Green: ‘We know the things we need to do’ for success in DeKalb schools

R. Stephen Green, the presumptive next superintendent for DeKalb County Schools, said Wednesday that his initial focus would be on what’s happening in classrooms throughout the district.

“We need to make sure teachers and students are engaged … and to make sure students have what they need to succeed,” Green said Wednesday at DeKalb County Schools headquarters in Stone Mountain.

It’s been a busy two months for Green. The current Kansas City Public Schools chief said he applied for the DeKalb job in late March. He was declared a semifinalist after 120 candidates were whittled down to eight by the district’s board of education and a Community Liaison Committee, a group of parents and county residents.

Green said the board notified him that he would be its sole finalist shortly after the board interviewed the remaining candidates May 1 and 2 at the Sheraton Atlanta Airport Hotel.

The board cannot offer Green a contract until May 27, 14 days after announcing him as its finalist.

Green is in the middle of a five-year contract with Kansas City, which would keep him there until June 2018. He had started with the district in August 2011 as interim superintendent and took the permanent post in 2012.

Green, if hired, would take over a district nearly seven times the size of the one he’s leaving. While the districts are different in size, their demographic make-up and some of the issues are the same. Officials from Kansas City Public Schools said a focus on student progress and making district employees feel heard while in Kansas City helped improve test scores and boost morale. Student enrollment for this year was up slightly.

“We know the things we need to do here,” Green said, saying he hoped to pick up where current Superintendent Michael Thurmond left off. “We’re going to make sure those things gets done.”

Among his community engagement tactics in Kansas City were “On the Scene with Green” meetings where he invited parents and school supporters to talk about what they fest were issues in the district.

The move to Georgia comes with personal perks. Green said two of his four children live in the Atlanta area, as well as three of his four grandchildren.

My wife and I said “if an opportunity presented itself, we should at least apply for it. This presented itself, so I threw my name in the hat.

“Fortunately, things fell together.”

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