Associate Superintendent Steven Smith is leaving APS at the end of June, but he will continue to provide transition consulting services for a six month period. In the regular monthly meeting, the Board voted to grant Smith a $114 thousand consulting contract to continue working with incoming superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen as she builds her team and takes over responsibility for the school district when she officially begin her duties on July 7th.
For more details on Smith’s background see the Saporta Report article here.
[Added] Also see the following news reports at these links:
Steve Smith Departs APS to Return to Private Sector – Talk Up APS
Smith is credited with providing executive oversight of the district’s daily operations, collaborating with the superintendent to stabilize and rebuild the school system following a national test cheating crisis and cultivating productive staff-board relations as the administration’s primary point of contact to the Atlanta Board of Education.
“As my right hand, Steve has helped to shepherd Atlanta Public Schools through a difficult transition,” Davis said in a statement. “As he returns to the private sector, I am confident that he will continue to be an asset to APS and a champion for education.”
Comments – I will add that the process followed by the Board last night was a bit strange. First, Mr. Smith’s name was not included in the Personnel Gains and Losses Report and, as of this morning; his name is still not on the list. Second, the agenda item for his consulting contract was not added until shortly before the Board meeting, although it was strongly rumored last week that his exit from APS was pending. So in essence, the Board voted to grant a consulting contract to an APS employee whose departure has not yet been ratified by the Board in the Gains and Losses Report. It is almost as if the entire event was intentionally downplayed and kept out of the public domain until the last-minute when the consulting contract was approved.
It is interesting to note that the current Board and administration are following the same distressing pattern established by the prior Board. It is now becoming common for items that may be controversial to not be added to the meeting agenda or the attached schedules until just before the Board meeting. This was the case with Smith’s contract, the principal announcements (see here) and the waiver request for the new Therrell principal (see here).
Are we supposed to believe that none of these items were known when the original agenda was published last Thursday? Or to believe that all these items were only confirmed just prior to releasing the updated agenda a 10:50 yesterday morning?
As voters we heard about transparency during the election and that the candidates wanted to hear from their constituents on important matters before voting on them – the withholding of important information from the public until the last-minute does not meet this standard.
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