DeKalb Schools set to lose another key leader

Knox Phillips
Knox Phillips

Another member of DeKalb County School District Superintendent Steve Green’s cabinet will soon depart the district, according to several school board members.

Knox Phillips, associate superintendent in the accountability office, will apparently remain with the district through the end of 2019 in a consulting role before moving on.

District officials, when contacted recently, declined to confirm Phillips’ departure.

“As a policy, (the DeKalb County School District) does not comment on personnel matters,” officials said in a statement. “Any references to specific employees is a break in this policy.”

Phillips was elevated to the associate superintendent position in 2018 after nearly five years in various administrative leadership positions. Before coming to the district’s central office, Phillips was an assistant principal at Sequoyah Middle School. He also previously served the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents, the University of Phoenix, Morehouse College and Miami Dade College in teaching and administrative roles.

DeKalb County Board of Education member Vickie B. Turner said she is glad the school district found a way to keep Phillips on as his replacement is sought.

“You never want to lose good people,” she said. “We’re in the posture of restoring confidence from a community, internally with our stakeholders. It gives you a bit of a jolt when you lose senior-level staff … (who) impact outcomes. He’s been a valuable asset to the district.”

Phillips is the sixth of nine top cabinet members to depart in the last year.

DeKalb County School District also has four vacant chief positions for its legal, operations, human resources and information technology divisions. The communications chief position, previously held by Eileen Houston-Stewart, was eliminated.

Since the beginning of 2017, about 10 department heads and regional superintendents left their posts for various reasons, including reassignment, retirement and new opportunities outside the school district.

Former chief human capital management officer Leo Brown was reassigned to a position in the operations division in February 2017. District officials said Brown missed nearly three months of work before being reassigned upon his return. He resigned from the district in January.

Former chief academic and accountability officer Lisa Martin abruptly resigned in January 2018 after less than two years on the job.

Former regional superintendent Rachel Zeigler retired at the end of the 2017-2018 school year.

Joshua Williams, the former chief operations officer, left in July 2018. Gary Brantley, the district’s former chief information officer, left in October. Ramona Tyson, the previous chief of staff, took a reassignment where she now reports to the school board.

Jennifer Hackemeyer, the former chief legal officer, retired at the end of December. Former chief human capital management officer Bernice Gregory resigned in January.

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