionable. I confronted Mr. Johnson at the school board meeting about his fantastical and incredible claim which had also been published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Ms. Davis tried to protect Mr. Johnson by calling me “out of order.” Ha! I am always “out of order” when the “order” is falsehood, pomposity, and scandalous libel.
Mr. Johnson announced that he was stepping down from the school board, but he never did. He just kept lingering on. Perhaps he liked the money. Ericka Davis, his mentor, meantime had already resigned under a great deal of apparent duress. Ole Rod lingered on. Finally, Governor Perdue removed him from the Clayton County Board of Education. He and Ericka Davis and Eldrin Bell did Clayton County major damage, costing the county millions upon millions in business sales tax and property taxes. The value of property plummeted and the image of the Clayton County became laughable because of the two SACS invasions, both of which were caused by actual school board members using SACS to try to shut up other members. The only person probably in the history of the United States who sat on two different school boards while SACS came in and issued actions against these school boards was…guess who? Yep, you got it…Ericka Davis. Her Barney Fife in the second episode was Rod Johnson. We hear that Mr. Johnson is now residing in Florida, but he goes down as the second worse school board member in Clayton County during the last 30 years.
3 – Linda Barrett
4 – Pam Adamson
5 – Pam Glanton
6 – Nedra Ware
7 – Connie Kitchens
8 – Ann Stacy
9 – Alieka Anderson
10 – Michelle Strong
11 – Rebecca Johnson
12 – Yolanda Everett/Carol Kellam*
13 – Charles Tucker
14 – LaToya Walker
15 – O. W. Cowen
Best Clayton County School Board Members of the Last 30 Years!
1 – Norreese Haynes
Norreese Haynes (L) with Margaret Spellings, former U. S. Secretary of Education, at a recent educational confab.
For the time being, see the entry on Ericka Davis, and you can read a lot about Norreese Haynes’s many accomplishement in just 14 months on the school board. Just think if he had served eight or 12 years on the Clayton County Board of Education. There surely would not be the mess that Clayco is in today. Edmond Heatley would not be here. He might not still be in Chino Valley, California, but with Mr. Haynes on the Clayton County Board of Education, Edmond Heatley would not be the superintendent in Clayton County. We don’t believe that Douglas (Doug) Hendrix would be head of Human Resources either. Mr. Haynes knows how to deal with people, but his problem was that he had become too popular and was showing up his Chair, Ericka Davis. Ericka Davis seems to always want the limelight shining on her. She likes to shine. This was Mr. Haynes’s problem. He lived in the right district. He was living in a house in Conley, Georgia right in the middle of his school district when the school board, in a split decision, illegally removed Mr. Haynes from his elected position. In two detailed reports from an investigation on this matter by the Secretary of State’s Office, Mr. Haynes was exonerated. Ericka Davis and Eldrin Bell were behind the entire sordid action to get rid of Mr. Haynes from the school board, despite the official findings of the Georgia Secretary of State who is charged with the responsibility to determine residency and other qualifications.
2 – Abner Moore
Give me a day or two, and I will do a report on Abner Moore’s tenure on the Clayton County Board of Education. Dr. Moore was never the doctrinaire school board member that the hard line old “wool hat” Democrats were or the new zealot Republicans were. He was able to work with both groups, although sometimes his middle of the road approach piqued both groups on various occasions. I first remember seeing him on the school board at the old 120 Smith Street in 1982 when he raised the ire of the feisty Chairwoman, Margaret Haynie. She was chewing him out in front of everyone, and he tried to defend himself, but he wasn’t getting help from any of his fellow ten board members. (There were eleven board members back then.) But, the sure-footed and facile Abner ended up chairing this same school board within just a few years, which he must have felt was poetic justice. But, enough for now…
3 – Gary Weldon
4 – Mike Barnes
Mike Barnes was first elected to the Clayton County Board of Education in 1990. He won re-election in 1994. In 1998, Mike ran for the Georgia House of Representatives and won. He served the voters for eight years in the General Assembly and retired from elective politics.
More on Mike Barnes to come.
5 – Margaret Haynie
6 – Jack Foster
7 – Jessie Goree
8 – Paul Downs
9 – Lawrence Dailey
10 – Linda Crummy
11 – Lee Moore
12 – Valencia Seay
13 – Mark Armstrong
14 – Andrea Callaway
15 – Lindy Krebs