Leo Brown

Where is DeKalb County schools’ director of human resources?

The DeKalb County School District’s human resources head, who arrived 14 months ago to address why teachers leave and how the district can hire the best candidates for its children, has been inexplicably absent.

Leo Brown, the district’s chief human capital management officer, has not been seen in the district’s administrative offices since before December’s winter break. 

District officials did not respond to emails last week about his employment status or where he’s been. He was not present for the DeKalb County Board of Education’s meetings in January or last week, as he typically would be.

Brown has said he’s dispatched employees to job fairs and through partnerships with colleges while seeking teachers for hard-to-fill positions. The district has hired about 70 uncertified teachers since being awarded Strategic Waiver School System status, which allows flexibility from some state rules while holding districts to more strict standards. The district, however, has more vacancies (58.5) than it did this time last year (53.5), without employing uncertified teachers.

Board members have addressed ongoing recruitment woes and morale problems with increased frequency in recent months, questioning Brown about the continuing trend of job openings and what’s being done to step up recruiting efforts.

Brown didn’t arrive at the school district with the best fanfare.

Brown, whose previous employment included a stint with Kansas City Public Schools, was announced as an interim human resources director in January, along with two other interim directors who also had previously worked with Superintendent Steve Green at Kansas City Public Schools.

A search firm was tasked with finding candidates for several jobs and paid more than $100,000 to do so. But the jobs went to candidates selected by Green and suggested by others at the school district.

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