Governor Nathan Deal announced the names of six new DeKalb County School Board members during a news conference late Wednesday morning.
Deal named David Campbell (District 5), Joyce Morley (District 7), Michael Erwin (District 3), John Coleman (District 1), Karen Carter (District 8), and Thaddeus Mayfield (District 9) to replace the six board members he removed as the school district faces the potential loss of accreditation.
"We believe we have laid the future for the DeKalb School System. We expect good results will come from this. I believe people have entered into this process with good faith. With that expectation, I expect great results," said Deal.
A special panel began reviewing more than 400 candidates for the DeKalb board late last week, and 63 were interviewed. With the school district's accreditation at stake, the pressure has been on to get new board members in place as soon as possible.
The State Board of Education recommended suspension of six of nine DeKalb County School Board members following a 14-hour hearing last month.
Deal says the six new board members were sworn in during a ceremony at the DeKalb County School District headquarters.
"I wanted this job because I wanted to serve our students -- 99,000 students who deserve the opportunity to grow and be talented," Karen Carter said.
Three of the six have business backgrounds, including John Coleman of Invesco, David Campbell of Georgia Power and Thad Mayfield of FOCOM.
"I bring business skills. I have been at Georgia Power now for almost 30 years," Campbell said.
The three board members who weren't removed by Gov. Deal, as well as Superintendent Michael Thurmond said they are pleased.
"We are just happy to get back to work. We have been unable to perform any officials business during this time and I know that's been frustrating for a lot of people in this county and it's been frustrating for us," said Marshal Orson.
"A new day is dawning in DeKalb County and the DeKalb County school district," Thurmond said.
The head of the accrediting agency SACS praised the governor's action. Dr. Mark Elgart said DeKalb County residents should be encouraged by the quality of the new board members.
"Our next steps with them are to meet with the new board, to meet with the superintendent, to start to provide training on what they need to do and how expeditiously they need to do it in, to help them to understand the problems that are challenging the system right now and what is expected of the governing bodies to improve the situations," Elgart said.
The SACS chief has suggested the state consider adjusting the law on removing school board members to allow more time to consider intervention and include student achievement as a basis for school board removal.
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