Clayton’s new superintendent

The Clayton school board picked one finalist in their search for a new superintendent. Edmond Heatley, superintendent of Chino Valley (Calif.) Unified School District is expected to be hired in two weeks.

Heatley is credited with improving tests scores in the district, but recently was challenged over a decision to close some schools because of budget cuts.

He met with Clayton parents and community members last night and has pledged to enroll his kids in the system.

Some members of the Metro Association of Classroom Educators have protested Heatley’s hiring because he’s from out of state. The group wants the school board to hire interim superintendent Valya Lee, a Clayton native who applied for the position but was not a finalist.

This argument has been repeated before – that an in-state superintendent is better because they know Georgia laws and understand the community.

That may be true, but is it always a plus? Are home-grown superintendents better for school systems?

NOTE: Staff writer Nancy Badertscher is writing a story on teachers and paraprofessionals who are losing their jobs because of budget cuts. If you fit in that category, please contact her at Thank you for your help.

26 comments Add your comment

Gerald Ball

May 7th, 2009
9:07 am

It was the MACE school board members that lost Clayton County’s accreditation to begin with. MACE wanted to keep Valya Lee in place because with an inexperienced superintendent, they would have been able to maximize their influence. It was partially – though not entirely – because of MACE that the school board was advised by SACS and by the state board of education to hire an experienced superintendent from somewhere else. Clayton County did so, and this experienced fellow, Heatley, will ignore John Trotter and MACE.

By the way, large school systems hire out of state candidates all the time. Even New York City hired a superintendent from Washington state (I think Seattle) during the Rudy Giuliani administration. MACE’s complaints are absurd, as is any alleged newspaper columnist that takes their complaints seriously. Reporters need to do their jobs and report all the relevant facts rather than allow people like MACE and John Trotter to mislead people.


May 7th, 2009
10:04 am

It’s called succession planning. If you look at any of the more successful companies, they have a plan in place for all of their key employees. The only reason you would hire from outside is if the Board of Directors is not happy with the current management and want to interject some fresh blood or the current management does not have the requisite skill set in a certain area.

When I evaluate stocks for purchase, continuity of management is one of the areas I look at. Whenever you start to see the company bring in new CEOs, it kicks up a red flag for closer scrutiny.

School systems should be no different. One of the reasons you have Assistant Superintendents is to prepare them for eventual promotion to the Superintendents job.

Clayton, however, is a unique situation. I don’t blame the Board for wanting to hire someone from outside the system that does not have ties to the current admiistration. What they are saying is that they do not have confidence in the current crop of central office administrators.

Maybe this Heatley guy can straighten this mess out. I wonder if he knows what he is walking into?

Let's talk "relevant facts" Gerald Ball

May 7th, 2009
10:16 am

Not to say that MACE, or those who attach themselves to MACE, have been perfect, but it appears Gerald Ball is as willing to mislead as he claims MACE is.

Gerald Ball, just who filed the SACS complaint that led to CCPS losing accredition? You seem to have conveniently forgotten it was Rod Johnson, a GAE member.

Who was in the SACS offices, spending time with Mark Elgart on such a regular basis during the initial investigation, that even Mark Elgart’s own people are said to have expressed concern about its effect on the investigation? Ericka Davis, a GAE member.

As far as outside influences, and the deals they birth, which union has an official who is currenting earning years of credit in the Teachers Retirement System, even though he works in a union office, and not a classroom? Not MACE, but GAE.

Now I’m not in the boat who automatically discounts someone from out of town. But, as far as MACE’s concerns being absurd.

Were MACE’s concerns about out of towner Barbara Pulliman unfounded?

Were MACE’s concerns about out of towner John Thompson unfounded? And no, I haven’t forgotten that some who had previously been aligned with MACE were responsible for bringing Thompson aboard, to the unending embarrassment of anyone who thinks MACE is correct on the core issues that affect education today. But still, those were individuals, not MACE the organization.

And MACE expressed these concerns when they were hired, not when they were on their way out the door, after everybody else figured out what MACE was concerned about from the get go.

This isn’t to say that Heatley isn’t a good candidate, or the Valya Lee was the better candidate. But why Gerald Ball, are we not even allowed to question his credentials, without the questions being labeled absurd?


May 7th, 2009
10:30 am

Lee raises good points about succession planning. This seems like a case where a ‘breath of fresh air’ could work out best for the community.

As I’ve said before, everyone in the metro area and state has a stake in the success of Clayton County. Businesses that are considering the metro area will evaluate our K-12 infrastructure and make that a consideration for whether to establish or expand operations here. The recent merger of Delta and Northwest will enable us to become more of an international city, with additional reach to AsiaPac. I wish Heatley much success in helping Clayton County schools.

V for Vendetta

May 7th, 2009
11:07 am

Lee, so should I sell all of that Ford, Chrysler and GM stock I just bought!? Dang, I thought that was a sure thing!


Who cares who runs Clayton? I know a few teachers fom Clayton, and the conditions they describe are horrible and depraved. What good does it do to shake things up at the top when the kids and parents are just as bad as the criminals they have running the show? If there were ever a system that needed privatization immediately, it’s Clayton!

high school teacher

May 7th, 2009
11:35 am

I’d think that residents of Clayton would want someone from outside to re-build their mess.


May 7th, 2009
12:16 pm

Let’s see now…We want to get rid of Heatley. So, we give ole Glenn Brock a good recommendation for him to pass along to ignorant board members like Alieka Anderson and Pam Adamson. Now, Brock is really interested in the school board attorney’s job…which he and his firm will undoubtedly end up with. GAE members Ericka Davis and Rod Johnson were apparently meeting, along with Eldrin Bell, with Mark Elgart of SACS to plan a way to shut up Norreese Haynes who was hitting too much on target about the fraudulent land deal (with the fraudulent contract not even signed by Superintendent Pulliam) and the fraudulent lawyer’s contract for Dorsey Hopson which had apparently been changed by him and/or Ericka Davis. Haynes was just too much for this group. Eldrin gets his police chief Turner to engage in a dummy investigation of Haynes’s residence (”at the behest” of Ericka Davis — illegal, mind you) which the police officers even stated in the report that they did not have enough information to draw any conclustions (especially when they were ignorantly investigating one of Mr. Haynes’s former residences, not the Conley house where he was living during the so-called investigation). However, the Secretary of State’s Office, the office charged by law with responsibility to determine the eligibility of candidates and elected officials, conducted two thorough investigations about the residence of Norreese Haynes and concluded that there “was no evidence that he lived outside his district.” So much for that fraud too!

Dr. John Trotter was the first person or organization (before the AJC, News/Daily, Clayton Chamber, CCEA/GAE, etc.) to call for the resignation of Nedra Ware, Connie Kitchens, Carol Kellum, LaToya Walker from the school board in either March or April of 2003. I think that was pretty principled and gutsy, especially in light of the fact that he was instrumental in each of them getting elected (as well as Mrs. Crummy who had broken away from the Ware Gang, and Dr. Ryan who had already resigned). Trotter was right about Barbara Pulliam. MACE actually picketed the school board the night that it voted to give Pulliam the contract. Trotter also warned the school board about John Thompson (after he was hired because Trotter was not privy to this hiring but took the blame again, as he is blamed usually for all of the mis-doings of the Clayton County School Board). He told the community that Thompson had been fired in Pittsburg and Tulsa. The school board just doesn’t do its homework but relies upon a man like Attorney Glenn Brock who apparently has a hidden agenda…to become the school board attorney. Dr. Sam King finished #2 as “Georgia Superintendent of the Year” and was named by GSSA as the “Georgia Educator of the Year.” I hardly think that he is a puppet to Dr. John Trotter. Dr. King was an assistant principal, principal, and assistant superintendent in Clayton County, and he has been a “super superintendent” in Rockdale County for the last five or six years. Dr. Valya Lee grew up in Clayton County. Teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent, deputy superintendent, and interim superintendent. She cleaned up most of Thompson’s mess in less than a month. She, like Dr. King, is well-liked and well-respected by the people of Clayton County.

The other writer is correct: Mark Elgart did not have nerve to put “MACE” in the report. The report was a joke and very flawed in its biased analysis. It did not even have basic facts and information correct. As Norreese Haynes stated, the SACS Report was “a sham and a farce.”

Dr. John Trotte was right on Hairston, Chavis, Pulliam, Thompson, and he will be proven to be right on our “gift” to Clayton County, Edmond (the Drill Sargeant) Heatley of Chino Valley. Heatley wants no dissent. He is full of secrecy. It is his way or the highway. You folks had better be glad that you have a John Trotter among you. Heatley will have met his match in Trotter. Just my thoughts from Chino Valley.


May 7th, 2009
1:08 pm

Why does Alieka Anderson, Chairperson of the Clayton County Board of Education, have her nine year old son attending a school in DeKalb County? The County County School System is not good enough for her own son? Didn’t LaToya Walker, in District One, try the same thing with her son and daughter and the voters caught up with her? Talking about District One, I think that Mrs. Porter will put a hurtin’ on Pam Adamson in the 2010 school board race. Adamson is responsible for pulling in this Lil Tyrant from Chino Valley, California! The school board needs to “finalize” this man all the way back to L. A.! By law, he cannot be hired yet; the school board needs to listen to the people and reconsider their latest studpid move. Otherwise, Alieka and Pam will be targeted in the next election. Their days are numbered. LaToya Walker thought she was safe; she learned differently.


May 7th, 2009
1:58 pm

Wow – all the politics and “union” v. “union” on here shows me 2 things:

1) Why Georgia can never have a unified teachers’ union
2) Why I’m damned glad that I teach in Cobb. Jeebus.


May 7th, 2009
5:45 pm

I would have serious concerns about this man, not because he came from out of state (we all know California is CERTAINLY the state to imitate, right?) but because HE announced his appointment before the board did. Shades of that guy they just got rid of (what was his name? Jesus Thompson?)! What about this year’s diplomas? Will they be shredded so the new guy’s name will go on them?

You can tell about a person by little things, such as his premature announcement. That is what we call a “tell”. The people of Clayton should study his credentials and his salary demands. How many more superintendents can they afford to have?


May 7th, 2009
6:59 pm

This time last year the AJC reported that SACS’s Elgart, Bostic and Bryant said Clayton County needed superintendent from Georgia, who knows how to conduct business in Georgia. What a difference a year makes! What’s difference between the two Out-Staters? Thompson & Heatley! The answer: None, SACS’s Elgart and the State’s BOE Bostic and Bryant are now having answer to lawsuit inquiries as to why they played politics and cost a school district well over $23 million in educational funding! These guys caused the Lil black children of Clayton a lot of money. Not only did that happen, so did 300-400 teacher jobs, lower property value, skyrocketing property taxes, numerous businesses left. Then, after making that disastrous forecast they have Valya Lee and Heatley pleading for the children to return. This was a Political Effort “Disenfranchised” the voters and devastated the county!


May 7th, 2009
7:24 pm

Dr. Heatley is a graduate of the Broad Academy. SACS Elgart has told this board to hire this man, in exchange for Elgart getting a foothold in Broad Academy. The “Politics” continues at the expense of Clayton’s Lil black children.


May 7th, 2009
7:46 pm

Why did Alieka Anderson, Chairperson of the Clayton County Board of Education and her “Spineless Crew” offer Valya Lee a $187,000 one year contract next week, then turn around and Hire the Broad Academy graduate a week later! There is only one viable answer! This BOE “IS NOT” I repeat, is not making any decisions on their own. They’re being led around by their noses by the powers that be in Clayton and elsewhere. They’re soooo sad!


May 7th, 2009
7:57 pm

Mark Elgart and Glenn Brock are money-grabbing white men who care nothing for the children of Clayton County but abour their own Marietta-Alpharetta pocketbooks. Pitiful. These two men are running the Clayton County Schools. Pam knows it and likes it; Alieka ain’t got enough political sense to get out of the rain.

Jim T.

May 7th, 2009
8:03 pm

It’s all about the money. Follow the money. Watch Glenn Brock’s law firm become the Clayton school board attorneys. Alieka…are you that politically blind. Blind as a bat. Blind as a bat. Politically speaking, Alieka Anderson is as blind as a big _ass bat. Mark Elgart of SACS is one big fake. So fake that he would back a buzzard off a gut wagon. Fake. Mark Elgart. Ericka Davis. Rod Johnson. Cephus Jackson. Eldrin Bell. All fakes. Alieka Anderson. Clueless. Pam Adamson. Manipulative.


May 7th, 2009
8:48 pm

The $25 million in federal stimulus money “Over The Next Two Years”, U.S. Rep. David Scott announced for the Clayton’s School System will not cover the $23 million per year over the next two years the School System will loss “Every Year”. These additional funds Scott announced would have been a great addition to existing funds had Elgart and Clayton’s Rich had not revoked accreditation.

This still lets the district $21 million short over the “Two Year Period”. Wow! This surely was a costly white political power move for the ailing black district! Remember these are the same white folk that produced your distress when they practiced discrimination against your Lil black children livelihoods, disrupted your children continuity with displaced friends, belittled community, lowered your property value, skyrocketed property taxes, took your school’s certification, pilfered over $23 million educational dollars, caused 300-400 teacher job losses.

All this in the name of white power, total intolerance and greed over the downtrodden darker folk! What did you as a county “Gain”? More Cost! Three more additional bills one for an overpaid parliamentarian, another for unconstitutional CCBOE Ethic Commission and now an overpriced law firm. This would never happen in a predominately white district.


May 7th, 2009
9:06 pm

Right on, Hindsight, and that Fincher Law Firm will be trying worm in on some of our money too — that’s probably why Lee Fincher (the wife) was apparentlyl so involved in the last school board elections. John Trotter was in the white folks’ way…and he obviously is white. This is what makes these money folks so mad at him!!!

Hey, Gerald, Wake Up!

May 7th, 2009
9:19 pm

Hey, Gerald, are you so naive? It was the GAE folks (Ericka Davis, Rod Johnson, and Cephas Jackson) who threw the school system under the school bus…both times (in 2003 and 2007). Stupid, stupid, stupid. GAE members actually went to SACS like little crybabies because they could not get their way. The MACE people were winning the elections, and the GAE people were crying all the way to Mark Elgart’s SACS’s office. Real smart. How stupid could sore losers be? They actually were doing this for the sake of the county’s residents, children, property owners, and business people? Right. They really helped us. The “cure” was certainly mega tons worse than the “disease.” Now we end up with the likes of Alieka Anderson for our Chairperson. Wow, we have indeed descended. Thanks Rod, Cephas, Ericka, and Eldrin. You have uplifted Clayton County, and simpletons like Gerald actually believe your mindless logic. But, we realize that you work for the Man and carry out his desires because he has taken care of you.


May 7th, 2009
9:45 pm

There’s an old saying that goes: “When elephants battle, the grass loses.”

I guess you could paraphrase that to say: “When hyenas battle, the children and taxpayers lose.”

Uh, with all due respect to nature’s hyenas…


May 8th, 2009
12:59 am

clayton county board has demonstrated that it simply does not have the wherewithal to make good decisions. to go to california to bring in a superintendent who is rejected there is an act of…well, let’s just say another act of stupidity. pam adamson leading alieka anderson by the nose ring. alieka really just does not get it. she brags at the last board meeting that the profligate trip to san diego resulted in the board meeting with potential superintendents…duh, the last four standing board members were removed for such action. hey, alieka, that violated the open meetings law. just like your straw ballot about heatley violated the open meetings law. now straw ballots, even though apparently condoned by the money-grabbing brock & clay law firm. it’s all about the money. brock and clay simply wants to be the school board attorneys, and alieka cannot see this. alieka, wake up! you are a westside girl. these white boys are leading you around with a ring in your nose. you are being usedddddddddddddddddddddddddd. astro up, girl!!!!!!!!!!!!! your mom knows that we are telling you the truth. even janice and associates realize that you are being used. the folk in the schools are upset with you. a cobb county law firm is running the show. you don’t know who your true friends are. they aren’t glenn brock and chuck clay. word.


May 8th, 2009
2:40 pm

Clayton County BOE should study further their first choice. If you read today and yesterday you will get a flavor of what’s ahead. Bad leadership is costing district huge dollars!


May 8th, 2009
8:41 pm

John Trotter will be proven right again, and I don’t particularly like the man. He’s just smart than the board members.

What the blogs say

May 9th, 2009
8:37 pm

There seems to be a clear majority of bloggers in his district who say that he will not be missed. Words like secrecy, lack of transparency, administration getting larger while teachers are being laid off, pepper the blogs. Some praise as well, but nothing from anyone who praised him on discipline. Of course it may not be an issue in Chino, but nobody who is honest would say it isn’t one of the top, if not the top, issues in ClayCo.

None of this is a reason not to hire him of course, but there is enough critical mass in the comments to indicate that due dilegence must be done, including the most important question of all.

If a teacher removes a student for actions that all for a consequence, and an administrator, against the teacher’s professional judgment, attempt to return the student to class without any consequences, who will the superintendent support?

You know, the question the BOE, despite the current and formers teachers on it, is in MORTAL FEAR of asking.

Chino Parent

May 14th, 2009
5:27 pm

Developing a sense of something or a person through blogs is a fool’s exercise. The blogs are manipulated by a very few, often each with their own private agendas.

As a parent in Chino allow me to share what I have seen accomplished during Dr. Heatley’s stay.

District test scores have jumped tremendously. Some of you may or may not be aware CVUSD is a primarily Hispanic district. Prior to Dr. Heatley becoming superintendent, academic mediocrity was the common thread throughout the district. This isn’t to say this was accomplished without him stepping on the toes of those who beneifted from perpetuating the prior status quo. Teachers who were comfortable with just showing up everyday began to be held accountable for students’ performance, school administrators who were more interested in keeping teachers happy than children learning were replaced -sometimes midyear, and the district office was ordered to support learning at school sites and to make the delivery of education the number one priority. Individuals conducting district business for their personl enrichment were put on notice, with one former board member being convicted of a felony for a conflict of interest related to a contract he intiated with the district.

The coddling of teachers, some parents, and district administrators pretty much ended. Accountability became more than a buzzword.

Has every decision Dr. Heatley made been perfect? No, but we weren’t expecting the Lord Savior as our next superintendent.

The Chino Valley Unified School District is a highly politicized environment with special interests represented by teachers, the teachers’ union, parents, municipalities, real estate developers, ethnic political groups, and current and previous board members; which means it is just about like every other school district in the country.

Although the majority of us will consider Dr. Heatley’s leaving to be a loss for the district, we are very appreciative of what he brought to it during his stay.

Leonard of Tucker

May 30th, 2009
1:16 am

John Trotter is one smart educator. That’s why the policy wonks (including Kathy Cox) are afraid of him. I like visiting the MACE website (, and I agree with its assess of what is wrong with our public schools today.

Levi S.

July 9th, 2009
10:50 pm

Leonard: You are right. The ones we honor today are the ones whom we threw bricks at in the past (during their time). I personally know Dr. John Trotter. When it comes to educational theory and practice, there is no one in Georgia who can touch him…certainly not Kathy Cox or anyone on the State Board. No legislator or local school board member. He makes these people nervous, and behind closed doors or in unsigned editorials, they criticise Dr. Trotter, but all of them are afraid to take him on in open debate. He is bold, and he is willing to take on all comers. But, none of his critics are willing to debate him.