Surprise exit by Hinojosa opens door for promoting from within
by Don McKee
February 05, 2014 12:09 AM | 6674 views | 7 7 comments | 51 51 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cobb schools superintendent Michael Hinojosa suddenly announced Monday night that he was retiring on May 31 and heading back to Texas for a “very lucrative position” in the education consulting industry and some of his Mama’s tamales.

Who can argue with him wanting his Mama’s tamales and, as he said, “some good Mexican food” for the rest of his life? No doubt, it will taste all the better since he has landed a high-paying job in Texas as senior vice president of a Chicago-based national education consulting firm and will be able to work from home, eliminating any weather-related problems in commuting to work.

Things are looking great for Dr. Hinojosa. He came here in June 2011, and his contract was to expire at the end of this year. With benefits, bonuses and other “incentives,” he is being paid $277,000 a year plus about $208,000 from his Texas retirement plan — considerably better in total than the $328,000 he drew as the Dallas schools superintendent.

Under Hinojosa’s contract, according to Cobb district spokesman Jay Dillon, the school board annually contributes an amount equal to 8 percent of the superintendent’s $237,000 salary to a retirement fund — which would be $56,880 for three years. It’s fair to say he has done very well financially in his last two jobs. With the lucrative consulting work, he can retire in style. Plus, he will be back with his family including his wife, his mother and mother-in-law.

There was another surprise. Hinojosa said he made his decision to leave Cobb over the holidays. But he did not inform the board until right before its Monday meeting at which he made the decision public. Why not? In mid-January, he gave the board a list of the 14 members of his executive cabinet whose contracts he wanted to renew six months ahead of teachers, but the board balked on that unexpected move. In 2012, Hinojosa wanted to arrange it so his cabinet would know by Jan. 31 each year if their contracts would be renewed.

In January, since he had already decided to leave, trying to protect the jobs of people he appointed was not a good idea. There should be a level playing field for all employees — and the next superintendent should not have his hands tied in any way.

The most important question, however, does not concern the departing superintendent. It concerns who will be the next one. On that point, the school board should start with the Cobb district. It’s hard to believe there are not well-qualified educators in this district more than capable of doing the job. Many outstanding businesses learned long ago that promoting from within paid off because of the experience and commitment of employees who earned the right to move up — including to the top job.

If the school board can’t find a qualified superintendent within the ranks of Cobb educators, that’s a sad and alarming commentary on the state of the educational system in this county.

dmckee9613@aol.com
Comments
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stoneybrook
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February 06, 2014
I'm not sure I want anyone currently in the central office to get this superintendent position. It appears there is too much cronyism and self-serving behavior with the current group. I'd like to see someone from Georgia chosen but someone without ties to the present central office.
Stop the Roll
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February 05, 2014
As a life long Cobb resident who has observed the downward spiral of the CCSD, please please do not hire from the CCSD central office. The corruption there started at least with Gen. Joe Redden. The central office posse has been groomed by Redden, Sanderson, & Hinojosa.

The Board could hire a principal as the new superintendent, but do NOT hire anyone from the central office.

STOP this "We can do anything that we want" attitude, because we are at Glover St. Honojosa's departure is a perfect place to start.
anonymous
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February 05, 2014
Hinojosa never had a chance in Cobb County. Neither will the next super or the one after that.

PLEASE NO IN HOUSE
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February 05, 2014
The board should try to get Emily Lembeck to take the spot. She has done a fantastic job with Marietta City schools. Please look outside the district. Our central office is filled with corruption. Hinojosa's appointments are questionable at best. The board should stand firm on this.
Silent Majority
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February 05, 2014
Alice Stouder would be an excellent candidate.
Biff Scott
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March 03, 2014
Correct!!!

Alice Stouder would be a qualified, dignified and honorable superintendent. She would make us proud again!!
Biff Scott
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March 03, 2014
You are correct!

Alice Stouder would make a qualified, dignified and honorable superintendent!!

She would make us proud again!!
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