Chief academic officer for Cobb plans to retire
by Lindsay Field
October 31, 2012 01:07 AM | 5759 views | 18 18 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Judi Jones
Judi Jones
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MARIETTA — Changes to educators’ benefits has prompted yet another Cobb County Schools staff member to retire.

Chief Academic Officer Judi Jones, who became an educator 38 years ago and joined the Cobb Schools staff in 1979, announced Monday that her last day with the district will be Nov. 16.

“It was the change with the state rules. It’s not the educational rules, but the financial,” she said Tuesday. “It makes a significant change in the retirement.”

The state Teacher Retirement System is eliminating a 3 percent benefit increase on the first $37,500 of retirement pay for educators retiring on or after Jan. 1, which amounts to losing more than $1,000 annually if they stay on past Dec. 31.

Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said Jones is one of about 75 employees the district has lost or is losing this year because of the change.

“It’s starting to take a toll on us,” he said. “She’s going to be hard to replace.”

Most recently, Chief Financial Officer Mike Addison retired on Sept. 30, and Hinojosa’s executive secretary, Mary Kay Fermanich, will retire at the end of November.

“The problem with us is that these people have to make a decision and do it now, even if they’re in the middle of a big project,” he said.

Jones recently helped wrap up the district’s revision of the Strategic Plan and Hinojosa’s superintendent evaluation.

“Luckily for us, we’re just about done with those, but there are a lot of things behind the scenes that she’s working on,” he said. “I call her ‘The Machine’ because she just cranks up the work like a machine. I’m going to miss her tremendously.”

He also said he hasn’t decided what to do about Jones’ position, which he created last year when he reorganized his executive cabinet, but he should have a plan in place by his next meeting with the school board, which is scheduled for Monday morning.

“It’s going to be tough,” he said. “I’m still considering several options. I was hoping she wouldn’t retire, but in the back of my mind, I knew she probably had to.”

Jones said she’s been considering retiring for the last couple of weeks, and while she isn’t sure what she’ll do with her spare time, she doesn’t plan on sitting around watching TV or reading books.

“There are so many things left undone right now that I want to see come to full circle, but sometimes you just have to make those difficult decisions,” she said.

The Cobb County native, who attended Fitzhugh Lee grammar school and graduated from Pebblebrook High School, started her career in education in the Atlanta Public and Bartow County school systems. She returned to Cobb after getting four years of experience.

“I came to Cobb County as a fourth-grade teacher at Fitzhugh Lee Elementary School,” Jones said.

She moved up teaching at Russell and Hollydale elementary schools before being named assistant principal at Fitzhugh Lee, eventually joining the district staff around 1993 as a consultant in the Research, Evaluation and Student Assessment Office.

“It was kind of similar to what I do now, but not as much work,” she said.

Jones decided to become a teacher while attending a Girl Scout camp as a child.

“I was a buddy to a blind student,” she said. “It was a camp specifically for blind kids, and they had sight buddies that worked with them. I remember then deciding to be a teacher (because) helping someone else was fun.”

After graduating from high school, she attended Georgia State University to earn a degree in teaching, furthered her education by earning a specialist degree from West Georgia College and State University and eventually a doctorate from the University of Georgia.

“I’m very passionate about kids,” she said. “Kids are our future, and whatever we can do to make them move into the right direction so that they have a positive future is what we need to do.”

Jones said her commitment to Cobb Schools kept her in education for nearly 40 years.

“I grew up here and am a product of the district and have seen it change over many, many years,” she said. “Every time we add schools and kids, it gets more exciting and it’s going to be really hard for me to leave. This is the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.”
Comments
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Elephantinthe room
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November 02, 2012
I am glad that many of the old guard is leaving and taking advantage of the last chance to save some money. Now, will they promote from within and allow new ideas or will they move up people with the same old ideas and we will end up with the same results? Maybe they can get away from the multitude of testing that burns out students and teachers. I also hope that they say NO to any of these folks coming back in any capacity. If they did their job right, they trained people to take over. If we have to get them back either they are poor managers (duh) or they have good friends in high places (duh). So lets see how the Walrus reacts and who he hires for these lofty positions. Perhaps another major re-org is needed.
Mike Johnson
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October 31, 2012
Who is left on the Cabinet after from a year ago?
Another Opinion.....
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November 01, 2012
Who knows and who cares at this point. It is a circus over there. Let's see....Ragsdale is still around for now. Let's see if he makes it through the SPLOST initiative.
TOMISSINFORMED
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October 31, 2012


Salaries are higher for teachers who work 9 months a year than private employment? What world do you live in or under what rock do you reside? Get your head out from the sand and understand how many extra hours teachers work per day and besides most work or are in school to advance their educations during summers. And, by the way--where do you get 9 momths. Teachers barely get 2 months summer vacation. Why don't you send your children to private school and you work in the private sector!!! GET INFORMED BEFORE YOU WRITE.

Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal - Chief academic officer for Cobb plans to retire
Notmissinformed
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November 01, 2012
Teachers only work 190 days, that about 9.5 months. And yes, the salary of those 190 day teachers may be hire than the private sector. t weeks off around Christmas, a week off in April and about 9-10 weeks off in summer. I work 9-11 hours every day too, but I work a full year and do not get overtime. Stop whining and get off the high horse. Yes, teachers work hard, but others do too and without all the time off.
@notmissinformed
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November 02, 2012
You for to add:

Yes, teachers work hard, but others do too and without all the time off (AND NON-STOP WHINING).
anonymous
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November 02, 2012
actually it it the teachers that whine. Others just do the work and move on or change jobs
Watcher...
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October 31, 2012
"Jones recently helped wrap up the district’s revision of the Strategic Plan and Hinojosa’s superintendent evaluation."

HOW and WHY was Ms. Jones involved with Dr. Hinojosa's evaluation?
@Watcher
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October 31, 2012
Guess you're not watching close enough or you would know that the district will be evaluating the superintendent on scholastic metrics that Jones department is responsible for reporting.
Watcher...
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October 31, 2012
@Watcher, don't you suppose that the Superintendent has and would be able to present his "metrics" without assistance from Dr. Jones.

I would like to know Dr. Jones' precise involvement in the preparation and the presentation of Dr. Hinojosa's Evaluation to CCSD's Board.
Cobb 1234
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October 31, 2012
OK - there is more to the story than she is telling here. The retirement rule change was announced months ago and those who were leaving decided much before the end of the month. She did not get along well with most at the Glover Street Office and there was an undercurrent who wanted her out and rightly so. She was a teacher who was an AP for one year and then moved into the testing office and stayed there for 20 years before Hinojosa gives her full reign of the district. She had never supervised that many folks before and caused morale, culture, and climate to go below zero. Look for her to come back on a consulting contract at $1500 a day or higher as this is a way around the retirement working rules. Hire 3 teachers on her salary and put them in the most needed place - that should make her happy and do something for the children.

April 4 Christd
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October 31, 2012
I was thinking the same thing... what as citizens can we do so that her salary will go to fund teachers salaries? You can email me at april4christ@gmail.com.

Thank you for your response.
anonymous
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November 01, 2012
Ding, dong....
release dr. H's eval
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October 31, 2012
Her words say it all, she is not done yet.. she will find a way to be on the payroll and spend more tax dollars. Dr. H needs to go, all he does is spend. Let's see his evaluation, and what he has accomplished since he's been in Cobb. I would say he has spent $$$$$$ and that's about it.
ttard
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October 31, 2012
I'm sure that Hinojosa will find a way to spend thousands to hire her in some capacity, as a consultant, as he has only spent money since he's been here. The real shame is that Judy Jones has taken us down the wrong path... RTTT, BYOD, all these things that are experimental, spend tax dollars and don't do anything but dumb down our kids. Hinojosa will be in real trouble now since he doesn't have his "work horse" calling the shots. I say good riddence Judi... lets let Hinojosa flounder on his own and lets get back to the basics of real, solid education, not whims and experiments.
About the Children?
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October 31, 2012
Hardly. Leaving great holes in the system to boost your retirement pay. Salaries are higher for teachers who work 9 months a year than private employment.
SAVE THE MONEY
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October 31, 2012
How about not replacing her and saving money for the 70 million budget shortfall? We have too many cabinet members and not enough teachers!
Bob Bummer
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October 31, 2012
Retire and start collecting a pension check now and get hired back later and start double dipping. Or become a consultant and make twice as much.
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