Ragsdale, the CCSD deputy superintendent of operational support, was named as the sole finalist for interim superintendent at a 9:30 a.m. press conference. At 10:12 a.m. Cheryl Hungerford, deputy superintendent of leadership and learning, announced she was leaving the school system through an email sent to all CCSD principals.
“There is a season for everything and a time for every purpose under the heaven,” Hungerford said in the email. “And now is the season for me to devote more time to my family and friends.”
Hungerford said she’d enjoyed her career with the district, which began in 1980, but she was leaving to retire effective May 28 to spend more time with her grandchildren.
Hungerford was one of seven finalists for the superintendent position but the school board chose Ragsdale instead.
Though her resignation came just minutes after that announcement, she insisted the two were not related.
“This is not a resignation for any reason other than my intent to retire,” she said. “That has been a decision-making process my family and friends have enjoyed over the last few months. The superintendent (Dr. Michael Hinojosa) was well-aware of my intentions to retire.”
She said the resignation had been set for Thursday before the Ragsdale announcement was scheduled.
“Chris is a great guy,” Hungerford said. “He’ll do a great job.”
But not many knew of Hungerford’s intentions ahead of time.
“I was surprised,” said school board member David Banks. “Disappointed. She’s been a very good asset for the Cobb County school system. My preference, although I haven’t talked to her yet, is that she would continue to stay.”
Hungerford’s long career began as a teacher. She later worked as an assistant principal, principal, area assistant superintendent, chief of staff and finally deputy superintendent for the last two school years.
How the hierarchy works
In the hierarchy of CCSD, the superintendent is the top position. The next step down is two deputy superintendents, one over operations and the other over leadership and learning. Below that are the chiefs of human resources, staff, academics and finance, followed by five area assistant superintendents.
Banks said he imagines an area assistant superintendent may get Hungerford’s job, citing Dale Gaddis in particular, but noted the final call is made by the superintendent.
“All that’s really up to the interim superintendent right now,” he said.
Gaddis, who was also one of the seven finalists for the job, was absent from Thursday’s press conference, despite the other area assistant superintendents and executive administrators who attended as a show of support for Ragsdale.
Teacher allotments issued
Before leaving, Hungerford also issued expected teacher allotments for the 2014-15 school year. She said they were sent with the permission of Hinojosa and human resources staff and only set the overall number of teachers at what it was last year. Any added slots will have to be approved by the school board during the upcoming budget process.
Calls and emails sent to school board chairwoman Kathleen Angelucci seeking comment were not immediately returned Thursday.