School chief Brad Bryant to stay at DOE as general counsel

Brad Bryant

Brad Bryant

Update: See later blog on terminations today at DOE. Bryant is staying, but others are not.

The speculation about the fate of interim Georgia school chief Brad Bryant is over. Bryant told me this morning that he will be staying at the state Department of Education as its general counsel.

An attorney, Bryant was the governor’s choice for the state school superintendent’s post after GOP incumbent Kathy Cox decided to drop out of the election and resign to take an advocacy job in Washington. But Cox resigned too late for Bryant to get on the July GOP primary ballot, and he was unable to gather the petition signatures necessary to run as an independent. (The Legislature sets the bar at an impossible height to ward off competition from independents.)

That clearly disappointed Gov. Sonny Perdue who has great respect and a long relationship with the even-tempered and intellectual Bryant. Perdue had  appointed Bryant to the state Board of Education and tapped him to help Clayton through its accreditation woes. Bryant served on the DeKalb Board of Education for 12 years, including seven years as its chair. 

Perdue had no history with the two Republicans on the ballot challenging Cox. Like everyone else, he expected Cox to win. But her resignation changed the landscape, and Perdue did not like what he saw since both Republican candidates opposed the federal Race to the Top grant, which he favored and for which he led Georgia’s winning effort.

The winner of that primary and this month’s general election was John Barge, a former DOE official and a Bartow administrator. Barge takes over in January.

There had been speculation that Perdue would return Bryant to his state board seat, which remains unfilled. But Bryant can probably be more helpful to DOE in the paid capacity of its top legal adviser.

Some folks suggested to me that Bryant would be the shadow agency leader, but he was vehement today that he is not going to be the head of  DOE in any way, and that he believes Barge’s long education background is vital now in the department.

–By Maureen Downey, AJC Get Schooled blog

35 comments Add your comment

What's best for kids?

November 17th, 2010
12:50 pm

Huh…the DOE creating another position while teachers are furloughed. Go stinking figure.

Dr. John Trotter

November 17th, 2010
1:08 pm

Hopefully, this will facilitate a smooth transition. Dr. Barge appears to have a sanguine personality and I know that Brad Bryant is even-tempered as well. So, hopefully this will work out well.

Mike the Original

November 17th, 2010
1:12 pm

And the rest of the story??

Dunwoody Mom

November 17th, 2010
1:33 pm

Maureen, what is your take on the Gwinnett County School Board Member arrested for not paying his child support? If someone cannot pay for their own children, why are they making decisions that affect hundreds of thousands of children in GCSS?

Mike the Original

November 17th, 2010
1:49 pm

@Maureen 1:08 from last topic

One would think….. :-)

Richard Woods

November 17th, 2010
2:00 pm

Is this a new position or is he replacing someone in the DOE?

john konop

November 17th, 2010
2:09 pm

In all due respect Maureen, Kathy Cox never got above 50% in any straw poll in the republican primary before she resigned, And she had alienated the grass roots GOP members. One thing Katy did was she was able to unite people from all three parties to fight her one size fit all 4 year college bound or out failed plan.

…..Like everyone else, he expected Cox to win…..

john konop

November 17th, 2010
2:13 pm

Why does the DOE need a full-time general counsel? Do we have a general counsel department for every agency?

Maureen Downey

November 17th, 2010
2:13 pm

John, I originally wrote that line, I had “Like everyone else except John Konop..” But didn’t know if you would appreciate the humor or the reference.
I still disagree. Cox would have won the primary and the election.
Maureen

Maureen Downey

November 17th, 2010
2:14 pm

@Richard, There is a chief counsel now, but she is going to focus on some other things within the department.
Maureen

Kathy

November 17th, 2010
2:26 pm

Maureen, Any word on who Barge’s chief of staff will be?

Maureen Downey

November 17th, 2010
2:38 pm

@Kathy, I have not heard. Does anyone on the blog know? td?
Maureen

Ellen

November 17th, 2010
2:40 pm

I think that ANY position Brad Bryant holds will be good for children in Georgia. I wish that DeKalb would consider him for school superintendent!

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Maureen Downey

November 17th, 2010
2:46 pm

@Ellen, I agree. I think he is a capable guy who does not have any agenda but the students. I also think that he is the rare non-educator who could do a good job because he has been immersed in education for decades and has really studied the stuff.
But, it’s a hard job and it is only going to get harder.
Maureen

td

November 17th, 2010
2:48 pm

@Maureen, I have not heard anything yet on who Dr Barge wants to take that post. I would assume it would be someone that he knows and can work with.

Dr. Craig Spinks /Augusta

November 17th, 2010
3:01 pm

Let us pray that Dr. Barge and Mr. Bryant work together to provide our public school teachers and administrators the legal authority necessary to establish and maintain classroom environments conducive to learning.

Bob Morris

November 17th, 2010
3:04 pm

I would like to see Brad as DeKalb School Superintendent as well. I had the privilege of working with Brad when I was on the DeKalb Commission. IMO he was the best BOE Chair DeKalb ever had.

Kathy

November 17th, 2010
3:14 pm

i believe the superintendent for a county needs a leadership certificate. Although I would love to have him in our Dekalb School system, I don’t think he can.

[...] AJC’s Maureen Downey is reporting that interim State School Superintendent Brad Bryant will be remaining with the Georgia Department of Education as General Counsel after John Barge is sworn in.  There had been speculation that [...]

MikeyD

November 17th, 2010
3:27 pm

I think that anyone who wears a bow tie should be disqualified from any type of public service simply for the principle! (That’s sarcasm, before anyone decides to rip into me…)

EnoughAlready

November 17th, 2010
3:33 pm

Dunwoody Mom

November 17th, 2010
1:33 pm

AMEN!!! I’m waiting on Maureen to address the issue. Failure to pay child support should immediately disqualify someone from this position. It’s a slap in the face to his children and all children.

Write Your Board Members

November 17th, 2010
3:33 pm

Kathy

Cobb had a retired military man as super a few years ago. I think that it is possible to hire someone from outside the education world to be super, though I know it often makes teachers nervous.

Maureen Downey

November 17th, 2010
3:48 pm

@EnoughAlready, I have written a lot on child support and spent an entire year writing AJC editorials against a bill that would have dramatically slashed what many custodial parents get and earned a denouncement from a key House leader from the well of the House. (The bill would have set a basic level for support that did not rise very much even if the non custodial parent had a very high income.)
But I have to know more details about this Gwinnett case before I call for someone to resign.
Maureen

Dekalbite

November 17th, 2010
3:52 pm

You do not have to have an education degree to function as superintendent of a school system, however someone outside the educational arena is rarely considered or hired. Personally, I think someone who has been in a classroom teaching for at least 5 to 10 years and in addition has a business management background would be the best person for the job. This must be a rare combination of experience since I don’t know any superintendents who have the combination of a teaching and business background.

Wondering

November 17th, 2010
3:57 pm

Re the DOE Chief of Staff position: I heard Erin Hames has been asked to resign. Yes? Let’s hope so.

Maureen Downey

November 17th, 2010
4:00 pm

@Wondering, Just heard that was true — Erin Hames is out, which amazes me as she was such a central part of our Race to the Top application.
Maureen

Wondering

November 17th, 2010
4:04 pm

Thank you. You might want to inquire.

An American Patriot

November 17th, 2010
4:19 pm

Bryant served on the DeKalb Board of Education for 12 years, including seven years as its chair.

The problems that DCSS has presently did not develop overnight. The fact that Bryant was the DeKalb BOE Chair for seven years is not exactly a shining recommendation….

Bob Morris

November 17th, 2010
3:04 pm
I would like to see Brad as DeKalb School Superintendent as well. I had the privilege of working with Brad when I was on the DeKalb Commission. IMO he was the best BOE Chair DeKalb ever had.

Bob, did you know all of the chairs? DeKalb had a fine, fine school system forever until about thirty years ago and then what happened?…….well, gosh, let me guess……. :) Right now, it’s the pits and getting worse…..what are y’all gonna do to rectify the sad state of affairs? besides sit there and recommend someone who was probably part of the problem initially.

rj

November 17th, 2010
4:42 pm

Rome News Tribune is reporting that Associate Superintendent of the Rome City Schools Mike Buck is being named as Deputy Superintendent of the State Board of Education

john konop

November 17th, 2010
4:45 pm

Maureen Downey,

It would of been fine LOL!

[...] AJC’s Maureen Downey is reporting that interim State School Superintendent Brad Bryant will be remaining with the Georgia Department of Education as General Counsel after John Barge is sworn in.  There had been speculation that [...]

Maureen Downey

November 17th, 2010
4:58 pm

@rj. I just posted the entire list. Take a look.
Maureen

Zebra

November 17th, 2010
4:58 pm

I am not familiar with Mr. Bryant, however I was impressed with his credentials and accomplishments as described by Maureen … until she mentioned that he’s a protege of Sonny “Captain Copter” Perdue.

Hillary

November 17th, 2010
5:06 pm

West Georgia appointees have been named this afternoon.