Walton High School principal Judy McNeill believes Ragsdale understands the total operation of the school district.
“I think he’s familiar with all the different branches, but I am particularly pleased because he has a history of making very wise decisions, and decisions that have benefited the system moving forward. So I think he will make a great leader in moving the system in the direction we need to go to be a better system.” McNeill said.
McNeill said Cobb educators should also be pleased.
“I think they should be extremely happy because he has a history of putting the right people in the right positions, and I think that that’s what’s going to be important,” McNeill said. “There are so many different branches of the system; no one person could be qualified to do them all, but he’s going to be able to choose the people to do a good job for all of those.”
Part of the new face of education, Tippins says
State Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-west Cobb), chairman of the Senate Education Committee and a former chairman of the Cobb school board, attended Thursday’s press conference that announced Ragsdale as finalist as a show of support.
Tippins said he’s observed Ragsdale since he came to head up the school district’s technology department in 2006.
“Two things I think that stand out about him, to me, is he’s insightful in his reasoning and is decisive in his action,” Tippins said. “He’s got good instincts about people and business, which I think you need to have as head of the school district.”
One of Ragsdale’s strengths is his technology expertise, Tippins said.
“I think one of the unique opportunities in having Chris Ragsdale is that you can marry technology and instruction, and he’s been able to do that,” Tippins said. “I think the changing face of education, in light of the cost, is we’re going to have to use technology more efficiently, and I think he can do that. That was his primary focus.”
Any successful leader is able to surround themselves with people who are able to make their team stronger, Tippins said.
“And from what I’ve seen, Chris Ragsdale is able to do that. I think his type of decision making will be part of the new face you see in education in the state of Georgia,” Tippins said.
A breath of fresh air, Reece believes
Earl Reece, executive director of the Strand Theatre and former director of Pebblebrook High School’s performing arts center, is a fan of Ragsdale.
“I’ve known Chris since he first came to this district,” Reece said. “I think he’ll do a great job. He’s knowledgeable, he’s extremely intelligent, and he shows a distinct commitment to this school district. I think he’ll bring a breath of fresh air for us. I think he’ll do a great job.”
Connie Jackson, president of the Cobb County Asso-ciation of Edu-cators, a non-union professional teachers group, applauded the board’s decision.
“I think it’s good because we’re taking somebody who actually understands the operations of the district, very well spoken, very upfront, very open-door policy,” Jackson said. “We’ve had a lot of dealings with Chris in the past through our work with transportation, with bus drivers, mechanics, and he’s always been very forthright, ready to tackle the problems, open to working with the organizations. And we’re really excited to see him as superintendent.”
Someone who knows the county, Ott says
Bob Ott, who represents southeast Cobb on the Board of Commissioners, called Ragsdale a great choice.
“You know, in some of the trying times we’ve had over the last couple months, particularly with the snowstorm, Chris was a huge asset I think for the school system and the county, in the coordination of the county and the school system to get the children home safely,” Ott said. “He stayed overnight and he was in constant communication with the county manager, so I think that it’s an excellent choice because it’s somebody who knows not just the school system but knows how the county operates.”
East Cobbers are in good hands, Ott believes.
“I’ve personally known Chris,” Ott said. “We’ve had numerous conversations, and I look forward to working with him.”
Cobb school board member David Banks said no one can question Ragsdale’s management skills.
“It’s just change,” Banks said. “People will have to recognize that change changes things. So we’ve just got to take the change, accept the change and make the best of it and move forward and make it better. But I think Chris, he has that same mentality, that same vision is, ‘OK, we’re at this point right now, let’s make this point a little higher, let’s move forward not down.’”