Cheryl Atkinson Out, Michael Thurmond In as DeKalb County Schools Superintendent


20130209-073624.jpgCheryl Atkinson is out and former Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond is in as leader of the DeKalb County School District, the third largest in Georgia.

After first failing to muster a majority, the DeKalb School Board tried a second time Friday and by a 5-4 vote approved a separation agreement that pays Atkinson $114,583 to leave. Then, they voted 7-2 to approve an employment agreement with Michael Thurmond, a former Georgia lawmaker who went on to become state labor commissioner.

Thurmond will be paid the same $275,000 salary Atkinson received, and will be compensated with three months’ wages if the board replaces him before his yearlong contract expires.

He said he had no interest in holding the position long-term. Thurmond said the search for a permanent superintendent would begin immediately and he would leave as soon as one is found.

The transition at the top of a system that educates almost 100,000 students comes at a perilous moment. An accrediting agency has threatened to strip DeKalb’s accreditation, alleging a multitude of governance sins by the school board.

Read more: AJC

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