Dr. R. Stephen Green of the Kansas City School District, KCPS has been selected to head the DeKalb County School System as its new superintendent. Dr. Melvin Johnson, chair of the DeKalb School Board made the announcement Wednesday, citing Dr. Green’s leadership qualifications and accomplishments. But before detailing reasons for selecting Green, Johnson first expressed an “enormous debt of gratitude” to current superintendent Michael Thurmond for the year and a half to two years of valuable service Thurmond provided the DeKalb System.
The two leaders share similar accreditation successes. Just as Michael Thurmond lead the DeKalb district from probation to one step from full accreditation, Dr. Green is credited for restoring provisional accreditation to the Kansas City School District in August 2014. The two superintendents also share similar community respect and a community desire for them to stay in their current positions. DeKalb citizens made it clear to the board that they wanted Thurmond’s contract extended as he is credited for many district successes including improving graduation rates and balancing the budget. Citizens in the Kansas City School District don’t want to see Green leave his post either.
According to KCTV 5 in Kansas City, the community both celebrates Green’s successes, and worries about the district with his departure.
“He stabilized the district and I think he calmed things down a lot. He came in with a really bad situation. He did bring us to provisional accreditation,” said Andrea Flinders, the president of Kansas City Federation of Teachers and School-Related Personnel, Local 691.
“The community was just through with us and I think he did a lot to build community relationship. I think that was key, but again, he kept the focus on our kids and that’s where teachers want it to be,” Flinders said.
Parents like Tiffany Price expressed concerns for the students’ in the future.
“Because he’s done such a good job and now that he’s leaving, where do we turn to?” she said.
R. Stephen Green emerged out of the pool of more than 120 candidates for the DeKalb superintendent seat. Board Chairman Johnson said, “Dr. Green is the experienced and well-suited education leader we need in DeKalb County. He brings an impressive track record to the District. Dr. Green brought back the Kansas City Schools system to provisional accreditation. He has demonstrated innovative approaches to teaching and learning and moving student achievement forward”.
Dr. Green was named the winner of the 2015 Pearce Award as the best superintendent in the state of Missouri. His educational experience also includes serving as president and executive director of the New Jersey Teaching and Learning Collaborative. This is a not-for-profit organization founded to provide ongoing technical assistance, professional development and advocacy for local and state policy reform.
Green’s arrival will be somewhat of a homecoming for him as he will be able to join his children and grandchildren who already live in Atlanta.
Board chair Johnson said the search for a new DeKalb County superintendent involved an exhaustive, open and deliberate process set forth by the DeKalb County School Board. It included a sixteen member community panel, six public hearing held around the district, and a candidate search that was advertised nationwide. Dr. R. Stephen Green made it from the more than 120 candidates to the semi-finalist group of eight. Dr. Johnson said, “After conducting our in-person interviews with each of them, we quickly coalesced around Dr. Green as a uniquely qualified and outstanding candidate”.
By law the School Board must wait 14 days from the selection announcement before offering the candidate a contract which will detail the position including the pay.