Former Georgia Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond was hired Feb. 8 to serve as interim superintendent of the DeKalb County School District.
School officials stated that Thurmond has been credited with transforming two state agencies, first as the director of the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services and then as a commissioner of the Georgia Department of Labor.
“Our school district is facing significant challenges, and we need a leader with a strong record of making fundamental changes in large, complex organizations,” board Chairman Eugene Walker said.
For his duties as interim superintendent, Thurmond will receive an annual salary of $275,000. Thurmond’s contract also states that he will be entitled to the district’s standard benefits package and allowed $2,600 for monthly expenses.
The board may terminate Thurmond’s contract at its convenience by giving him at least 30 days’ written notice; Thurmond is required to give the board 60 days’ written notice if he chooses to leave the district.
Thurmond said he welcome the opportunity to serve the approximately 99,000 students in the district and by coming together as a community there is “no limit to what we will accomplish for our schoolchildren.”
According to Thurmond’s contract, his term of employment began Feb. 9 and will run through Feb. 9, 2014. The employment contract states that if an extension of Thurmond’s tenure as interim superintendent is warranted, both he and the board will renegotiate on or before Aug. 1, 2013.
Additionally, the contract states that Thurmond will be responsible for acting as a liaison for the school district and Georgia School Superintendent John Barge, and between the district and the community.
Thurmond is also expected to form “a program of public relations and creating and maintaining a wholesome and cooperative working relationship between the schools and the community.”
Thurmond’s contract also gives him the authority to:
• Have charge of the administration of the district under the policy direction of the board.
• Implement all policies of the board, the State Board of Education, and all federal laws relevant to the operation of the district.
• Suggest policies, procedures and rules for the ordering of the district.
• Recommend all employees for employment, assignment, and termination by the board, and supervise, direct and control all employees of the board.
• Assume responsibility for the overall planning of the district and for the preparation of the annual budget.