Former university leader to temporarily run APS. Never a dull moment.

Outgoing Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. will move a few blocks to the APS offices.

Outgoing Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. will move a few blocks to the APS offices.

I have to admit that I’m surprised to see former business-executive-turned-chancellor Erroll B. Davis now coming aboard as interim superintendent at APS.

It would seem that an interim could have been found in the APS leadership ranks rather than bringing in someone without any k-12 experience.

According to the AJC: Davis will start July 1 and will serve until the board hires a permanent replacement for retiring Beverly Hall, presumably one of the three finalists announced last week. (But we saw how that worked in DeKalb.) Davis is leaving the university system June 30.

To get a glimpse of Davis’ views on education in general, take a look back at this blog on his farewell-to-the-system speech.

Davis came to Georgia after serving as chairman of the board of Alliant Energy Corporation.  He earned a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, in 1965, and a MBA. in finance from the University of Chicago, in 1967.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

89 comments Add your comment

Dr NO

June 20th, 2011
2:25 pm

This certainly is a logical move.

Write Your Board Members

June 20th, 2011
2:30 pm

If only DCSS could have had an outsider for an interim. Tyson is totally in a rut. There have been almost no personnel changes and she seems worn out from the redistricting battles.

I suspect she is no longer even pretending to be interim.

Roach

June 20th, 2011
2:30 pm

Davis only qualified as a candidate for USG chancellor because he was on another state’s board of trustees. He was only on that state’s board of trustees because he gave a lot of money to the winning gubernatorial candidate. So he reached the top through payoffs, not expertise. There’s a lesson for all the little children.

Cere

June 20th, 2011
2:45 pm

Oh how I envy APS!!! As much as I like Ramona Tyson personally, she has virtually no k-12 experience either! (She taught business ed at Lakeside HS for two years — that’s it folks!) She was never an AP, a principal, an area superintendent — nothing. She left DCSS to go work for IBM for while and returned to a glorious job at DCSS rising to Associate Superintendent over MIS — mind you – she has no formal training in technology either!

She’s a nice lady, and she did get some redistricting done – but we need a LEADER! Someone who will dig down and make some changes in order to move the EDUCATION of our 98,000 students forward. Not just for those at the good schools – the theme schools – or the magnet schools. Not just for the squeaky wheels. For ALL students.

Oh to have a leader like Mr. Davis! He’s a realist! He has a real degree from Carnegie Mellon! And a Chicago MBA! In FINANCE! He has experience as a corporate leader! As Chancellor, he knows what students are missing when they arrive at GA colleges! A leader like this can see through the clutter and into the real world – forging a path for students to follow.

Instead, in DeKalb – we remain in limbo with our “Accidental Superintendent”. Sigh!

Dunwoody Mom

June 20th, 2011
2:48 pm

Seriously?????

Another Good Teacher Bites the Dust

June 20th, 2011
2:49 pm

Oh gosh, let me get some of this dust off. Can we keep him? Do we have to have one of those others?

catlady

June 20th, 2011
3:05 pm

I am afraid Mr. Davis will be over his head.

Atlanta Parent

June 20th, 2011
3:05 pm

Bringing in someone from the leadership ranks of APS seems like it would cause more problems. At lease having someone on the outside of APS provides some objectivity when moving forward with the cheating investigation. I think most Atlanta parents and stakeholders would find it difficult trust any leader who has been a part of Dr. Hall’s administration.

Another Voice

June 20th, 2011
3:09 pm

Most important thing he can do is SERIOUSLY re-vamp the organizational structure. There are far too many Chiefs at the Central Office. Look at http://www.open.georgia.gov/ and search Local Boards of Education for Atlanta Independent School District. FOURTEEN Directors of Curriculum, with salaries in the $115K to $188K range (and a few that appear to have been paid for a part-year). SEVEN Deputy or Associate Superintendents. You can see endless examples of waste. Clean this up … if the “span of control” of a direct report to the superintendent isn’t 5 or more managerial employees, then eliminate the position and consolidate the roles.

Cere

June 20th, 2011
3:11 pm

Yes, seriously.

Chris

June 20th, 2011
3:15 pm

Why shouldn’t Mr. Davis be given a opportunity to lead the school system. His credentials from corporate America to academia are exceptional. Our kids don’t always need a Ph.D or Ed.D in education at the helm of the school system to make a difference in their educational experience. Mr. Davis has been in leadership posts for the majority of his career, surely he quantify this experience in aiding and helping the students in the Atlanta Public System. Oftentimes we criticize these leaders before they are given a chance to make a difference. I wish him all best and hopefully this will be a turning point for the greater Atlanta community.

Dunwoody Mom

June 20th, 2011
3:17 pm

Mr. Davis has plenty of boardroom experience, but ZERO classroom experience and only 5 years worth of education experience.

Dunwoody Mom

June 20th, 2011
3:20 pm

That being said, I hope he brings a steady hand to APS during his tenure – for the children’s sake.

Cere

June 20th, 2011
3:25 pm

Leadership is leadership. Check out who the Broad Foundation is seeking for their superintendent training program (the program all three APS finalists attended).

Senior Military, Corporate and Education Executives Selected for Superintendents Academy

The Broad Superintendents Academy has trained more working superintendents in large urban school districts than any other national training program. Since the academy was founded in 2002, graduates have filled 71 superintendent positions and 101 senior school district executive positions nationwide, including 36 percent of all external superintendent openings in large urban districts in the past two years. Two-thirds of Broad Superintendents Academy graduates who are currently serving as superintendents for three or more years are outperforming comparison groups in raising student achievement on state reading and math exams, closing achievement gaps and raising graduation rates.
“The largest public school systems are the size of Fortune 500 companies, when you consider budget, number of employees, and number of facilities,” said Eli Broad, founder of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, which funds The Broad Center. “We need superintendents who have effective CEO-level skills and who believe that their goal is to provide a world-class education that enables every child to compete successfully in the 21st century.”

http://www.broadfoundation.org/asset/1165-110208tbanewclass.pdf

Dunwoody Mom

June 20th, 2011
3:26 pm

Ah, yes, the Broad Foundation – where the only thing that matters are test scores.

Atlanta Parent

June 20th, 2011
3:28 pm

@ Another Voice. This is exactly why I get so tired of hearing that we need to spend more money on education. Seems like the more money taxpayers spend the more corrupt the districts become. I’d like to see our teachers get paid more while we cut the fat salaries and bonuses at the central office. Empowering, recruiting and paying for QUALITY teachers is the best chance we have to improve education in our state.

chillywilly

June 20th, 2011
3:33 pm

@Another Voice – Also take a look at the salaries of those overpaid, underperforming folks in Finance. Why do you need a CFO, Deputy CFO, Grants Manager, 2 (TWO) Accounting Managers, Director of Disbursements, Director of Treasury Services, 5 Accounting Supervisors, “Glorified Secretary”, and a high price contractor that sleeps underneath the desk?

Atlanta Parent

June 20th, 2011
3:40 pm

Wouldn’t be too concerned about whether Mr. Davis is an experienced educator or not as his job will be providing leadership to the school board. “The interim superintendent’s role, however, will be important: It likely will be his or her responsibility to help the board deal with the conclusion of a 10-month state probe into tampering on student achievement tests, which is expected to be released as soon as this month.”

I'm just sayin'

June 20th, 2011
3:42 pm

Isn’t Superintendent Heatley in Clayton a Broad graduate? No K-12 experience, but using a school system to fund his fun and terrorize employees.

hoe hum

June 20th, 2011
3:43 pm

mayb this is good thing, his experience in business; he could clean up the central office. Him not being in the classroom could be very good; simply let teachers teach. most great leaders know to let the people on the frontlines do their job.

does every general wait in the foxhole with the soldier to make sure his uniform meets code every morning

Here's One

June 20th, 2011
3:54 pm

@Cere – You are so correct. I saw Mrs. Tyson in the grocery store. While she is a very nice lady, she is not a superintendent and is not interested in becoming one. She is maintaining the status quo until and keeping things “afloat” until a superintendent is found. I wanted to cry. I have two children in DCSS.

Write Your Board Members

June 20th, 2011
3:54 pm

I think top people attract top talent. In a small system perhaps it is important to have a superintendent with ample education experience. In large systems, where you have a central office, I think it is less so.

Hire a great manager and let them attract great educators.

Former SPARK parent

June 20th, 2011
3:56 pm

Wait, am I the only one who did the homework and read Davis’s speech? Here are the money quotes (he was talking collegiate, but the words are just as relevant in K-12, if not moreso):

“Do we really want a situation to exist where those with money have access to…(a) first-rate education and those without the economic means…are shut out?”

And:

“If we don’t want that scenario to become the reality, we must start asking ourselves some tough questions…The general public, businesses, our funding partners in the legislature; many feel – rightly or wrongly – that we cost too much and turn out a product whose quality is inconsistent with its growing cost.”

Here’s a guy who clearly gets it. The entire system is foundering; half-measures won’t be enough. If that’s not enough for you, console yourself with the fact that if he comes in and DOESN’T preside over a massive cheating scandal and DOESN’T surround himself with an arrogant all-female mafia, we’re STILL upgrading.

Catlady, I’m surprised at you. This guy has real experience leading a high-stakes organization and managing legislators, college presidents (!) and other cats who don’t like to be herded. He’s OVERQUALIFIED to lead APS.

I’m shocked he said yes, and I hope we persuade him to stay forever.

Dunwoody Mom

June 20th, 2011
3:58 pm

@Write Your Board Members – that goes then to what kind of Superintendent do you want? Do you want one who surrounds himself/herself with top-notch people so that he/she does not have to get caught up in the everyday dealings of a school system and can leave people to do the jobs for which they were hired, or do you want a Superintendent whose hands are into every aspect of the school system?

Atlanta mom

June 20th, 2011
4:00 pm

Having an interim superintendent is the best thing that could happen to APS. Someone, with absolutely no dog in the fight, will get the cheating scandal report, be able to take action, and then walk away. Hopefully this gentleman is a man of action.

ANGELA

June 20th, 2011
4:07 pm

@Cere,

I am not sure that Ramona is such a nice person. Let’s look at the entire picture. She was right hand to Crawford, she has ask for a pay of over 230k as well as maintain her current pay and be an advisor to the new super, there has in no way form or fashion been any talk of putting teacher’s pay back to it regular or even a raise of any kind, the only reason the teaching staff obtain those funds this past school year is because SACS threatened them about it and also, there is a current law suit in motion regarding retirement, there is also, pending funds that must be given, also, every person they have selected to be a possible super there has always been some sort of drama, just look at the most recent and how information leaked out. Do you really believe that Ramona is really all of that tired. Also, let think back Crawford talked a wonderful game for years.

ARE THERE ANY WALDEN STUDENTS OUT THERE?
PLEASE CLICK ON THE BLOG SITE BELOW

http://collegeonlineeducation.blogspot.com

Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Proud Educator

June 20th, 2011
4:15 pm

“Leadership is Leadership” doesn’t always translate into success. There have been more failed superintendents from outside education than within. The hard bottom lines of the military and corporate world don’t translate well to education. That’s why we’re in the mess that we are in with NCLB. Children is a completely different commodity. By the way, the last big corporate type to take over an urbam system was Cathleen Black in NY. She resigned after two months.

Proud Educator

June 20th, 2011
4:17 pm

I meant “children are”…

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

June 20th, 2011
4:19 pm

Chancellor Davis strikes me as an honorable person. He will return honor to the APS superintendency, a position sorely in need of it..

catlady

June 20th, 2011
4:44 pm

former SPARK parent, I am sure Mr. Davis has many skills. However, I think the APS is going to be a very tough nut–too much disfunctionality too deeply ingrained. It’s one thing when you are protected like the Chancellor is from getting his hands dirty, but it is open season on superintendents. In addition, APS is a huge MESS. Finally, I think it is different to lead a group where everybody thinks they know more about your job than you do, than to lead a mostly voluntary organization like a college governance group. I’m not sure the Lord Himself would be too badly overqualified to untangle that mess!

However, I will remain hopeful. Perhaps he will clean house!

Vet Teach

June 20th, 2011
4:45 pm

I am pleased with the selection of Davis. Now let’s give him a chance to demonstrate his leadership skills. You never know – He might even let teachers teach!

Write Your Board Members

June 20th, 2011
4:46 pm

In a large school system, one person can’t do it all. DCSS desperately needs top notch people at all layers. To get those people will take a huge culture shift, one that probably can’t happen. But it certainly won’t happen if we don’t get a leader with tremendous management skills and the ability to attract and retain the very best employees.

Dunwoody Mom

June 20th, 2011
5:02 pm

@Write Your Board Members – agree…

Doris M

June 20th, 2011
5:36 pm

A good leader does not necessarily need experience in education to run APS. He can hire those with the proper educational experience. Remember, he is simply interim and you need a good leader in place while the Board works on securing the next superintendent.

Friend of Davis'

June 20th, 2011
5:58 pm

Davis is honest, smart and tough. He ’s also wealthy. He doesn’t need the job. So, he can clean up the mess without regard to the corruption that abounds. Erroll, get’r done!

Curious One

June 20th, 2011
6:22 pm

Davis did little to nothing as higher education chancellor – therefore, I am doubtful and think this is another dumb move ! Why the heck can’t they find a permanant superintendent ? Maybe the out of Control Board can answer the question ? APS is a mess of the making of the Hall and I fear that Davis is nothing but a figurehead !

KK

June 20th, 2011
6:45 pm

Excellent choice for interim! He immediatley needs to clear out Queen Bev’s cronies and ‘yes” men and women in administrative positions. We can not afford to hire anyone else who demands so much in the way of personal perks that hint at elitism. There are definitely too many people making too much money in the central office. APS must put itself in a position to hire forward thinking strategists who can use creativity and hard work to put the system’s children first. Everyone from teacher aides to top administrators need to be thoroughly vetted and booted unless they agree to get on board with more progressive ideas that will bring APS into the twenty – first century. Some of these schools are being run like schools of 50 or more years ago.

Vet Teach

June 20th, 2011
7:26 pm

Friend of Davis,
I wish there was “like” button for your comment!

APS Teacher

June 20th, 2011
7:43 pm

I am a teacher in APS and have no prior knowledge of Mr. Davis, but I welcome him with the hope that he “cleans house” during the interim. I work in a middle school and I witness the abuse of Title 1 monies by my principal to pay for instructional coaches that do absolutely nothing. This money would be better spent on programs or additional teachers. Additionally, APS is too top heavy. Central office has too many employees and many bring in big salaries (instructional coaches,model teachers, executive directors, coordinator of this or that, program manager etc.) yet teachers have not had a raise in years!!!

Atlanta Teacher

June 20th, 2011
7:47 pm

You mean to tell me that ABOE could only find three women to choose from. I was hoping for a change…I was hoping for a man.

Real Ph.D

June 20th, 2011
7:52 pm

@Angela. Why would anyone waste money at Walden or any other no name university when you have plenty of top rated universities in the metro area?

Vet Teach

June 20th, 2011
8:11 pm

@ Real PHD,
Because they’re not smart enought to earn a real PHD. Sadly, this is the trend of administrators in GA. The top dogs don’t want smart people – they just want puppets who will dance and cover up at the big boss’ wim!

Vet Teach

June 20th, 2011
8:13 pm

Greg

June 20th, 2011
8:23 pm

Hopefully, Davis will begin a long slow march towards integrity in leadership. He comes to the table with political skills, credibility and the savy necessary to navigate what has become a power struggle between the elite for control of the lucrative contracts APS awards. Nothing that has happened has anything to do with our children, its all about money and power. Davis can and will be able to out manuver the corrupt leadership at SACs, the power hungry ego manical mayor and the chamber crowd hungry for control of hundreds of millions of taxpayer’s money.

chillywilly

June 20th, 2011
8:58 pm

@ Greg – Amen to you big man.

Teacher Reader

June 20th, 2011
9:02 pm

The best superintendent I ever worked for was Paul Vallas in Chicago. He was not an educator, but always put the children first. Haven’t worked for an educator/superintendent who has done this.

ANGELA

June 20th, 2011
9:07 pm

@Real Ph.D,

There are many colleges out there that are just as good as Yale, Princeton, Emory, etc. Walden is on the may just like many of the other colleges with online programs. Believe it or not many of the prestigious colleges now have online courses. It is to encourage working parents to continue their education.

@ Vet Teach

What college did you attend? And, it is more than apparent that you are not up on the going thing in education. Just for the record I guess the world will be “dumb” because education is moving toward more and more computer based courses and that means in high, middle and even elementary schools. But, I am sure that you knew that! It is also, the going thing in Asian countries. Hugs!

ANGELA

June 20th, 2011
9:08 pm

Oops! on the map.

ASAP

June 20th, 2011
9:53 pm

DR T — WHERE R U? WHAT DO U THINK?

Vet Teach

June 20th, 2011
9:54 pm

Sorry Angela, I’ve never met an intelligent educator with a degree from Walden, but I’ve met many who obviously did not write their own papers. Just saying.
And yes, a person does not need to go Ivy League to get a great education.