Cobb school board OKs assistant principal after certificate suspension
by Lindsay Field
August 31, 2012 01:20 AM | 10342 views | 28 28 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Joseph D. Sharp, whom the Cobb school board voted 4-3 last week to hire as an assistant principal at Sprayberry High School, had his teaching certificate suspended for 20 days this summer by the state’s Professional Standards Commission.

Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa recommended that the board hire Sharp, though Hinojosa has since declined to explain that recommendation, citing it as a personnel matter.

Sharp’s certificate was suspended for actions that occured when he was employed by the school district of Thomas County, which is about 45 minutes west of Valdosta. He started work at Sprayberry last Friday at an annual salary of $80,864.

Sharp, who previously worked in Cobb as an administrator at North Cobb High from 2005 to 2008, did not return a call for comment for this story.

None of Cobb’s board members publicly mentioned the suspension at the time of their Aug. 23 vote.

But this week board member Tim Stultz, who with Alison Bartlett and Kathleen Angelucci voted against hiring Sharp, said: “The district needs to have high standards for potential and current employees, and I don’t believe that certificate suspension meets those standards.”

Bartlett confirmed that she was aware of the suspension and that it is why she voted against Sharp’s hire, but declined to say more.

“It’s a personnel issue, and it gets into very murky waters,” Bartlett said.

Angelucci also declined to comment because it is a personnel issue.

But those on the board who supported Sharp’s hiring include David Banks, whose area encompasses Sprayberry High.

“I had conversations with several principals in this area that knew him and also, some of the community that knew him … a lot of people had worked with him and knew him very well. I analyzed the situation he had gotten into and from what I understand, it’s questionable whether there’s anything there, but that’s immaterial now,” Banks said. “The sources that were talking to me would say that his references were top notch.”

Board member Lynnda Eagle declined to explain her vote in favor of the hire, citing it as a personnel issue.

Board member David Morgan said only: “I have faith that if the superintendent is comfortable with someone, then they’re going to do a good job in whatever position they might have in our school district.”

Board chairman Scott Sweeney did not respond to inquiries about Sharp.

Sharp was principal of Thomas County Central High School from 2008 to 2011, before being promoted to that district’s director of administrative services, a central-office job, in the 2011-12 school year.

The Thomas County school board hired Dr. Dusty Kornegay as its new superintendent as of July 1, 2011.

Kornegay later filed a complaint to the PSC alleging several infractions on Sharp’s part, including that Sharp had changed the transcript of a daughter of the previous superintendent and did not compute the college grades of dually enrolled students into their grade-point averages, a move that also benefitted a daughter of the previous superintendent.

Sharp resigned from Thomas County Schools on June 21, 2012, less than two weeks before he signed a consent order with the Georgia Professional Standards Commission on July 3.

According to that consent order: Sharp “facilitated the changing of the previous superintendent’s daughter’s transcript to reflect that the student had completed the personal fitness class.”

That order also states Sharp allowed several different classes to substitute for a required personal-fitness class, contrary to Department of Education requirements; created a “Mentorship” class that had little or no academic requirement and submitted it for FTE funding; and did not allow some students’ dual enrollment grades to be included on their high school transcipts.

The Professional Standards Commission voted to approve the consent order on July 12.

Connie Jackson, president of the Cobb County Association of Educators, said she was not aware of Sharp’s past but is concerned that the board was not unanimous in its hiring of Sharp and questioned hiring from outside the district when there is an “incredible talent pool in Cobb.”

“If you have the talent and you have the people, why would you not want to encourage them by giving them something to reach for and work for?” she asked. “When you see hires from outside the county, it always makes you think there aren’t good enough people here in Cobb — but I know there are.”

The Cobb school board first voted on Sharp’s hire on Aug. 8, but deadlocked in a 3-3 vote when member Eagle was absent.
Comments
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Can't believe
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September 10, 2012
I can't believe the board would approve hiring a person who changed transcripts. Some teachers in Atalanta changed test scores and were fired. Many have recently been found innocent. This individual was suspended for 20 days! That's an ethics violation. Why not hire from inside Cobb from then pool of the many who have gone through the Cobb Leadership Academy?
Truthful T
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September 09, 2012
I worked at North Cobb during Sharp's last year there. He was an awesome administrator to work for and I was very sad when he left (pretty much the entire administration left that year!). Personally, I am glad to see him back in Cobb County. Not only was he the best administrator that I ever worked for, but he was one of the few administrators that I worked for who was approachable, honest, and didn't belittle teachers. As far as his wife getting a job, good for her. Every year, Cobb cuts budgets, gets rid of people and then hires new people.
TURNIP TRUCK
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September 04, 2012
Will the real issue please stand up? I too have worked with Dr. Kornegay and do not know Mr. Sharp personally. However, I do know that the creation of the Scholars Academy in the Thomasville City school system increased student enrollment and many children were given opportunities that would not have been possible without Dr. Kornegay's vision. Throwing bricks at Dr. Kornegay and his family will not deflect from the real issue of A Poor Choice being a Poor Choice and there are consequences for those who make them. This turnip and many others did not just fall off the turnip truck!
br548
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September 04, 2012
Joe Sharp is an excellent administrator who got screwed in a small county. Sprayberry is lucky to have replace Ed Wagner who is also a good guy. Yes, I know him personally and in spite of the BS would hire him as an Administrator /AD in a minute.
good guy
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September 05, 2012
How many other "good guys" (and girls) already in CCSD were passed over in favor of your excellent administrator friend?
Just Sayin'
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September 01, 2012
The board is hiding behind this "personnel" issue. Once a professional certification or license is officially withdrawn for conduct it is then a matter of public record. Basing a hiring decision on a matter that is part of the public record is no longer a "personnel" issue, and therefore is not a matter of confidentiality. (ex. someone convicted of a crime that would preclude them working with a certain demographic.) The fact that Dr. Hinojosa even considered this amazes me somewhat. Would I let this man teach, yes. Would I put him back in an administrative role...I do not think so.

I would also like to know how he was able to get a teaching position in Cobb recently given that we are not hiring new teachers? Favors are being extended to this gentleman and this is one reason no one trusts the board or the administration.
Spectator 5
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September 03, 2012
Not only did he get a job, but his wife got a teaching job in the Cobb County system as well all while budget cuts were occurring...Interesting.
Cobb refuses hires
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August 31, 2012
I personally graduated from KSU with 19 other intelligent and capable individuals with Masters in Leadership degrees. NONE of us has been afforded an interview with CCSD. Cobb will only consider a diverse group of people and those who are personally best friends with administration. It is a good old boys club that is nearly impossible to crack. It isn't even worth it anymore. I can't wait for the economy to improve to get out of CCSD due to the administration not the children. I love the children and wish the board and admin. would put them first.
anonymous
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August 31, 2012
Wow, this is amazing! What morals do these Cobb County Board members have! There is a former Cobb employee that was cleared of all chargers by both the tribunal and Civil court who can't get his credentials back. And here you have a new employee that has come from another county that changed grades and his credentials were suspended for 20 days. And what about those employees that were fired because it was said that they did not report crimes in a timely fashion.

WHERE IS THE JUSTICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maybe some of the board members need to have their credentials suspended indefinetly.
necobbmom
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September 04, 2012
Look at the board members who voted in favor of this and OUST them...Start with Banks who clearly has violated his own ethics rules.
iekdkdp
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September 07, 2012
Justice will come on Sept. 12th when the board hears about David Banks unethical behavior and hopefully votes to censure him. Hope the board room will be filled with Post 5 people who are fed up with this man and his antics.
retiree 4
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August 31, 2012
I have worked with Dusty Kornegay and he created a

Scholar's Academy within a Title 1 school for his daughter. Timing for this creation was lost on no one at the Thomasville City School System. Dr. Kornegay and his wife took advantage of every oppotunity to promote their own agenda for their daughter, including excessive travel on a Science Fair extravaganza. I don't know Joseph Sharp, but I expect something was amis for him, and I wish him well.

Thomasville Bulldog
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September 03, 2012
The Scholars Academy saved the Thomasville City System. Anyone who knows anything about the Thomasville City System will tell you that Kornegay stopped a train wreck and put the system on a positive path. His daughter didn't need special help to become a Georgia Tech Presidential Scholar. Now that he has returned to the county, job 1 has been cleaning house. Sharp had a chance to get on board with Kornegay's team, but instead he hung on to the previous failed superintendent's skirt tail a little too long.
Connie Jackson
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August 31, 2012
BeverlyJ, my Organization, The Cobb County Association of Educators, is not a Union, we are not anti-reform, and we are not anti-parental choice. If you would like to discuss the real facts with me, I would love to correct your misinformation. None of that is relevant to this issue however, it is simply about someone being promoted with a big red flag on his record, and Cobb having a large number of qualified people that could be promoted from within that don't have ethics violations.
BeverlyJ
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August 31, 2012
All members of your Cobb County Association of Educators (CCAE) are required to pay $168 extra in yearly dues to the National Education Association.

Are they not, Ms. Jackson?

The NEA states on its website that it's a union. A Google search by readers on "NEA" and "union" will demonstrate this. And renting the film WAITING FOR SUPERMAN will educate them as to the anti-choice stand of the NEA. The NEA has also endorsed and funded Obama in November's election.

(August-September are the only months teachers are allowed to opt out of CCAE/GAE/NEA, for something less Democrat partisan, by the way.)
Is it true?
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August 31, 2012
Connie,

A lot of times posters on this blog state that it is a fact that your organization collects dues from the teachers and gives a portion of the funds to national teacher's unions.

Is this true? If so, in my view - you are close enough to being a union to safely be called a "union".
in the trenches
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August 31, 2012
Here Here! Thanks Connie!
Not a Union?
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August 31, 2012
Not a union, Connie? C'mon. CCAE is the local county branch of GAE, which is the state branch of the NEA. The NEA, which generally supports collective bargaining and opposes right to work laws, is essentially the largest teacher union in the country, and one of the largest national unions of any kind period.
Hmmmmm2
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August 31, 2012
He was one of Boling's cronies and when he left N. Cobb, I thoght he took several down south woth him.

Suspension is a suspension and stop this good ol` boy crap!!!
Former North Cobb
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September 07, 2012
I had the misfortune of working under Boling and Sharp at North Cobb. There is definitely some kind of "good old boys" group in the county that seems to be able to pull strings regardless of their actions. They seem to be above the rest. How could Hinajosa recommend Sharp when he was in Texas the whole time Sharp was in Cobb. He had to have been influenced by the "good old boys". Sharp was a product of Boling and you can read a lot about his type of undermining on the internet. If you have doubts ask Cobb County about the trip Boling took a number of the administrators (and I'm pretty sure it included Sharp and his wife)on to Gulf Shores, Alabama and tried to submit it as a school expense. Bad School Board (once again).
BeverlyJ
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August 31, 2012
I would guess that serious violations don't result in mere 20-day suspensions.

And if Connie Jackson's anti-reform, anti-parental choice union is against him -- then perhaps Mr. Sharp does indeed have something unique to offer our school district.
Watcher...
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August 31, 2012
"but that’s immaterial now,” Banks said.

Board Member Banks will regret this comment.

I predict that Sharp will be gone by the end of September.

VTgrad
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August 31, 2012
Banks clearly doesn't GET the ethics issue... isn't that why the board is bringing it up in Sept. to censure him for ethics violations?
banksisadufus
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August 31, 2012
The quote by Banks says it all. The voters who went in and re-elected him, had NO IDEA who he is and what kind of a joke he has become on the school board. I think the voters in the area he represents should ask for a recall. Sounds like a few board members have brains, but this guy is just out there somewhere.
anonymous
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August 31, 2012
It's been done before... didn't the MDJ run an article on the hiring of an outsider as a principal who was under prior investigation for ethical violations?

And, why is she suddenly gone the first week of school?
@anonymous
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August 31, 2012
thinking the same thing..Dowell ES if I remember correctly
anonymous
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August 31, 2012
I would say changing a transcript is an ethical violation at minimum. So, the question is, which CCSD cabinet member is connected to Sharp?

MDJ, please ask for open records report on how many employees in Cobb have been terminated in the past five years for ethical violations related to grade changing.....

Jackson's right... plenty of people in Cobb qualified to do that job.

Old Yellow Jacket
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September 01, 2012
The superintendent who hired Sharp is also under investigation by the PSC and has been removed by the school board. Sharp was investigated first. The new superintendent moved him to the board office to save the high school because Sharp was already under contract. He was sucking the life out of the high school. I think the young lady who wrote this article is from Thomasville....her parents taught in the system...she can find out!
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