DeKalb school board, superintendent agree to cut ties effective immediately

DeKalb County School District Superintendent Steve Green gives remarks during a press conference at Cross Keys High School to celebrate the E-SPLOST passage on May 25, 2016. (KENT D. JOHNSON/

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Steve Green's time with the DeKalb County School District is over, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

In a 6-1 vote, the DeKalb County Board of Education voted Monday to sever ties with Green, who came to the district in July 2015.

Ramona Tyson, Green's former chief of staff who reports directly to the school board, will run the district on an interim basis. The board unanimously approved her appointment and contract, through the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, in a separate vote.

In May, Green announced his intentions to leave the district after the current school year. School board members did not approve contract extensions for Green in 2018 and 2019, which would have put him here beyond 2020. A national search already is under way for Green's replacement.

Board chairman Michael Erwin thanked Green for his hard work on the district's behalf, and thanked Tyson for the work she has done and will continue to do as the district's interim leader.

Board member Allyson Gevertz, who voted against the separation, said she thought the superintendent's departure in the middle of the school year could have lasting effects on the district.

"It's fiscally irresponsible," she said, mentioning two salaries would be paid the rest of the year. "This sends the wrong message to superintendent candidates.

The vote ends Green's nearly 53-month tenure as the district‘s longest superintendent in a 10-year stretch that saw it fall into debt and nearly lose its accreditation, only to rebound with tens of millions of dollars in reserves and a multiyear accreditation approval.

District officials set out in late 2014 to find a superintendent who would lead by example, prioritizing student education and addressing morale issues that pushed teacher turnover well above that at neighboring districts. It got a respected veteran educator who never endeared himself to his staff and reportedly ruled by a my-way-or-the-highway approach to leadership.

"The DeKalb County Schools community is truly inspirational," Green said in the departure announcement. "I am proud to have the opportunity to help lead our students to achieve educational excellence alongside our exceptional teachers and staff. I'm excited to see what the future holds for our District and our students – both have limitless potential."

Green was called a change agent when he first arrived, but results have been mixed under his leadership. The district boasts its highest graduation rate, but standardized test scores have been flat, and teacher turnover continues at the highest rate among metro Atlanta school districts.