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Superintendent finalist comes from troubled system

Saturday, Aug 9, 2014 5:49 PM
Last updated Sunday, Aug 10, 2014 2:58 PM
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Angela Pringle, the finalist for Richmond County superintendent, says her experience will transfer well to Au­gusta’s schools but won’t say how or what skills she has that will change the system for the better.

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Angela Pringle, a regional superintendent in DeKalb County, has been chosen as the sole finalist for Richmond County superintendent.  Jason Getz/Atlanta-Journal Constitution
Jason Getz/Atlanta-Journal Constitution
Angela Pringle, a regional superintendent in DeKalb County, has been chosen as the sole finalist for Richmond County superintendent.

Richmond County Board of Education members picked her as the sole finalist but won’t discuss why they feel she’s the best candidate, citing legal complications.

Board members haven’t even reached an agreement with Pringle about her pay and say they want to interview her again before hiring her to replace Frank Roberson, whose $170,000 contract was not renewed and ends his four-year stay as superintendent Aug. 22.

The only thing certain is that the board announced Pringle would be the only candidate out of 37 applicants the board will consider. As for everything else? No comment.

Pringle, through her assistant, refused a request for a telephone interview last week. After a second request, she sent an e-mail that said: “I am honored to have been selected as a finalist for the position of Superintendent for the Richmond County Schools. Once the Board of Education has taken final action to hire a new superintendent, I will be available to speak to you and community members. Thank you for reaching out.”

Board members have similarly been hesitant to talk, saying hiring laws prevent them from commenting on their choice until the search is concluded.

“We’re not allowed to comment until this whole thing is over,” Chairwoman Venus Cain said. “We’ve been legally advised to not comment yet.”

A picture of what Pringle did in DeKalb County, where she is a region superintendent, can be sketched by looking at news stories and application documents and talking to employees who have worked alongside her.

Pringle has been working in the DeKalb County school system since 2007, beginning as a high school principal and working her way up to Region 2 superintendent in 2010. She oversees 18,000 students in 23 elementary schools, three middle schools, five high schools and two alternative programs. Two of the high schools she oversees offer International Baccalaureate programs, and one is a performing arts school. She helps manage a $7.7 million budget and 1,927 employees.

Pringle’s school system has struggled with allegations of corruption, but she has been credited by some with playing a role in its turnaround.

According to a story by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the DeKalb County Board of Education was rocked with allegations of nepotism and corruption in 2012. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools said the school board had “harassed” employees, violated the chain of command and mismanaged finances, blaming a toxic culture.

SACS placed the system on probation and threatened to remove its accreditation if improvement wasn’t shown in a year.

As a region superintendent, Pringle helped lead the charge to save the system’s accreditation status, said Quinn Hudson, the DeKalb County school system’s director of communications.

“She was one of the people spearheading our Strategic Planning Process,” Hudson said. “She managed a great deal of the process. She was in charge of organizing all of our public hearings. Last year, she helped create an advisory group for us of over 50 people, who ranged from teachers, community members and other staff. It was a major undertaking.”

DeKalb County succeeded in removing its probationary status in January.

Pringle has also dealt personally with adversity. When she was principal of Arabia Mountain High School in 2011, she was investigated by the school system after a parent complained that a student was allowed to participate in the school graduation without obtaining the proper number of credits, according to a story by WSB-TV in Atlanta. Pringle and other school officials were cleared of wrongdoing. A request to the DeKalb County district attorney’s office for records in the case was not immediately fulfilled.

According to her superintendent application documents, Pringle has spent 17 years as a principal in elementary, middle and high schools. She also founded a DeKalb County magnet school of her own in August 2009 – Arabian Mountain High School, which had an “environmental and engineering” theme. It won the National Green School Award from the U.S. Department of Education in 2010.

Pringle says her experience in DeKalb could benefit Richmond County. Both systems have similar population demographics and challenges with poverty, even though DeKalb is much larger.

Both school systems also have minority populations well over 50 percent.

Both counties have similar poverty rates, 20.1 percent for Richmond and 18.6 percent for DeKalb, according to the U.S. Census. Both also have high numbers of students receiving reduced-cost meals.

The school systems have a large number of Title I schools: 102 of the 127 schools in DeKalb County and 40 of the 56 schools in Richmond County fall under the classification, which receive extra federal funding.

“The attributes I believe I possess that will ensure success as the Superintendent of Rich­mond County Schools are my abilities to develop a collective vision, shape culture and climate … and my ability to serve as an articulate spokesperson for the district in diverse situations on behalf of all students,” Pringle said in her application.

DeKalb County Superin­tendent Michael Thurmond did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.

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Little Lamb
47968
Points
Little Lamb 08/09/14 - 05:40 pm
6
1
Working her way up

Working in a troubled school system should not be a disqualifier to become superintendent here. She was obviously thought well of in DeKalb, as they promoted her several times. She is no bureaucrat, as she worked her way up in the trenches of day-to-day education.

I say, give her a chance.

Pops
12440
Points
Pops 08/09/14 - 05:58 pm
11
0
If the parents and students

would fulfill their roles as good parents and good students, Pee Wee Herman could do a good job as superintendent.....I personally feel no one stands a chance in that job.....

AutumnLeaves
9599
Points
AutumnLeaves 08/09/14 - 10:05 pm
8
3
What about Tim Spivey? He's

What about Tim Spivey? He's already been doing the job, and doing it well, why isn't he being considered?

dichotomy
36275
Points
dichotomy 08/09/14 - 10:09 pm
16
1
"Pringle would be the only

"Pringle would be the only candidate out of 37 applicants the board will consider."

I'm trying to figure out what this means. Out of 37 applicants there is ONLY one that they will even consider? Does that mean that the word is out on the RC school system and the really good candidates out there did not even apply? Were 36 of the applicants so bad that the board would not even consider them? I am just looking for an explanation of the statement that out of 37, Pringle would be the only one considered.

It's just hard for me to believe that out of 37 applicants ONE would be so good that nobody else even came close.....unless it is true that the word is out on the RC school system and most qualified applicants do not want to even apply here.

Truth Matters
7825
Points
Truth Matters 08/10/14 - 12:52 am
3
16
"...unless it is true that

"...unless it is true that the word is out on the RC school system and most qualified applicants do not want to even apply here."

And where would anyone get that idea? Maybe from the endless negative comments about Augusta and Richmond County from mostly people who live in neither.

Young Fred
19382
Points
Young Fred 08/10/14 - 01:31 am
7
3
How much did Pringle know

How much did Pringle know about the cheating scandal that rocked Atlanta a few years back?

The DeKalb county director of communications, is not what I would call an impartial source.

I'm sorry, but either Pringle had no clue what was going on, or she knew. Neither bodes well.

The Richmond County BoE should think outside the box for a change.

corgimom
36720
Points
corgimom 08/10/14 - 05:11 am
4
6
So if she asks for a large

So if she asks for a large salary, does that mean that she'll get it, or if she refuses the salary offer, then....what?

Young Fred, common sense tells you that there is cheating going on, because 1) people are people and 2) the way the system is set up, it practically demands it and 3) when you put people's jobs at risk and tie compensation to the test scores of CHILDREN, then yes, cheating will happen. It goes on all over.

justthefacts
24011
Points
justthefacts 08/10/14 - 03:52 pm
8
1
Dekalb County Cheating scandal

Corgimon, you should probably educate yourself on the topic. It doesn't happen, in this magnitude "all over".

nocnoc
47258
Points
nocnoc 08/10/14 - 06:37 am
5
3
Could we get a picture of MR. & MRS Angela Pringle?

Is there a Mr. Pringle?
I am not implying the L word here.

Just trying to see if the future Superintendent personally understands the issues families on a 1st hand level,
or if she is solely a just Admin/educator.

Maybe the AC could do a FLUFF piece with some personal background info.

Riverman1
90603
Points
Riverman1 08/10/14 - 06:36 am
7
1
Explanation in Order

Dichotomy hits upon a puzzling aspect. What in the world is it about when the other 36 are not even considered? An explanation is in order. Is it true that most of them backed out?

ironpurps
212
Points
ironpurps 08/10/14 - 06:39 am
6
2
Local is better

Local is better. It takes years for the new person to learn the system, personalities, etc. There are excellent candidates right here in the county. Tim Spivey, Jason Moore of Cross Creek are two that come to mind. Nepotism can be a problem but there is a policy in place for that. I'm just hoping the BOE is color-blind and hiring the best person available.

Riverman1
90603
Points
Riverman1 08/10/14 - 06:45 am
7
0
The No Race Factor

The comments the other day about whether she is white or black were hilarious. One would say she is black and another would say she is white. Maybe this is the future of candidates in racially divided districts of all kinds? Pick one whose race is hard to determine. Is that why the other 36 were thrown out?

nocnoc
47258
Points
nocnoc 08/10/14 - 07:09 am
3
1
How other DCSS parents viewed her

NOTE:
Many feel she handled an academic matter involving the daughter of mega-church Bishop Eddie Long, in a bias manner (DCSS Politics) http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/credit-probe-delays-diploma-for-eddie-lon...

Mega-church Bishop Eddie Long & Dr. Beasley's names keeps popping up and many feel there was issues at play in the background for her selection and some dealings.

http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/2011/07/credit-probe-delays-diplom...

OTHER EXAMPLES:
Dr. Pringle came to the metro Atlanta area from Virgina. She was hired from Gwinnett to be the principal at Stephenson (ironically after Beasley left to go to Texas with Dr. Brown). She was the first principal for Arabia Mountain. She was hired as an area superintendent during her second year at Arabia Mountain. A nationwide search was done for a replacement principal however none was found. She was asked to do two jobs until a replacement could be found. It also gave her the opportunity to participate in the first graduation ceremony for Arabia Mountain.

There is a lot more that will probably never see the light of day. Why did Lewis bring in Pringle when he did? She was having problems at Gwinnett at the time. Why was she appointed to take over from Simp without a credible, transparent national search for a high-ranking adminstartive positon? How strong is New Birth's influence at Arabia Mountain? Why does AM get so many special priviliges in the system? Why was Pringle allowed to choose the new AM principal?

Stephenson did not make AYP in math in 2006/7, a transition year between Dr. Beasley and Dr. Pringle when another principal (name escapes me) was in place most of the year. Even before that, I believe the math scores had been sliding but still meeting the AYP standard. Dr. Pringle turned that around while she was there; when she left, it reverted and began falling again.

DESPITE THE ARC PARENTS BEING PROVIDED LIMITED BACKGROUND INFO

Like it or not, Dr. Pringle had a lot to do with the successes at Stephenson while she was there.

Just read the overall comments at:
http://dekalbschoolwatch.blogspot.com/

just an opinion
2839
Points
just an opinion 08/10/14 - 07:40 am
7
0
seenitB4
93707
Points
seenitB4 08/10/14 - 07:51 am
3
1
Give her a chance please

She has been to hell & back in DeKalb county...Richmond county can't throw anything her way that she hasn't seen already..

She is right for this job...imho.

AutumnLeaves
9599
Points
AutumnLeaves 08/10/14 - 09:49 am
1
1
Why are we not promoting from

Why are we not promoting from within? Tim Spivey is doing the job just fine now; why isn't he being considered? If he doesn't want the job, please let us know, otherwise some people might jump to a wrong conclusion. I'm wondering, myself. I used to hear some of the elderly black women in this community about 11 years ago at a senior center bragging that their children were going to make sure that Richmond County became "all black from the politicians on down" is how they put it. Is that the goal? Is that why Tim Spivey is being excluded or does he not want the job? Reading what Kingsley Riley had to say about wanting all blacks in positions of authority here just backs up what those seniors were saying.

Darby
28379
Points
Darby 08/10/14 - 10:22 am
2
0
"Hire the best person for the job...

Regardless of race."

.
Agreed. Now, how can the folks be assured this is happening when no one at any level wants to "TALK" until all the appropriate letters of the alphabet have been dotted and crossed?

Don't you just love the intrigue?

Gage Creed
18871
Points
Gage Creed 08/10/14 - 10:32 am
0
0
Finalists

I guess the truth doesn't matter here...

Define Finalist
fi·nal·ist [fahyn-l-ist]
noun
a person entitled to participate in the final or decisive contest in a series, as in musical or athletic competition.

So if Dr. Pringle does not win, do we go to sudden death?

Darby
28379
Points
Darby 08/10/14 - 10:49 am
4
0
"She is right for this job...imho."

Do you know something that no one else does?

There's certainly not a lot of transparency going on down at the Board of Education.

Sweet son
11086
Points
Sweet son 08/10/14 - 11:39 am
4
0
Write this down!

If this lady is hired it will be a bumpy road!

Everything about this hiring form the Board to the candidate is sketchy.

eschamb
154
Points
eschamb 08/10/14 - 11:48 am
1
1
Waht the heck

We voted in Obama as President. What the heck over? Can't be any worse that who was in office before her.

showboat
365
Points
showboat 08/10/14 - 12:55 pm
0
0
None of the BOE members are
Unpublished

None of the BOE members are talking, on why there is only one final individual for this job. Mr. Spivey did apply for the job. If they hire this lady it will be a shame, you can't tell me that she didn't know about the cheating that was going on in the school system, and who checked her background, one BOE member said he didn't know anything about the investgation about Eddie Long child.

seenitB4
93707
Points
seenitB4 08/10/14 - 01:54 pm
2
1
Darby

DeKalb county has been sinking with corruption in the last years...some in jail & more will go probably...anyone who can come through this & still have a clean slate is an oddity..I give her credit for that...Gov Deal replaced many on the board a few years back...

Recently it has improved & seems to prosper with new leaders, I'm hoping she has seen enough to learn from their mistakes. I don't know anything about Richmond county & the reason they chose her.

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