Pro and con on seeking new superintendent within school district
by Don McKee
February 06, 2014 11:25 PM | 1764 views | 2 2 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Don McKee
Don McKee
There are strong feelings both pro and con about the suggestion here that the Cobb School Board should start its search for schools superintendent Michael Hinojosa’s successor within the district’s own educators. Responses to that from some of the readers:

John Silva: “I am in the mortgage and banking business, 20+ years in this area. What would happen to banks and lenders if they were to spend shareholders’ money the way the county spends its school money, specifically on this kind [of] salary package for Hinojosa/outsider? They would be out of business!......Wait...that did happen!”

Charles Reichert: “I’m with you. It almost seems counterproductive to hire someone outside the county school system. It’s not rocket science — it’s good management and personnel skills. Look at how successful Michael Thurmond has been in DeKalb.

Scott Chadwick: “Good, direct (but not mean) jabs at Hinojosa, and also the mention of the obvious —his successor should come from within the District. However, and in light of today’s revelations in the MDJ — let’s not involve either Shanahan or Huff in the process. Hopefully, both will be ‘seeking other opportunities’ or ‘spending more time with family’ within the next few days. Hiring from within would save us thousands of badly-needed dollars.”

On the other side, a reader writes: “As a life long Cobb resident who has observed the downward spiral of the CCSD, please, please do not hire from the CCSD central office. The corruption there started at least with Gen. Joe Redden. The central office posse has been groomed by Redden, Sanderson, & Hinojosa. The Board could hire a principal as the new superintendent, but do NOT hire anyone from the central office. STOP this ‘We can do anything that we want’ attitude, because we are at Glover St. Hinojosa’s departure is a perfect place to start.”

Another reader suggests: “The board should try to get Emily Lembeck to take the spot. She has done a fantastic job with Marietta City schools. Please look outside the district. Our central office is filled with corruption. Hinojosa’s appointments are questionable at best. The board should stand firm on this.”

And this from another reader in Hinojosa’s defense: “Hinojosa never had a chance in Cobb County. Neither will the next super or the one after that.”

One additional point about the search for the next superintendent. By starting with the district’s own pool of qualified candidates, the school board can dispense with the traditional costly outside search that ends up with someone from afar and a compensation package that’s even bigger than Hinojosa’s. To make board members more confident of their choice, they should form a non-paid search committee of Cobb leaders known for their commitment to the schools and their experience in education and business, in particular. This committee can help identify and evaluate finalists.

If a well-qualified and capable superintendent of the Cobb schools cannot be found within the district’s leadership, then the system needs a lot more than a new superintendent.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Robinson, E. G.
April 04, 2014
Regardless of whom they pick as the new Cobb County Schools Super, he or SHE will fair no better than those who have gone before. Far too much arrogance and political maneuvering resides at 514 Glover St.
Jeff Jacoby
February 07, 2014
Gosh, Don. A committee of Cobb leaders? Isn't that what the Board of Education is?

While I don't disagree that a competent superintendent likely can be found from within the District itself (at least an interim), the Board should not be limited to where it can search to find the best-qualified candidate. That sort of thing fosters a good ol' boy environment like you can't believe.

If a QUALIFIED permanent replacement can be found from within their own ranks, wonderful. But, the Board owes it to the public to find the best candidate for the job, wherever they might find him (or her).

I don't think they need to form an external committee to do this - they are perfectly capable on their own.
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