KCPS superintendent to take top job in Atlanta - KCTV5

KCPS superintendent to take top job in Atlanta

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Stephen Green, the superintendent of Kansas City Public Schools, is expected to take over the top job for the DeKalb County School District. Stephen Green, the superintendent of Kansas City Public Schools, is expected to take over the top job for the DeKalb County School District.

The superintendent of Kansas City Public Schools is taking over a similar top job in Atlanta.

Stephen Green has been named the new superintendent of the DeKalb County School District.

Wednesday night Green spoke candidly about why he's leaving. He said he didn't seek out this opportunity, it came to him and he gave it a shot.

"When I assumed this role in August 2011, I promised that I would put an end to the revolving door of superintendents," Green had said in October 2013.

But today Green is breaking that promise to follow his heart.

The DeKalb County school board made the announcement Wednesday evening at the district's offices in Stone Mountain, GA. Green. Green will take over for Michael Thurmond, who has led the DeKalb district since February 2013.

Green said, besides doing the same job in the DeKalb County School District, he'll also be closer to his kids and grandchildren who live there.

“You can only FaceTime and Skype so much and not fall short of being with your actual children and grandchildren,” Green said.

That's what he said pushed him to apply after DeKalb schools approached him for the job. He beat out about 120 other candidates.

“Today we thank Steve for his amazing work over the past four years and we begin the process of looking for the next great leader of the Kansas City Public Schools,” said School Board Chair John Hile.

In 2013, Green signed a five-year contract with KCPS and the school district's board agreed to give him several bonuses based on progress with a yearly salary of $250,000.

He started with the district in August 2011 as interim superintendent and permanently took the job in April 2012.

The Missouri Board of Education unanimously voted in August 2014 to restore provisional accreditation to the Kansas City School District. The last time the district was provisionally accredited was 2006. State board members said the district has made much progress under the leadership of Green but much work remains to be done.

Education commissioner Chris Nicastro said that state test scores and other academic performance data was sufficient to justify restoring the accreditation status. This came three years after state officials said the district's student achievement was so poor that they would strip the district of provisional accreditation.

State officials said at the time that there remained worrisome signs. About 70 percent of the district's students aren't proficient in the four core academic areas and there is no consistent across-the-board improvement in test scores.

Besides improving enrollment, balancing budgets and pushing the failing district into provisional accreditation status, he also helped reopen a neighborhood school.

Hale Cook Elementary parents there are grateful.

“We're becoming a really fantastic school district and I'm proud to send my son here and Dr. Green was a big part of that,” said Susan Stocking, a Hale Cook parent.

Green said the infrastructure is there for students to continue to achieve. As for the teachers, he got teary eyed addressing them.

“And I would say to the teachers, ‘You can do this. I just helped you believe in yourself,'” he said.

The Kansas City teachers' union weighed in on Green's departure, acknowledging his success.

“He stabilized the district and I think he calmed things down a lot. He came in with a really bad situation. He did bring us to provisional accreditation,” said Andrea Flinders, the president of Kansas City Federation of Teachers and School-Related Personnel, Local 691.

Regaining provisional accreditation was a two-year process for teachers, parents and students.

“The community was just through with us and I think he did a lot to build community relationship. I think that was key, but again, he kept the focus on our kids and that's where teachers want it to be,” Flinders said.

Parents like Tiffany Price are left wondering what's next for her kid's school district.

“Because he's done such a good job and now that he's leaving, where do we turn to?” she said.

With the recent district improvements, some parents were considering moving their kids back to KCPS.

“I would have, and that's what I was looking forward to doing because my grandmother passed away and her house is in Kansas City school district. If it's going to turn around where he's not there anymore, I don't know what we'll have to look forward to,” parent Lameca Williams said.

The teachers' union hopes future superintendents aren't just looking to come to KCPS just to use the school district as a career stepping stone.

“A lot of them are, but I don't think that's what Dr. Green was doing, I really don't. I think that's why I was so surprised because he came from this area and had worked in this area. I had hoped that he would stay," Flinders said.

The Kansas City Public Schools Board of Directors said they will hold a news conference at 6:30 p.m. about the future of district.

Green told the school board about the new job Tuesday night. He will work at KCPS through June 30.

The school board will start selecting an interim candidate internally and then begin their search for the next leader.

Click here to read more from DESE on how long Kansas City Public Schools had been unaccredited.

Copyright 2015 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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