Hinojosa Reveals Principal Hiring Plan
The Cobb County school board adds a third meeting in January to vote on a new chairman and vice chairman.
Superintendent Michael Hinojosa unveiled a two-to-three-month hiring process for principals aimed at combating the buddy system Wednesday.
The Cobb County School District plan would feature a more detailed application process and create school profiles to ensure a “leadership match” to help find candidates who fit a school’s culture.
A selection committee led by an area superintendent would include parents, teachers, students (for high school openings), counselors and district executives. Board of Education members would pick one of the two to three parents on the committee but would not be involved directly with the group.
“This is a very rigorous process,” Hinojosa told the school board during its monthly work session Wednesday.
Principal vacancies at Shallowford Falls Elementary and Griffin Middle will be the first to use the new process. Hinojosa, who created the “Request for Principal” plan 10 years ago, said he intends to monitor the process at both schools to ensure all steps are used.
Hinojosa said the district won’t use the process to pick assistant principal positions.
Board Chairwoman Alison Bartlett of Post 7, located south and west of Marietta, said she likes the new selection process and favors using it to hire area superintendents.
Bartlett asked Hinojosa whether he’s ending the district’s philosophy of moving principals every three or four years.
“I prefer to not move principals unless they’re not doing well,” he said. “If they want to apply for another position, then certainly it would be their choice. I’m not going to say we’re not going to recruit and ask them to apply because sometimes you have schools that have very few candidates.”
Hinojosa added that he plans to have a pool of retired principals ready for interim jobs. He also reserved the right to appoint someone in an emergency, something he said has occurred only four or five times in his 15 years as a superintendent.
Also at the meeting:
- The board added a third board meeting in January to elect a new chairman and vice chairman and give them time to prepare for their first work session. The new meeting is Jan. 11 at 5 p.m. The morning work session is Jan. 18, and the night meeting is Jan. 26. The board voted 5-2 for the changes; David Banks of East and Northeast Cobb’s Post 5 and Lynnda Crowder-Eagle of West Cobb’s Post 1 voted no.
- The board learned about the legal fees it pays and services it receives under its contract with Brock Clay Attorneys at Law. The 30-year-old Marietta firm has 18 lawyers who provide the district legal services in 15 educational law areas for $75,409 a month, which doesn’t cover litigation, discrimination, special education and bond services. Brock Clay has a 3 percent annual increase in its long-term contract with the district but hasn’t requested a rate change since 2008. The board asked district Chief Financial Officer Mike Addison to conduct a cost comparison between using an in-house attorney, who reports directly to the superintendent, and an out-of-house attorney, who reports to the board.
- The board moved three utility easements to the consent agenda and eight other items, including five school construction projects, to the discussion agenda for its Dec. 8 evening meeting.
- Deputy Superintendent of Leadership & Learning Alice Stouder discussed the district’s plans on optional career pathways. The recommended new career clusters are law, public safety, corrections and security; health care science; transportation, distribution and logistics; sustainable energy; manufacturing systems; and architecture and construction. Bartlett, who has taken a special interest in alternatives to the college track for Cobb students, urged Stouder to first pursue partnerships with large employers Lockheed Martin, WellStar Health System and Cobb County public safety agencies.
- The Georgia School Boards Association’s Stan DeJarnett gave a 29-minute presentation and asked the board to join more than 125 school boards across the state in adopting a resolution of support for the Vision for Public Education in Georgia project.
- Bartlett announced that Green Acres Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Marian Hoyt won a $1,000 Georgia Power New Teacher Assistance Grant. She is one of 40 recipients in the state.