On Monday August 29th, DeKalb School Board members will take what will most likely be a favorable vote on the employment contract for superintendent finalist Dr. Cheryl Atkinson. Parent, teachers and others got a chance to hear directly from Atkinson during the Saturday meet and greet held at the County’s Administrative Complex in Tucker, GA. Cheryl Atkinson assured parents that she has a plan for success in DeKalb County Schools. Dr. Atkinson shared her vision with more than 100 people at this event and answered parent’s questions.
Most of the parents attending Saturday’s meeting walked away with confidence in Dr. Atkinson’s ability to lead. Parents were very pleased to hear that Atkinson says her primary focus will be student success and not adult politics. The long time educator says she has no problems with removing any personnel who is not performing. Atkinson made it very clear that her priority will be improving students’ academic achievement. She says she wants to see students score better on test with better test preparation, but not by “teaching the test”.
Atkinson told the crowd that she will not operate from behind a desk in the central office, but will actually go into schools on regular bases in order to know what’s really going on in the district. Atkinson also promised parents accessibility, communication and transparency as keys to her management goals.
Members of the parent organization DeKalb School Watch Blog say they are glad to hear that Atkinson has a tough management plan. However, they say they will be watching closely to see that plan in action.
Cheryl Atkinson has not officially resigned from her present superintendent position with the Lorain City School District in Lorain, Ohio. That district has faced its share of academic challenges. But numbers just released for the 2010-2011 school year shows Lorain City Schools has now moved from “Academic Watch” to “Continuous Improvement” status. There has also been concern among parents that because the Lorain City School System has nearly 8,000 students, compared to DeKalb’s nearly 10,000 students, Atkinson is not prepared to run the DeKalb system. But in response, Atkinson points out that her experience includes both small and large school districts. She cites her work in the more than 125,000 student district of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the large Kansas City School District.
In an earlier interview, Atkinson also told CBS Atlanta News, “Give me an opportunity, and I won’t let you down.”
Dr. Cheryl Atkinson’s compensation package includes a yearly salary of $275,000, moving expensive and 30 days paid vacation. If her contract is approved on Monday, Dr. Cheryl Atkinson will officially take office in October as the next DeKalb County School Superintendent.