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Future DeKalb superintendent promises district-wide review, communication | News

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Future DeKalb superintendent promises district-wide review, communication
News, People, Schools
Future DeKalb superintendent promises district-wide review, communication

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- In a Saturday morning meet-and-greet session with DeKalb County parents, superintendent finalist Dr. Cheryl Atkinson promised to turn the district around, beginning with a top to bottom review within her first 90 days on the job.

She also promised better communication, announcing plans to organize "fireside chats" with principals, teachers and parents.

"I'm also going to be in the schools," she said. "You can't run effectively a school district from behind the desk. I want to see first hand what's going on in our schools."

The school board's superintendent choice has drawn criticism from some parents; her current district in Lorain, Ohio is more than ten times smaller than DeKalb, and did not make AYP in 2009-2010.

But many parents at Saturday's meeting seemed impressed with their future leader.

"I think Dr. Atkinson's directness is refreshing," said parent Sherry King, adding that her commitment to engaging parents is "just what the district needs."

For Orrin Hudson, a father of two DeKalb County students, Dr. Atkinson's presentation was enough to change his mind.

"Initially I thought they may have made a bad decision because they needed someone with more experience," he said. "But after further review, now that I know a little bit more about her and her ability to communicate, I believe they made a brilliant move."

Gil Hearn was a bit more cautious. Founder of Parents for DeKalb Schools, he says the superintendent can only create as much change as the board allows.

"I believe that anybody can put forth a plan and a vision, but it all comes down to execution," he said. "I believe that the parents of DeKalb County will be behind Dr. Atkinson, but it is critical that the board supports everything that she puts forth as well."

Dr. Atkinson is the only finalist for superintendent. The school board will meet Monday at 10am to officially vote her into the position.

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