Newly-appointed interim school superintendent Michael Thurmond wasted no time on Monday night as he held his first meeting with board members at the district's Stone Mountain headquarters.
“I do not have a magic wand,” Thurmond said, "but every day we will come with one goal in mind: to become better and to inspire and educate our children.”
He joins the DeKalb School District at a difficult time - his predecessor's sudden departure, probation from SACS, and a continuing struggle to maintain accreditation.
Thurmond promised to restore the reputation of DeKalb's schools, according to the AJC.
The nine-member school board, some of whom have only been on the job about a month, is hoping to avoid being removed by Governor Nathan Deal.
Parent Willie Pringle told Thurmond, “our school system needs healing, and since you are at the helm, I’m praying for you.”
“The question is: How badly do we want it and how much are we willing to sacrifice to achieve it?” Thurmond asked the audience.
“They are difficult, persistent problems I hope you will seriously address,” board member Nancy Jester told the superintendent.
Thurmond's detractors are complaining about his employment contract, which is giving him an annual salary of $275,000 as well as $2,600 a month in expenses.