By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
School board hiring practices questioned
Placeholder Image
Editor,  A fact sheet distributed at the Liberty County Board of Education’s recent town hall meeting basically has all the information I have shared in my letters thus far and even if the “fact” has not been mentioned in a letter, you can certainly find the information the school board shared on their sheet at Web sites for which I have shared addresses.
I did find it interesting that the first “fact” on their sheet was relating to the past six years of adequate yearly progress. The sheet showed the number of schools that did/did not show progress. I discerned that during the past six years we have not had 100 percent of our schools making AYP, meaning our school district has not made AYP.
I attribute the problems with making AYP to the lack of experience and training of those employees the school board members vote to place in leadership positions.
The past several years the elected members of the Liberty County Board of Education have seemed indifferent to assuring that our educational leaders are trained to do the job for which they have been assigned. For example, for many years now the school board members have regularly promoted employees who have not remained in one position long enough to gain the experience needed to assure that they can be successful leading in a higher leadership position. It has not been uncommon for our school board members to promote an assistant principal after a few months at that level to a principal or central office position. These employees have not had nearly enough time to work with an experienced leader to learn how to schedule, budget monies, handle discipline, or evaluate employees before being promoted to a higher level.
One example of our school board’s current hiring practices is an employee who served as an assistant principal for one year and was then promoted to a director position over special education students. That same employee was promoted by the superintendent when he announced at a principal’s meeting that she was promoted to assistant superintendent before the job was opened for applications. Her new job description included overseeing technology, personnel, maintenance, and facilities where she was responsible for construction of buildings and a new football field. Clearly she was not assigned these duties as a special education director to obtain the experience needed to do the assistant superintendent job yet the school board approved her for the position.
Other examples of such promotions approved by the local board members are: a high school assistant principal made a principal of an elementary school, a pre-k teacher made an assistant principal of a middle school, assistant principals with two years experience each promoted to be principals, an employee with a bachelor’s degree in accounting made an assistant superintendent and the list goes on.
How can our elected school board members hold these people responsible in leading our school system and schools when they have not made sure they are hiring the most qualified candidates and those trained to do the job?
Another issue I have with the employees the school board promotes into leadership positions is the lack of concern that they seem to have assuring that a school or central office leader is a member of the community. Clearly our school board members do not expect the top salaries within our school system to be active members of the community, living here and paying into our tax base. Examples include: the deputy superintendent lives in Claxton; a title one coordinator and former interim superintendent lives in Jesup; the executive director of exceptional learners lives in Brooklet; the assistant director of exceptional learners lives in Ludowici; the director of curriculum lives in Jesup; the director of nutrition lives in Townsend; and, the director of transportation lives in Richmond Hill. There are four principals who have primary residences outside of our county. How does a principal lead a school yet they live in Savannah or Pooler and are not seen out in our community shopping in our stores, going to our churches, etc.? There are seven assistant principals that live outside of Liberty County. One middle school has a principal that lives in Savannah and the assistant principal lives in Richmond Hill. Who answers the 3 a.m. 911 calls for that school? How can these people be committed to our county and make sure that our children have the best education possible when they are not committed enough to live here? How many of their children go to or have gone to our schools?
Remember, we can replace four of the board members in November.

Bucky Keel

Sign up for our e-newsletters