Of the six-member executive cabinet which reports to the superintendent, three positions are open after promotions and retirements.
The board promoted Chris Ragsdale from deputy superintendent of operational support to interim superintendent on April 10.
Cheryl Hungerford, deputy superintendent of leadership and learning, sent a blast email announcing her retirement during the press conference about Ragsdale’s promotion.
A third position came open May 16, when Amy Krause, chief academic officer of Cobb schools, announced her retirement via email.
Ragsdale will bring replacements before the school board for approval tonight.
The other three members of the executive cabinet are Brad Johnson, chief financial officer; Angela Huff, chief of staff; and Michael Shanahan, chief human resources officer.
Ragdale declined to comment on the appointments until the board votes.
Ragsdale is also expected to present other top positions outside of the executive cabinet, such as area assistant superintendents and principals. There are five area assistant
superintendents, each serving a geographic region of the county.
Coming directly from a cabinet-level position himself, Ragsdale talked about the importance of having strong leaders in those roles.
“I’ve been under the leadership of two different superintendents and witnessed different leadership styles,” Ragsdale said. “More importantly, I’ve come to know the district.”
A quick appointment of the cabinet by Ragsdale will be good for the district, said Randy Scamihorn, the board’s vice chairman. “You don’t want to be hasty, but the sooner he can make those appointments, the sooner he can move his agenda forward,” Scamihorn said. “I’d hope he’d name at least some of it (tonight), if not all.”
Board Chairwoman Kathleen Angelucci agreed.
“Just as previous Cobb superintendents chose their executive or leadership cabinet, it is vitally important that Mr. Ragsdale do the same,” Angelucci said in an email. “Especially with a system as large as Cobb, surrounding yourself with talented, transformational leaders is key to making an overall positive difference in student achievement. Having a team with the same vision and mission working together allows for the goal-setting process to be more clearly defined, realistic and timely.”
The board will also vote on the retirements of Kemp Elementary Principal Kristy Mason and Lindley Middle Principal Mike Bivens.
New principals will be appointed at Varner Elementary, Acworth Elementary and Riverside Intermediate.
A good news budget
The school board also will vote on final approval of a $900.2 million general fund budget, a jump from the current year’s $856.3 million.
“The biggest news about this budget is it’s all good news,” Ragsdale said. “We hope the board approves the final version and it’ll be good for the employees and students as well.”
Thanks to a jump in both state revenues and property taxes, the budget includes no furlough days, a 180-day school year, 1 percent raises for all employees and at least 300 new hires.
The board considered adding 400 new employees at the suggestion of school board member Scott Sweeney, but will stay at 300 unless changes are made before the vote tonight.
According to Johnson, the school district’s finance chief, 1,300 teacher positions were cut from the Cobb budget over the last five years. The addition of 300 new teachers next year adds some of those positions back. In total, the number of what the district calls local school positions will increase from 11,298 to 11,603.
Though maximum classroom sizes are set by the state, Cobb has received waivers in the past to put more students in classes than recommended. At first, Cobb put five extra students in classrooms, but last year, the district received permission to have eight additional students. Johnson said the 300 new teachers will reduce class sizes by an average of about one.