DeKalb school district seeking to hire for 3 top positions

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

The DeKalb County School District is seeking to fill three cabinet-level positions: heads of the finance, human resources and operations divisions.

The state’s third-largest district is no stranger to turnover in top positions. Interim Superintendent Vasanne Tinsley is the seventh person to lead the district since 2010.

But it’s been similarly difficult to retain leaders as some departments have recently weathered controversy.

ExploreIn DeKalb school district, revolving door of superintendents a constant

The district’s last chief of human resources, Bernice Gregory, resigned in 2019 amid concerns that employees weren’t receiving the raises they were supposed to. The superintendent at the time said the human resources department needed “a total inside-out overhaul.” Only interim chiefs have led the department since then, a district spokesman told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Most recently, interim Chief Human Resources Officer Michelle Jones was reassigned to a different position. A state audit and a board-commissioned investigation raised concerns that the district gave unearned bonuses to employees using federal pandemic aid.

The district brought in Tekshia Ward-Smith, a former chief of human resources for DeKalb schools, to help identify and address staffing needs in the district this summer.

The last chief operations officer was D. Ben Estill, who was “relieved of his duties” in 2021 without explanation. He is currently suing the district, alleging that he was fired after raising concerns about the mismanagement of funds.

Richard Boyd has filled in the interim role since then, leading the department through recent public outcry over the facility conditions at Druid Hills High School.

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Lastly, Chief Financial Officer Charles Burbridge is planning to retire. He was hired by then-Superintendent Cheryl Watson-Harris in 2020. Previously, the interim position was held by retired chief financial officer for Fulton schools Robert Morales. He left the position at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic after filling the role for three months.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated that the school board approved the use of a hiring firm to fill these positions. The board did not vote on the issue.