Ragsdale kept two members of former Superintendent Michael Hinojosa’s six-person cabinet, Brad Johnson and Angela Huff. But the other four positions will see new faces, and in some cases, Ragsdale shuffled titles and job roles around. Ragsdale’s cabinet will have seven members rather than six.
The cabinet, approved by the board 7-0 Thursday night, consists of Grant Rivera, chief leadership and learning officer; John Adams, chief human resources officer and interim chief operations officer; Huff, chief of staff; Johnson, chief financial officer; Angela Bacon, interim chief technology officer; Greg Ewing, chief accountability and research officer; and Mary Elizabeth Davis, chief academic officer.
“I needed to make sure we had a team in place that I felt could move the district forward,” Ragsdale said. “We’re all about moving onward and upward, and I expect nothing but the best for the district. I believe this team is going to provide the district with that success.”
Makeup of the cabinet
Three positions in the old cabinet already were open at the start of the meeting.
The board promoted Ragsdale from deputy superintendent of operational support to interim superintendent on April 10. His interim term runs from May 2014 to May 2015.
Cheryl Hungerford, former deputy superintendent of leadership and learning, announced her retirement the same day.
A third position came open May 16 when Amy Krause, chief academic officer of Cobb schools, announced her retirement via email.
Johnson and Huff retained their positions and titles, but Michael Shanahan, chief human resources officer, was not kept onboard. In his place will be Adams, who previously worked in CCSD as a teacher, assistant principal and as executive director of employee relations. He left in 2011 to found Educators First, a non-union teacher organization.
“He will basically be doing the same thing I was doing with operations and technology,” Ragsdale said. “I was doing the chief operations officer role and the chief technology officer role.”
Adams said his goal is to make the district even more employee-friendly.
“I want to have the best human resources department in the state,” he said.
Not long after the announcement, Shanahan walked out of the room and did not return. Because it relates to personnel, Ragsdale did not comment on whether Shanahan was offered a renewal of his contract.
The new title of chief technology officer, held by Bacon, fills the rest of the duties of Ragsdale’s old job.
“Previously, Bacon was the chief information officer for Clayton County schools,” Ragsdale said. “So she obviously has the experience needed to run a large IT department within a large district.”
Rivera fills the role left open by Hungerford’s retirement. He had previously been principal at Campbell High and South Cobb High, and most recently was principal of Westlake High in Fulton County.
“It’s a benefit that we’re able to bring people back into Cobb,” Ragsdale said.
Ewing moves over from a position within Cobb schools. He had been supervisor of the school district’s English as a Second Language and foreign language programs. Davis had been assistant superintendent of curriculum in Cobb schools.
“Ewing’s position is going to be very important because of the relationship with data and the decision we need to make based on empirical data,” Ragsdale said.
The new cabinet members assume their roles July 1.
The school board also voted on final approval of a $900.2 million general fund budget, a jump from the current year’s $856.3 million bugdet. The new budget is $43.9 million, or 5.1 percent, higher than last year’s budget.
“After the last five or six years, this is great news for our community,” board member Tim Stultz said about the budget.
Thanks to a jump in both state revenues and property taxes, the budget includes no furlough days, a 180-day school year, 1 percent raises for all employees and at least 300 new hires.
The board considered adding 400 new employees at the suggestion of school board member Scott Sweeney, but will stay at 300. However, Ragsdale said during the meeting additional hires can be made this fall, when the district gets a solid count on the number of students enrolled for the 2014-15 school year.
According to Johnson, the school district’s finance chief, 1,300 teacher positions have been eliminated from the Cobb budget over the last five years. The addition of 300 new teachers next year adds some of those positions back. In total, the number of what the district calls local school positions — essentially any non-central office staff jobs — will increase from 11,298 to 11,603.