Beth Farokhi won’t run DOE, but she will run Galloway School in Atlanta

The private Galloway School in Atlanta has appointed Beth Farokhi as interim head of school for the 2010-2011 school year.

Dr. Farokhi comes to Galloway after a career as an administrator at Georgia State University and an unsuccessful run for state school superintendent. In July, Farokhi lost the Democratic primary for school chief to Joe Martin.

39 comments Add your comment

Lynn43

August 20th, 2010
8:53 am

Beth, Congratulations on your new job. You would have made a great State Superintendent where politics did not interfere with what was best for children and schools.

Gut feeling

August 20th, 2010
9:12 am

Why do I get the feeling she’s going to be much happier here than if she had won?

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lala

August 20th, 2010
9:45 am

Just so you know… everyone who works at state DOE is hoping Martin will win. Now you know who NOT to vote for.

What if

August 20th, 2010
10:07 am

Amazing, lala – when did you do your survey of each and every one of the DOE staff? And 100% consensus! How interesting. And unlikely.

janet

August 20th, 2010
10:10 am

Congratulations to Beth on her new job. She would have made the best Supt of Education for the State’s kids…not a politician. I guess that is why she didn’t win.

No More Republicans

August 20th, 2010
10:34 am

No more Republicans at the top at BOE – the Republicans have done more in eight years to destroy the education system in Georgia than the Democrats ever did. While Martin was not my choice first time around, he will be this time. And whose behalf lala did you make your survey? Your own, the tea party, or who?

Proud Black Man

August 20th, 2010
10:48 am

@ No More republicans

You sir win the prize! I have been saying this forever but it seems like the “good ole” boys and girls want to cut their noses off to spite their face.

Attentive Parent

August 20th, 2010
10:50 am

I know quite a few parents whose children attend Galloway. There are basically 2 questions they may want to get answered in deciding whether Ms Farokhi has the vision they want going forward given her publications and past professional activities.

The paper she wrote in 1987 with Edith Guyton and published in Journal of Teacher Education is widely cited as saying pedagogical training is more important than content knowledge of the subject to be taught.

Is that an accurate summary of the paper and is that her current position?

Secondly, she was heavily involved through Georgia State with the InGEAR Consortium. The idea was that math and science need to be reimagined to ensure equal access for minorities and gender equity. Equal access and gender equity issues were to be infused into all aspects of science, engineering, and math programs.

How does that agenda square with a K-12 college prep curriculum as it has traditionally been understood?

John

August 20th, 2010
10:58 am

Does Dr. Farokhi have any experience teaching in k-12? Does she have any experience in teaching in higher education? Does she have any experience as a school administrator? Is her experience at Georgia State University relevant to a job as head of school?

pcBobby

August 20th, 2010
11:14 am

Congrats, Beth! You’re a class act.

carlton

August 20th, 2010
11:33 am

John:

great questions. you may know, but I await the answers.

Please start thinking

August 20th, 2010
11:42 am

Posts from John and Attentive Parent are asking the right questions here. Funny, most of the others seem more willing to support someone based on their party afiliation than their teaching philosophy and experience and THEN have the arrogance to claim this or that candidate would remove the politics from the job — are you really that blind?

Please start thinking

August 20th, 2010
11:46 am

Just one more point — I should add that I don’t know Dr. Farokhi or much about her background. I hope she does well and the students excel under her leadership. That’s what we should all hope for. But it won’t be the result of her party afiliation. PLEASE!!!

Oh, My!

August 20th, 2010
11:52 am

I met Dr.Farokhi while I was a student at Georgia State. I never sat in any of her classes but interacted with her when she chaired a committee that was vital to my education. I can honestly say that she is a class act and I wish her the very best in her new job.

Pat Talking Politics

August 20th, 2010
12:00 pm

Congratulations to her! Too bad Georgia didn’t see fit to elect her as school superintendent. We’ve got to get better in discerning true talent and commitment to the education of our children.

No Bias

August 20th, 2010
12:01 pm

@ Proud Black Man: Think about your words. Has your “pride” made you racist and biased? You hate all Republicans and you use blanket statements like “good ole boys” and blame them for our educational problems (I presume that’s any white southerner you disagree with). It must be nice not to have to live under the same pc rules that have skewered and castrated many well a meaning non-minority, competent public servant. Time for you stop posting — The Beverly Hillbillies and Hee Haw will be on soon.

Galloway parent

August 20th, 2010
12:10 pm

I am a Galloway parent, and we are thrilled and honored to have Dr.Farokhi’s talents among us. Good luck to her in her new job!

Scots Supporter

August 20th, 2010
1:17 pm

I wish her well, but I worry that she is not qualified for this type of role. Her background, while stellar and impressive, is not appropriate for this type of role. I’m not trying to take away from her – she deserves praise for a great career. But a cardiologist is no better suited to be a neurosurgeon than a neurosurgeon is suited to be a cardiologist – yes, they both work in the medical field, but they have different specialties. Dr. Farokhi has a terrific background and her specialty in public, higher education is clearly worthy of praise. But she has no background to run a private K-12 school. The role she has taken on is essentially a CEO role and she will not be able to hide behind her credentials for long. Just like the best doctor may not necessarily be the best person to run a hospital, I don’t think she is qualified to be the chief executive of our school. I sincerely hope I am mistaken and will give her the benefit of the doubt. That said, I look forward to the permanent head of school being someone that has what it takes to fulfill that critical position.

Proud Black Man

August 20th, 2010
1:20 pm

@ No Bias

No I don’t hate all Republicans bigot. Where did you read that in my post? Have you ever heard of the ‘Southern Strategy’ dippy? You tea (insert the name that cannot be mentioned) really crack me up. I “refudiate” all of you members of the white right.

Educated Observer

August 21st, 2010
9:12 am

Unfortunately, “Content knowledge” is usually not the priority at Galloway at the higher grade levels. It is a small and insular community, and at the middle and upper grade levels most parents choose the school (or remain at the school) because of that “comfortable” environment, not the pursuit of academic excellence. A school that is afraid to recognize scholars and academic excellence because they believe that represents unhealthy “competition” is not preparing kids well for the “real world” and is denying kids opportunities to push and stretch themselves to do their best. Unfortunately, Dr. Farokhi seems to endorse this approach. I do not have children at the school, but looked at the school for my kids and know many parents there. I hope Dr. Farokhi will support and encourage academic rigor, and allow the school to “tweak” its 1060s philosophy so that students are better prepared for the world they are going to live in.

Southern Gal

August 21st, 2010
10:46 am

Proud Black Man, your narrow vision is what keeps you, and blacks in general, in poverty and ignorance. Complain that you’re a victim or take responsibility for your own life, you can’t do both. No wonder you sound so angry and bitter. You are! Repubs have issues, but at least they encourage people to learn how to be self sufficient adults, not seek to keep everyone as little more than bottle fed infants. The Dems use of known brainwashing techniques — nonstop repetitive slogans for one — just shows what they really think of their sheepish constituents.

Proud Black Man

August 21st, 2010
2:10 pm

@ Southern Strumpet

I do not care one iota what your opinion is of me. Are you clairvoyant? Or just ASSuming? My life/family/spiritual needs are doing fine thank you very much. Just like how you people love to criticize people of color I throw it right back at yall. Later tea (insert the name that cannot be mentioned.)

GallowayAlumParent

August 21st, 2010
5:20 pm

My child attended The Galloway School for many years, has graduated from college, and has been in the work force for several years. From my experience, he and his friends were well prepared for collegiate studies; one Galloway classmate was elected to Phi Beta Kappa at Brown University and another was elected to Phi Beta Kappa at Tulane University. At The Galloway School students choose from more than fifteen Advanced Placement courses and accelerated mathematics classes in each grade level. I know Galloway students have gone to Harvard, Yale, and Stanford; such acceptances are only possible if they have learned content knowledge in a school which promotes academic excellence. I have confidence that Dr. Farokhi will build on the school’s tradition of a proven child-centered program that promotes academic rigor.

#1 Scot Mom

August 21st, 2010
7:56 pm

Comment about academic rigor could not be further from the truth. I have had children at Galloway for many years and they have always been challenged to do their best and achieve the most in all that they do. It is not necessary to beat your classmate or teammate but to do the very best that you can personally do. And then be proud of those accomplishments and proud of the accomplishments of your classmates as well. It is called respect for yourself and respect for others and Galloway kids totally get it The teachers at Galloway are the best there are at challenging the children to stretch beyond the “comfortable” and see how much they can learn and accomplish. To be a lifelong learner with fearlessness is far more important than whether you get a perfect score in one test. It is significant to me the number of parents who are alum and recognize how valuable a Galloway education was to them and send their kids to Galloway and those that return to teach. I am awed that we have a parent of two graduates who can come to the school with knowledge of Galloway core values as Interim Head of School on short notice when we need some temporary leadership. She seems like a perfect fit to me and a total complement to our incredible level principals, teachers, parents and board. She has exactly the perspective we need right now. This is going to be a great year!
Welcome back to Galloway Beth!

Children First

August 21st, 2010
10:55 pm

As a former Galloway parent, I saw far more negatives than positives at the school. Yes, there are some high-performing students, but not nearly enough. And the percentage of students who are not happy in other environments, and are unhappy in college because they cannot adjust to a non-Galloway environment, is higher than for most other schools. A highly self-motivated student may do fine, but if a student does not want to achieve — no one there will “push” in a positive way to help that student get out of their “comfort zone” and reach their potential. At some point in your school life — certainly by 10th grade — a little “pressure” and “healthy competition” is a good thing! in its 40 years of existence, I believe there has been only one acceptance to Harvard and only one to Yale. Far less than most other northside private schools, if that is an important criteria to you. When my daughter left Galloway for a public high school, I found that she was behind her peers in most academic subject areas. And it was more than just “test scores”; it was lack of content knowledge, study skills, and motivation. Dr. Farokhi has her work cut out for her, but upon reading her background, I wonder if she will take the school where it needs to go — it is stuck in the 1960s.

WhatSayYou

August 21st, 2010
11:09 pm

@Southern Gal — I respect your right to voice an opinion, but understand that when you generalize whole demographics anything you say loses validity. Taking Proud Black Man to task for generalizing those in the Republican party and then generalizing all African-Americans is hypocritical. Your anger is with him — not the other 20 million of us. Do you know ALL blacks, and if so were they ALL in “poverty and ignorance”? No, I don’t think so. I seriously doubt that we have met. But this doctoral student lives simply — certainly not in poverty — but by God’s good grace.

ChastainDave

August 22nd, 2010
10:42 am

Pathetic but amusing. Two parents who had children that failed to thrive at Galloway bash the school rather than themselves for failing to select the appropriate school for their child. And two parents with children that did well at Galloway praise the school. The Galloway community should ignore whiners. There are numerous public and private schools to choose from in Atlanta. Would any private school survive for decades with hundreds and thousands of smart parents paying thousands of dollars each year if its graduates all failed to launch successfully? Galloway must do something right or it would not have a school filled with children each year. Whiners only point out they failure not that of the institution they attack. Get a life.

Proud Black Man

August 22nd, 2010
10:43 am

@ WhatSayYou

Not that you asked for it but thanks. I just give these tea (insert the name that cannot be mentioned) a taste of their own medicine.

Joshua Villines

August 22nd, 2010
3:52 pm

We seem to have digressed a little from the topic of Dr. Farokhi. As a Galloway parent, I could not be more thrilled to have her stepping into this leadership role at such an important time in the school’s history. Not only does she have classroom teacher experience, she has an extensive knowledge of educational curriculum at all levels. Dr. Farokhi also has a proven track record of passionate commitment to education that meets the needs of individual students rather than arbitrary standards. She has a long history with Galloway, knows our community well, and we are fortunate to have her.

As for the comments regarding the value of a Galloway education, our family’s experiences have been overwhelmingly positive. I first starting thinking about Galloway when, as an undergraduate admissions officer, I was blown away by the caliber of the Galloway graduates I met. They were mature, thoughtful, confident, and engaged students with a strong understanding of how they learned best and why they wanted to study the discipline they had chosen. Since coming to Galloway as a parent, I’ve seen those characteristics time-and-again in our graduating classes.

Speaking as someone who now teaches undergraduates, I am blown away by the quality of the work that Galloway students produce. The outstanding faculty at Galloway goes out of their way to require assignments that are not only rigorous, but that are also meaningful and engaging for their students. That rigor does not look like what one might find at a traditional prep school. Students are not lined up in rows of navy and khaki parroting rote exercises. I’m grateful for that. I don’t want a school that prepares our son to conform to others’ expectations. I want a school that will train him to be a leader who sets the bar higher for himself than any external source ever could. Galloway has taught him to do just that.

Curious

August 22nd, 2010
7:46 pm

I am curious about “Children First’s” comment
” And the percentage of students who are not happy in other environments, and are unhappy in college because they cannot adjust to a non-Galloway environment, is higher than for most other schools.” What is the factual basis for your statement?

children First

August 22nd, 2010
9:25 pm

Curious: the basis for my statement is twofold: first, as a Galloway parent, I observed an unusually high number of students (more than from other schools) who just seemed to want to be back at Galloway rather than “fly the coop”, stretch their wings, and expose themselves to unfamiliar environments. In order to check the validity of my observation, I asked someone who works with parents in helping them to find the best “fit” for their child in school, an educational psychologist. He affirmed my observations…he said that in his experience, a higher percentage of students from Galloway were not happy at their initial college of choice. It was not a statistical statement, just an observation from his experience. I attribute it to the fact the school is very small and perhaps “too nurturing”, coupled with a rather unrealistic lack of “healthy competition”. I also worked with a highly specialized consultant in another city (nationally known and recognized) and asked him to review Galloway in depth, talk to members of the faculty, compare it to other options for my daughter in high school, etc. His conclusion was that while it was certainly not a poor school, Atlanta offered better choices for a very bright, highly motivated, academically talented student. He said “nurturing schools are fine, but there is such a thing as too nurturing.”

My intent is not to bash the school, but rather to point out that Dr. Farokhi has a big job. Galloway has positioned itself as an “alternative” to other Buckhead private schools, but in recent years the school seems to not know itself very well. It’s very confusing to parents who aren’t quite sure what they are “buying.” At least that was my experience. Fortunately, my daughter attended a very good public high school and graduated with a much broader view of the world and had many more curriculum options and well as extracurricular options. To each his own.

Curious

August 23rd, 2010
1:05 pm

Children First: Thank you for providing the source for your statements. It is so helpful to know where people get their information. Obviously, opinions on this issue vary widely. As a result, I am personally more inclined to credit the empirical data from studies that show that for most people, competition inhibits learning .(See, e.g., Effects of Competition on Learning, Goodman, David; Crouch, James, Improving College and University Teaching, 26, 2, 130-3, Spr 78; Competition vs. Learning, http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/08/25/admissions; See also, “The Superstar Effect”, The Wall Street Journal, April 3, 2010) Indeed, many other private schools in Atlanta now stress the concept that Elliott Galloway voiced 40 years ago, that of becoming a “lifelong learner.” I want to have my children in an environment that enhances learning, not detracts from it.

With respect to your statements about children that return to “the nest” because they are not prepared for the “real world,” and the implication that somehow Galloway is responsible for this, I believe what you are referring to is a situation that has affected many in this generation and is a nationwide problem, leading to mental health providers starting “failure to launch” programs. It is my opinion that these young adults have other issues (such as parenting styles and other social dynamics) that are blocking them from successfully entering the adult world and that the particular school attended is not one of the most significant variables.

It looks like we should agree to disagree.

david michel

August 23rd, 2010
10:10 pm

people are stupid

EXPERIENCED Observer

August 23rd, 2010
10:28 pm

As for “Educated Observer,” I find it interesting that someone who does not have children at Galloway would feel qualified to comment on the school’s priorities or why “MOST parents choose the school.” Like Joshua Villines, I first became interested in Galloway because of the Galloway students and alumni I met in “the real world.” Among other things, they were bright and engaged and had a clear sense of themselves and a well-informed understanding of the world around them. Years later, I am so glad to have chosen Galloway for my children who share these same qualities. And I am grateful for the “comfortable” environment and exceptional faculty and administrators there who have fostered those qualities in them. Please note, a comfortable environment and academic excellence are not mutually exclusive concepts – especially not at Galloway.

If by “recognizing scholars and academic excellence” you mean giving out awards to students with the highest GPAs or test scores, Galloway is not “afraid” to do that – just wise enough to know that it serves no real purpose, and in fact, is often counterproductive to the learning process. Many Galloway graduates who have gone on to attend very prestigious and academically rigorous colleges and universities report that learning to work collaboratively during their high school years prepared them particularly well for their collegiate endeavors. Not one whom I have known has suffered in the least for not being sufficiently recognized for his or her academic excellence.

I don’t need to have my children laden with awards to make me feel a sense of accomplishment, and they don’t feel the need for such recognition. They feel their own sense of accomplishment in the rigorous work they do every day. They feel curious about the world around them and a commitment to making a positive contribution thereto. They feel appreciative of their teachers and mentors, and of the amazing opportunity they have to learn – really learn – in a respectful and comfortable environment.

Anyone who knows what education meant in the 1960s knows that Elliott Galloway’s philosophy was not in keeping with those times. His forward thinking created a school environment that fosters the EXACT qualities that are needed for the “real world” of the 21st century. Colleges and universities and employers world-wide are in search of young people who can think for themselves (and outside the proverbial box), approach problem-solving creatively, work collaboratively and productively with their peers, and be leaders when called upon to do so. They need young people who have a clear sense of self and are knowledgeable about the world in which they live. I am an experienced observer who can see that my children and their schoolmates are being/have been prepared to meet the demands of college life and the real world beyond.

Attentive Parent

August 24th, 2010
8:54 am

My goodness. Lots of educationalese talking points have been spouted in defending Galloway and Beth Farokhi. The nice thing about the free market in private education in Atlanta is that parents who want to pay for the Galloway experience can and those who see it as a bad fit can find other schools or leave as their children mature.

It’s interesting though to see so many using the school and its graduates while still under Elliott Galloway’s leadership to bolster the school as it exists today.

I popped back in though to point out that a tremendous number of employers today are actually looking for employees who can perform an assigned task alone well and without supervision. They are leaving the US in part because too many US graduates can only work in teams and with lots of input.

Several of these comments really have read like ed profs at Ga State coming to the rescue of their peer. Lots of recycled bad ideas lurk under all that 21st century rhetoric. Beware when you hear it.

children First

August 24th, 2010
7:04 pm

Curious – when my child was at Galloway (for ten years), I observed that when opportunities arose to represent the school at leadership conferences, or other similar opportunities, students were “hand picked” by teachers, “in secret” — I suppose so that other students would not “get their feelings hurt.” And very little mention would ever be made about those opportunities, or who was “picked” to go. Is that “healthier” than the environment at her public high school, when opportunities were announced, and students were permitted to openly apply? I do not regard the opportunity to apply for National Honor Society, Governor’s Honors, or other similar things as “unhealthy” to students. It’s preparing them for the world beyond school. It does not hurt other students when the opportunity is open to all; indeed, it is much fairer than the Galloway method of just handpicking certain students and not giving equal opportunity to all, or even making them aware of those opportunities.

Galloway Alum parent — I find it interesting that you are proud of Galloway students elected to Phi Beta Kappa, etc. in college, but don’t want similar opportunities for academic recognition at Galloway. Seems a little inconsistent to me. Athletes get recognized (even in the newspaper), the names of lead actors in the play are published in the playbill — it’s academics that are given short shrift.

Joy in Learning

August 24th, 2010
11:24 pm

Enter your comments here To Children First: You were vocally unhappy at Galloway. These are the same points you made for years at Galloway when your “daughter” attended our school. I have no idea why you ever selected a progressive school to begin with. Atlanta offers so many educational options for our children. We must respect the choice of schools other parents make. I’m sorry you still feel the need to attack Galloway. Please move on.

N. ATL Guy

August 25th, 2010
1:01 am

Seems to me that more generalizations are being thrown around in this thread than are warranted. “Most parents” this and “most graduates” that. It’s funny how so many people suddenly become omnipotent or in possession of loads of unbiased professional market research data in a discussion like this [sarcasm]. The reality is that it’s no more fair or accurate for an outsider make a statement about “most Galloway graduates” than it is to assume that simply because a school is not the right fit for your student (or your friend’s family, or your cousin’s psychologist’s patients) there must be something fundamentally wrong with the institution or its core values. Independent schools are not “one size fits all.” Not everyone will be happy and successful at a unique, progressive school like Galloway or Paideia, just as Lovett and Westminster are not the right fit for others. The real responsibility lies with parents to choose the right school for their child, monitor his/her success or lack thereof, and change schools if necessary. If you feel like there were issues worth complaining about at your child’s school for a whole decade, maybe you should have changed schools far sooner?

As for Dr. Farokhi and Galloway, I’m sure everything is going to work out just fine. The true lifeblood of a school like Galloway is its faculty, and from what I have seen recently the Galloway faculty are just as amazing as ever. With an incredible team of teachers and a highly talented and capable staff, Galloway and Beth have nothing to fear this year.