After a national search, a public Q&A with three finalists and serious negotiations with at least one of them, could the DeKalb school board turn around and award the job to the person already in it?
It is becoming apparent that interim superintendent Ramona Tyson may have changed her mind about taking the job if offered. Initially, she had not expressed an interest in running the troubled system.
(The AJC has a good story on the current status of the search after front runner Lillie Cox of North Carolina withdrew this weekend.)
In an e-mail to the AJC, Tyson would only say: “I have every confidence that the board will find an excellent external candidate for superintendent, and my job will be to support the new superintendent and to ensure a smooth transition. The board has not asked me to consider taking the position permanently, and I have not asked the board to consider me as it continues its external search.”
Even if Tyson chose to actively lobby for the job, I think parents across DeKalb want a new start for their schools. I don’t think they believe the district can achieve a rebirth with a member of the old regime. I am not making any judgments on Tyson’s management of DeKalb over the last 14 months, which seems pretty steady from my distant view.
But her association with indicted school chief Crawford Lewis taints her. DeKalb parents are seeking something new, perhaps even radical, for their bedraggled system. Tyson does not represent a break with the past, although she may well have the skills to lead the district.
I had a conversation a few weeks ago with someone in DeKalb schools who mentioned out of the blue that Tyson would be the best choice for school chief, much better than any of the finalists. I thought it was odd to bring up Tyson since she was not in the mix, but I also wondered if this was the beginning of a campaign to recast Tyson as a possibility.
Is she a possibility?
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog