Professional Standards Commission investigating DeKalb superintendent

DeKalb School Superintendent Steve Green speaks at the school board’s meeting Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. EMILY HANEY /

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DeKalb School Superintendent Steve Green speaks at the school board’s meeting Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. EMILY HANEY /

DeKalb County School District Superintendent Steve Green is under investigation by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, officials confirmed.

Professional Standards Commission officials would not comment on why they are investigating Green, citing the ongoing investigation.

“There is an active investigation against Mr. Green,” officials said via email.

District officials said Green only is involved in a current investigation through his capacity as superintendent. They confirmed the district received a request from the state agency for information regarding the terminations of several employees.

“There is no pending complaint, contention or claim that Superintendent Green personally engaged in any individual wrongdoing as he is not involved in the decision making processes regarding which terminations to report to the PSC,” district officials said Wednesday. “We look forward to working with the PSC to ensure they have a full opportunity to review the terminations of certificated personnel.”

Green was chosen as the sole finalist to lead the DeKalb County School District in 2015. He came to metro Atlanta from Kansas City, where he had led the public school district  of about 16,000 students for three years.

DeKalb County’s school district has about 102,000 students, according to the district.

The Georgia Professional Standards Commission investigates certifications when it is believes someone has violated one of its 10 standards, which include abiding by federal, state and local laws, maintaining professional relationships with students and demonstrating professional conduct, among other things.

Green was called a change agent when he first arrived, but little has come to fruition under his leadership. The district boasts its highest graduation rate, but standardized test scores are flat and teacher turnover continues at the highest rate among metro Atlanta school districts.

The district has come under fire for its hiring, with the district employing hundreds of teachers through certification waivers, which allow uncertified teachers to lead classrooms. Many were supposed to work toward full certification, but many remain on staff without clearly laid out certification paths.

Several hires in recent years that came under fire were eventually found to have been avoidable by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, including a teacher forced to resign in late 2017 after The AJC reported she had been fired from a previous district for allegedly abusing students. Another teacher was forced to retire in 2016 but was rehired in 2017 as a substitute despite a note in her personnel file stating she could no longer be employed by the district. A high school math teacher was hired in 2018 after abruptly leaving several jobs at different metro Atlanta school districts. He later walked off the job at Tucker High School and was allowed to resign.

None of those teachers was reported to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission for standards violations.

Neither was Michael De'Sean White, taken out of his classroom in handcuffs last year and charged in a 2016 gang-related double-homicide.

Green's cabinet has been in a bit of upheaval as well, with the reassignment of the chief of staff and losses of the chief operations officer, chief information officerchief legal officer, chief human capital management officer and chief communications and community relations officer in the last 10 months.