Accreditation agency Cognia will make a virtual site visit to Athens this week to check on Clarke County School District’s progress in retaining its accreditation.
Cognia, formerly known as AdvancEd, placed CCSD in the “accreditation under review” category after former superintendent Demond Means complained to the agency in 2019 that several school board members were attempting to micromanage and intimidate him. While Means’ feuds with various school board members led to his departure almost two years ago, the Cognia investigation remains open.
The school board has made significant progress in most of the problem areas Cognia identified in a January 2020 report, but two items related to board effectiveness and ethics remain to be checked off the list. In particular, the agency had concerns about the committee process and “the perception that a decision was made because you have a quorum or close to a quorum, and then you come out, and it really should have been [full] board work, but it was done in the committee structure,” Superintendent Xernona Thomas said at the board’s Nov. 9 work session.
CCSD administrators have been preparing a written report on the district’s progress, and Cognia is reviewing meeting agendas and watching videos of board meetings in preparation for the site visit. During that visit, scheduled for Dec. 2, Cognia representatives will meet separately with Thomas and her top leadership team, school board members in groups of three, and other groups composed of principals, parents and other community members.
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