DeKalb administrator-author agrees to 10-day suspension

A DeKalb County school administrator has agreed to serve a 10-day suspension for selling a book he wrote about himself to five local schools, including two that were under his direct supervision.

The suspension was negotiated and approved earlier this month by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, the state agency that licenses and regulates teachers, Gary Walker, director of the PSC's educator ethics division, said on Wednesday.

In July 2010, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Ralph Simpson wrote a book about himself in 2007 and found a ready-made market to sell it in the DeKalb school system.

Simpson sold more than $12,560 worth of copies of the book, "From Remedial to Remarkable," to five schools, including 605 to Miller Grove High School in Lithonia, where he had once been principal.

Interim School Superintendent Ramona Tyson demoted Simpson from area assistant superintendent to assistant principal after the AJC report. She also demoted Selina Carol Thedford, Simpson's successor at Miller Grove, from principal to assistant principal.

The PSC also imposed a 10-day suspension this month on Thedford. It was determined she bought the books for the school from Simpson and split invoices to avoid closer scrutiny of the purchases, said Jeff Dickerson, school system spokesman.

Tyson has pushed through a new ethics policy that prohibits using public funds to buy goods or services from district employees. Employee training on the new policy starts this year, Dickerson said.