COLORBEARER OF ATHENS, GEORGIA LOCALLY OWNED SINCE 1987

Blog Topic: Breaking News

  • In the Loop: John Knox Won't Run for Re-Election to BOE

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    Clarke County Board of Education member John Knox won't run for re-election this year, he recently announced.

    The UGA geography professor posted a message on his Facebook page Dec. 21 stating that his growing academic duties do not allow him enough time to devote to serving on the school board.

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  • In the Loop: Accreditation Agency Will Conduct 'Special Review' of CCSD

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    Photo Credit: Whitley Carpenter/file

    Former superintendent Demond Means.

    School accreditation agency Cognia will conduct a "special review" of the Clarke County School District in response to complaints that board members attempted to micromanage and undermine the authority of former superintendent Demond Means.

    Cognia—formerly known as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and AdvancED before recently merging with another education nonprofit—informed CCSD of the special review in a letter dated Dec. 16.

    Unknown parties filed complaints with Cognia in August, and Means wrote a letter to the company in September inviting it to investigate the allegations. SInce then, more unknown parties have come forward with similar complaints, according to Chief Certification Officer Annette Bohling.

    Among Means' allegations:

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  • In the Loop: Both Athens Congressmen Vote Against Impeachment

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    Rep. Doug Collins (R-Gainesville)

    It should come as no surprise, given that both are Republicans, but Athens congressmen Jody Hice and Doug Collins voted Wednesday night against impeaching President Donald Trump, although they were defeated by a Democratic majority, so the GOP-controlled Senate will now quickly dispense of the charges hold a trial on whether Trump should be removed from office.

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  • In the Loop: BOE Names Xernona Thomas Interim Superintendent

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    Photo Credit: Blake Aued

    Xernona Thomas.

    The Clarke County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to name Xernona Thomas as interim superintendent.

    Thomas had served as former superintendent Demond Means' chief of staff until last week, when the board placed Means on administrative leave, ending his controversial two-and-a-half year tenure.

    Thomas is a Clarke Central High School and University of Georgia graduate who holds a bachelor's degree in journalism, a master's in social work and a doctorate in education, and has 27 years of experience as a social worker and school administrator in Clarke and Oconee counties.

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  • In the Loop: BOE Puts Superintendent Demond Means on Leave

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    Photo Credit: Austin Steele/file

    Superintendent Demond Means

    The Clarke County Board of Education voted 5-3 Monday to place Superintendent Demond Means on leave and name his chief of staff, Xernona Thomas, the chief executive until an interim superintendent is found.

    The vote ended Means' tumultuous two-and-a-half year tenure, although a number of details still remain to be worked out, including any severance package. Means' contract runs through the 2021-2022 school year, so he is owed more than $500,000 if he's fired without cause.

    Greg Davis, Kara Dyckman, Patricia Yager, Tawana Mattox and John Knox voted in favor of the motion, made by Yager, while Charles Worthy, Linda Davis and LaKeisha Gantt voted against it. District 2 representative Frances Berry resigned last month, leaving that seat vacant.

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  • Culture Briefs: Avid Bookshop Is Closing Its Prince Location

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    Photo Credit: Blake Aued/file

    Avid Bookshop owner Janet Geddis at the Prince Avenue location in 2014.

    Sad news for Cobbham residents: Avid Bookshop is closing its Prince Avenue location at the end of the year, owner Janet Geddis announced in her monthly newsletter to customers.

    Geddis reassured readers that Avid is not in danger of going out of business, and the newer Five Points location will remain open. But sales declining and a recession looming, she wrote that she made the difficult decision to downsize out of an abundance of caution.

    She chose to keep the Five Points store over Prince because it's larger, with an office and storage in back, and because of challenges negotiating a long-term lease for the Prince space.

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  • In the Loop: School Board May Appoint Interim Superintendent

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    Demond Means

    The Clarke County Board of Education has scheduled another called meeting for Monday to discuss Superintendent Demond Means' departure.

    In addition to an executive session to discuss personnel matters, the agenda also includes an action item: "Potential Action to Appoint an Interim Superintendent." The 3:30 p.m. meeting will be held at the H.T. Edwards building.

    Whether or not an interim superintendent is appointed depends on how much progress the board makes during the closed session, President LaKeisha Gantt told Flagpole.

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  • In the Loop: Demond Means Is Out as CCSD Superintendent

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    Photo Credit: Austin Steele/file

    Superintendent Demond Means and the Clarke County School District will be parting ways .

    "The board has entered into negotiations for his exit," President LaKeisha Gantt announced after the school board met for nearly four hours behind closed doors.

    The board took no vote on Means' departure. It's unclear if he is resigning, being fired or—most likely—negotiating a buyout. It's also unclear when his rocky tenure as superintendent will formally end. Gantt declined to answer any questions, saying that discussions in executive session are confidential.

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  • In the Loop: Superintendent Means Is Still in Office—for Now

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    Photo Credit: Andrea Farnham

    A rally for Clarke County School Superintendent Demond Means drew about 50 people Friday.

    Demond Means came to work Friday and apparently will stay on as superintendent of the Clarke County School District at least through next week.

    Means said he would resign after a contentious discussion at Thursday's school board meetingregarding the board's response to an ethics complaint filed against Means with the Professional Standards Commission, which certifies educators. The board urged the PSC to dismiss the formal complaint, but a line added by board member Tawana Mattox saying that the board would hold Means accountable drew the superintendent's ire.

    "By virtue of that vote, you don't want me as superintendent, and we need to have a discussion about how I leave," he told the board Thursday.

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  • In the Loop: School Superintendent Demond Means Says He's Quitting

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    Photo Credit: Whitley Carpenter/file

    Clarke County School Superintendent Demond Means said he is resigning during a Board of Education meeting tonight that quickly devolved from sedate to a spectacle.

    Frustrations spilled over when the board discussed a letter to the state Professional Standards Commission, which certifies educators, informing the PSC that three allegations of unethical behavior made against Means in May don't warrant sanctions by the PSC.

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