Dr. Trotter, Who Do You Think Will Become DeKalb’s New Superintendent?
You asked the question. Here is Dr. John Trotter’s response…
I have felt all along that the DeKalb Board of Education would pick Arthur Culver. Davis apparently saw the handwriting on the wall and withdrew her name. I don’t think that Dr. Lillie Cox of Hickory, North Carolina was ever a serious thought. I personally think that she was just thrown into the mix to diversify the pool of three finalists. I have always thought that the board has known all along who it wants, but it is just going through motions to try to make people feel good about its selection. I presume that the school board will makes its selection known this coming Monday evening.
Arthur Culver will be like a souped-up Johnny Brown. He will be a slasher not unlike J. Jerome Harris when he came to Atlanta from Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn in the late 1980s. Slashers tend to make everyone in the system live on pens and needles. Slasher-type superintendents tend shake up things but accomplish very little in the long run. Smoke and mirrors. Revolving doors. More fires and more hires (especially the cronies brought in) don’t necessarily equate with success but naive school board members actually convince themselves that something good is happening, but the only people who benefit are physicians treating stress-related illnesses and pharmacies selling drugs dealing with stress-induced conditions.
I have seen them come and go…Jim Fox in Fulton; Jim Burns in Muscogee; J. Jerome Harris and Beverly Hall (almost gone) in Atlanta; Tom Tocco in Cobb; Johnny Brown in DeKalb; that lady whose name I forget in Decatur City; Joe Hairston and Barbara Pulliam in Clayton; that Broughton fellow in his short stay in Fayette; and that General in Cobb, just to name a few.
It’s easy to be a slasher. As an administrator (especially a superintendent!), you have positional authority and power over subordinates and their jobs and even careers. It is so very easy to create an atmosphere wherein subordinates fear you. This takes no skill at all. As an administrator, I wasn’t interested in having the school staff fear me; I wanted, instead, to have the people to respect me. Earning respect is much more of an arduous undertaking than establishing an atmosphere of fear. I suspect, however, that Arthur Culver will take the easy, worn-out path of “fear and trembling.” I think that he will be another one of those “turn and burn” superintendents. (c) MACE, April 17, 2011.