‘Hinojosa’s heart was always in Dallas’
by Hannah Morgan and Jon Gillooly
February 06, 2014 04:00 AM | 7438 views | 22 22 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Chairwoman Kathleen Angelucci and Superintendent Michael Hinojosa
Chairwoman Kathleen Angelucci and Superintendent Michael Hinojosa
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MARIETTA — Cobb school officials are faced with the uncertainty of who their future leader will be after Superintendent Michael Hinojosa surprised them Monday night by announcing his resignation effective May 31.

Some say they never really knew Hinojosa. The school chief said he will rejoin his family in Texas where he led the Dallas school system before becoming Cobb’s superintendent in 2011.

Hinojosa revealed his thoughts on that upcoming move in a Tuesday interview with The Dallas Morning News.

“It’s like we never completely left,” he told the newspaper.

His comment struck a nerve with school officials.

Cobb School Board chairwoman Kathleen Angelucci said she’s never been invited to his home nor has she ever met his wife.

Hinojosa rents an upscale condo off Monhegan Way in Smyrna, another source told the MDJ.

Angelucci said, “I guess I’m concerned that the superintendent would make a comment that would seem as if he was never part of Cobb, that if he’s never left, that’s very concerning. We certainly had hoped and he certainly made it clear to our community that he loved Cobb and that he was a part of Cobb, so it was a little disconcerting to read that.”

Connie Jackson, president of the Cobb County Association of Educators, said she wasn’t surprised by Hinojosa’s remarks. Jackson said teachers have gotten the sense that his attention was elsewhere.

“I think Dr. Hinojosa’s heart was always in Dallas,” Jackson said. “I think he did his best, but with a piece of him always remaining in Dallas.”

Board to meet this weekend

Angelucci is calling a special meeting this weekend for the board to decide how to respond to his announcement.

“We are getting a lot of questions and inquiries, and it’s difficult to answer anything at this point because we haven’t met as a board to discuss it, and we just feel that it’s imperative we meet sooner rather than later even though we have a meeting scheduled for Wednesday,” she said.

Angelucci would not reveal whether she wanted Hinojosa to serve out the remaining months or step down earlier.

“To be honest with you, until we really can sit down and talk as a board and hear from our attorney and even from the superintendent, because it’s a personnel issue we need to sit down as an entity, we need to sit down as a board, and discuss this as a whole, and at that point if the board comes to a decision as early as this weekend, then obviously we would comment on it, but at this point it’s just not fair to throw anything out there,” she said.

What to do about Finlayson’s allegations?

The MDJ reported on Wednesday the school district’s former chief investigator, Mary Finlayson, alleged she was fired after she tried to probe two of Hinojosa’s top deputies she believed were involved in questionable practices, including the use of a teacher to help prepare doctoral dissertations for administrators.

Finlayson said Michael Shanahan, the school district’s human resources director, shut down an active investigation into allegations that a teacher was being pulled out of class in 2011 to work on doctoral dissertations for her school principal and also for assistant superintendent Angela Huff, who is now Hinojosa’s chief of staff.

Angelucci said Finlayson sent the board a letter in August.

“We were assured when the last letter was brought to us that the district was investigating the allegations,” Angelucci said.

Angelucci said she intends to ask Hinojosa the status of that investigation.

“The board would like to find out from the superintendent and the district where we are in the investigation, and what we currently know so that we as a board can decide what our next step is,” she said. “We will discuss it at the next work session in executive session.”

Board member David Banks said he had thought of a potential solution to Finlayson’s allegations that he planned to present to the board on Wednesday.

“I have a solution, but I am not going to reveal it,” Banks said.

Banks believes his solution rectifies Finlayson’s accusations with “the least amount of cost.”

Randy Scamihorn, the board’s vice chairman, said it’s Hinojosa’s responsibility to handle the dispute.

“My opinion is the board should oversee getting this resolved, but we are not in management, so we have no direct authority to tell him who to fire, when to hire or what to do,” Scamihorn said. “The board is at the governing level. We set policies. We are not at the managing level, one employee is. The superintendent is charged with leading and managing our company, the district.”

Comments
(22)
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We don't need super
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February 06, 2014
I can tell you if we rid of the superintendent position and his cabinet, the county would be fine. I have no idea what he does because we never see him in the schools. Whatever he does has no bearing to what I do in the classroom or how I perform. We would not skip a beat. Let the board run the district and have everyone report to them. Isn't it suppose to be all about the children? Let the local schools get their job done and stop wasting money on the executives that simply screw up, take up space and waste our money!
Beyond disgusted
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February 06, 2014
Hinojosa needs to go today and take Angela Huff with him. She took a teacher out of the classroom, charged the county with sub pay, and had someone else do her school work on county time. Huff said the teacher just created a power point presentation. I did all my own work when I was in graduate school. Fire her for using county time to have someone do her work. Fire the whole cabinet and start fresh.
So on and So forth
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February 06, 2014
I taught in Cobb for 37 years and have been retired for 8. The

various BOE's haven't gotten a Super hire right in the last 25 years.

Consequently, our school district has dropped from the flagship

system in Georgia in the mid 90's to the middle of the pack of 180 public school districts in 2014. Why they went for Dr. Hinojosa 3 years ago is still a major mystery? His tenure here has certainly backfired on the current BOE. I do wish them a fortunate selection this next time because the future of this county is at stake.
Saw It Coming
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February 06, 2014
We've known from the day he walked in the building and cordoned himself off in his office with his private entrance door that he wasn't invested in the District.

He doesn't speak to anyone below is his "cabinet". He won't look you in the eye when he walks by (if he walks by)...

What did you all really expect? He left Dallas in a financial mess. Now we're in one and he's running back home to "consult".

Disconcerting to say the least. Wake up! Maybe next time our board will actually hire someone that's not looking to line their retirement pockets on the tax payers dime and at the expense of the education of our children.

Cobb School Advocate
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February 06, 2014
The superintendent situation, once again proves the ineptness of the employment contracts that Cobb District Attorneys structure - not moving to Cobb and quiting and violation of the contract are pretty simple and common play - Hinojosa just wishes that he was a baseball player - he simply took the money and had little performance - on any measurement instrument.
Bamabelle in Ga
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February 06, 2014
"Measurement instruments" are used for students and teachers only.
All Bets
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February 06, 2014
I understand that Las Vegas will soon be taking bets that the CCSD Board again screws up and makes the wrong hire for superintendent.
Califgirl1959
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February 06, 2014
He needs to go. He has never been invested in this position as witnessed by his getting out of dodge when the snow hit. Also remember that the people in charge at the time (the board chair and superintendent) were very political and they had so few applicants to choose from, and out of those he was the most qualified. It is sad that he never got invested here because he was never good in Texas either. We got a bumb deal with this one and it can only get better.
Just Wait
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February 06, 2014
Come on y'all! What's wrong with someone having a love for where they are from? Yankees constantly tell us how hard it was for them up north while reminding us here how we can't drive in snow.
MAY-RETTA SURVIVOR
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February 06, 2014
@"Just Wait": Last time I looked, those "Yankees" who came here didn't charge us to be here...as did Hinojosa.
Fire all of Them
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February 06, 2014
Ya think his heart was never in it? You are just figuring this out? You folks are hilarious. You jump on the bandwagon, bbut when something blows up in your face, then you act as if you never saw it coming. You are all to blame, not just Hinojosa. What a political cluster! Why is so hard to find a group of honest people who will work hard for an honest wage and actually care about the students and teachers? Get rid of all of them and start fresh!
English Teatime
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February 06, 2014
I'm wondering since his wife didn't move here, were his travel expenses paid by we the taxpayers? I would assume he often traveled to Texas to be with his family. Also, his rented condo - was that an expense paid by taxpayers?
We Were Punked
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February 06, 2014
Somewhere in America, there's the most incompetent school board in America. "Some say they never really knew Hinojosa". What?

Clayton County has nothing on this bunch.
Jane W.
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February 06, 2014
Second-guessing Dr. Hinojosa’s housing preferences in this real estate market seems a stretch. And I sincerely doubt Mary Finlayson’s termination was solely for the reason this article seems to suggest.
OK next
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February 06, 2014
You may be right about the real estate there is no doubt that Dr. Hinojosa was never really committed to this county or job. When an Educator retires they get a great pension but they can not get a job in that state.

There is a risk when you make a decision like this that you just select the wrong person. He was paid much more in Texas and no one really does as well when they take a pay cut. Now he goes back to where he wants to be and works from home. The county school system is in a bad position financially so picking the next leader is very important.
Hwy 57
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February 06, 2014
Please bring Beverly Hall to ccsd!! She will bring test scores up!!!!
Fire Hinny
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February 06, 2014
Hinny needs to be sent back to Texas ASAP! He has shown he has no feelings whatsoever for the students for which he is responsible. This Board has the opportunity of actually hiring someone who is competent, so lets keep our fingers crossed. The hiring of this man was a terrible mistake. Frankly, if the Board makes another error in judgement with the hiring of someone else, I feel like someone in the State should be called in. Our students and our dollars are being misused and the people who hired this man are to blame for this. This whole thing is just inexcusable.
Another Issue
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February 06, 2014
I know you have more important issue to deal with, but if you don't deal with the McEachern coverupalso, that will be hitting the newspaper soon also, and after reading all of this crap about Hinojosa and Findlayson, I don't think we want that. Contact the Kell basketball coaches and deal with McEachern's recruiting now before it becomes much bigger news like the super quitting. There are several Cobb administrators and an area superintendent that are involved in this and it is happening right under your nose.
StoneyBrook
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February 06, 2014
I'd also like the Board to inquire as to the intent and determine the active players behind the request, made before Hinojosa's resignation announcement, to renew the contracts for the top brass at CCSD, some of whom are involved in these other messy matters, 3 months earlier than usual. I'd like to know more details.
Califgirl1959
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February 06, 2014
I agree. Very unethical
Note to School Board
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February 06, 2014
Please send him back to Dallas today. Pay him but send him back today. This is the best option for everyone considering the circumstances.

The board needs to do what is in the best interest of the Cobb County School system and that is to send him home and avoid and decisions that he might make that would hurt the school system.

We all learn from our mistakes and it is time to cut bait and start an executive search looking for someone who does want to live in Cobb County.

Hint: They actually own a home in the county. Their family lives in the county.
COBB CSI
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February 06, 2014
His heart and all our taxpayer money is in Texas everybody knows Goat Ropers can’t trusted just ask the Lockheed Georgia employees DFW runs all that. This guy was and Cobb chamber EDGE crony from the get go.
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