2 out of 3 school board members show for tribunal
by Kathryn Dobies
kdobies@mdjonline.com
June 18, 2010 12:00 AM | 4085 views | 37 37 comments | 42 42 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA - Cobb County school board member David Morgan was more than two hours late to a board tribunal hearing Thursday morning for a tenured teacher appealing his dismissal.

The hearing was slated to start at 9 a.m., but had to be postponed because only two of the three board members - Dr. John Abraham and David Banks - were present.

At 9:30 a.m., with Morgan still a no-show, the tribunal was postponed to 11 a.m., the time Morgan informed his colleagues he might be able to make it by. At 11:25 a.m., Morgan strolled into the boardroom in shorts and tennis shoes, saying he had forgotten that the hearing was that day.

Morgan took office in January 2009, and according to district records, has been absent for at least 14 of the board's 40 meetings, though that includes special sessions, such as budget meetings.

On Thursday, the district began its first of more than 30 appeal hearings scheduled this summer for tenured teachers who were fired or laid off. Any tenured teacher who is fired or laid off from the district is allowed to contest that action through an appeal hearing.

On June 11, John Adams, director of employee relations for CCSD, said that 37 hearings were scheduled for the summer, and most of the hearings are for teachers who were let go because of job performance issues, such as an unsatisfactory on a teacher evaluation. In order to be a tenured teacher, the person has to have taught for four years in Cobb County, or have been a tenured teacher in another district, and then taught for two additional years in Cobb.

Dr. David Deru, a former ninth grade biology teacher at Hillgrove High School who was fired because of an unsatisfactory rating on his teacher evaluation, took the stand at Thursday's appeal hearing, saying he felt persecuted at the school.

"The atmosphere was very condescending, very patronizing, very racist," Deru said.

Deru, a Cobb teacher for 9 years and an educator for more than 32 years, was reassigned to Hillgrove after eight years at South Cobb High School.

The school district's attorney, Nina Gupta, of Brock, Clay, Calhoun and Rogers, said Deru was supposed to be laid off after the 2008-09 school year for an unsatisfactory teacher evaluation, but because of glitch in the district's system with the timing of his paperwork, he was transferred to Hillgrove.

Gupta and neither of the district's human resources representatives who testified, Dr. Donald Dunning, the chief of HR, and Tim Baker, CCSD's director of employment, further explained the situation regarding Deru's end of employment at South Cobb. Hillgrove Principal Robert Shaw testified that not only did he observe issues with Deru's classroom management, but that he had fielded numerous complaints from students and teachers regarding Deru throughout the school year.

"There's really nothing I saw, either officially, formally or informally that indicates he's a good teacher," Shaw said of Deru. "...We've never had any personal issues ... but professionally, he's not a good teacher and he's not good for the kids at Hillgrove High School."

Deru's attorney, Borquaye Thomas of the Law Office of B.A. Thomas, LLC in Atlanta, called only Deru to testify.

Darrell Caudill, Jr., of Roach, Caudill and Gunn, LLP from Canton, served as the hearing officer.

The tribunal has five days to make a written recommendation to the entire school board about whether to reinstate Deru's contract, and then the full board makes the final decision.
Comments
(37)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Science Teacher
|
June 21, 2010
I personally know Dr. David Deru to be an excellent teacher. He has successfully taught on three continents and has over thirty years of experience in teaching, community involvement, and elsewhere. He has even worked with the United Nations. I am not a fan of the UN, but I think that Dr. Deru is a great teacher. His only fault is that stood up to an administrator who was more interested in his own career than that of his teachers. In order to rise in the ranks of administrators and principals, you have to burn a lot of people.
Good for Shaw
|
June 19, 2010
As a Hillgrove parent I want to thank Mr. Shaw for following through and getting rid of a bad teacher. Everyone knows that Deru would have been passed on to another Cobb County School. That seems to be the way it is done until a Principal takes the time and documentation to do the right thing. And shame on the South Cobb Principal who did not do a thing to stop this. That is where the fault lies and then next with the CCSB for the "glitch in the system".
Out of Touch
|
June 19, 2010
While this story is not about Mr. Shaw, I must say that I think he has done a great job replacing Mr. Boland. My son got into some trouble and he spent about an hour talking with us and showing us that he cared. He is at every event and is very well spoken. Read his emails to parents and you will see where his priorities are.
CCCD Teacher
|
June 19, 2010
I am not familiar with the Hillgrove-David Deru matter. However, a word of caution to the tribunal: If Dr. Deru is such a bad teacher, why did the Cobb system take over ten years to get rid of him? Also, Cobb administrators and principals at frequently at odds with their teachers. This could simply be a clash of personalities. Dr. Deru was a teacher for over thirty years. Maybe the principal should be to one to go. In fact, that raises an interesting question.... Cobb terminated over five hundred teachers. HOW MANY ADMINISTRATORS AND TEACHERS DID THEY TERMINATE?
Cobb Voter
|
June 19, 2010
The Cobb County School Board is a joke. I frequently watch the board meetings via the Internet. All that David Morgan does is to second motions made by Mrs. Crowder-Eagle.

Concerned Teacher
|
June 19, 2010
David Morgan should be ashamed for not showing up on time to give Dr. Deru a fair hearing.

Concerned Cobb Teacher
What the??
|
June 18, 2010
CP time?
disgusted again
|
June 18, 2010
David Morgan's background should have been checked before his constituents voted for him. His "career" as a CCSD teacher would speak for itself.

His behavior is shameful and irresponsible. How sad that we finally have an African American male to sit on the board and we managed to find one who can barely put a coherent sentence together, when he bothers to speak.

And to think he sits on a tribunal to determine others' worthiness. And makes decisions which affect thousands of lives. What a disgrace.
Shaw is a joke
|
June 18, 2010
As a parent at Hillgrove, it is hard to take this man serious. Not sure how he ended up as a principal after only 3 years of experience. Not sure how you can take anything he says very serious. We need Joe Boland Back! He was a real principal and ran a good school. Shaw is a new principal that has run a good school into the ground.
Thank You Again
|
June 18, 2010
Betty Gray would NEVER have behaved in such a manner. She LOVES the South Cobb area in which she lives and did her best for her constituents and the kids while on the board. South Cobb residents - wake up and get rid of this guy who thinks nothing of our children and their teachers.
@south cobb noter
|
June 18, 2010
Hey south cobb voter---i am sorry to hear about those teachers that lost their jobs over "just attendance and tardy issues". Are you serious? If you are taking my tax dollars to do a job, then your butt needs to come to work and be on time. That is the problem with this country, we settle for mediocrity and accept this rubbish that it's OK to not follow directives and then get pissed off when the ramifications are that you lost your job.

I am 100% certain that these teachers who lost their jobs not only had consistent tardies and absences, but the crappy attitudes and poor teaching abilities (trifecta!) to match.

There are excellent teachers who are on time to work rarely tardy that were RIFed---don't feel sorry for those slackers that were fired for being late and tardy. I am sure they will have no problem joining the real world and finding a job with a boss that allows them to be consistently tardy and absent!

To all of you teachers coming back to work in the fall---fair warning, it appears that if you are late all the time, your job is on the line--oh yeah, it's already in the employee policy--get to work on time!
CindyO
|
June 18, 2010
Not only does Mr. Morgan not like to show up for meetings but he doesn't answer e-mails either from people that live in his area. I've tried several times to get answers about "hot" issues from him to be totally ignored, even after Lynnda Crowder-Eagle answered after I'd show her the times I'd e-mail him without response. He should be paying us to represent us south Cobb residents instead of us paying him for doing nothing! At least when Betty was representing the area she'd answer questions you had!!!
Clarkdale Resident
|
June 18, 2010
Neither David Morgan nor his wife represent their constituents. They only grandstand for themselves. Come on South Cobb - unite and vote these jokers out of office!
CP time
|
June 18, 2010
Is his lateness chronic OR is it just CP time?
McEachern Parent
|
June 18, 2010
When my son graduated from McEachern in 2009, the ceremony was late starting because "we" were waiting on David Morgan to arrive.Administration finally gave up and started the processional of the grads, after EVERYONE was seated and the program started, here he came on the field, driven up on a golf cart;disrupting everything, then had the nerve to bow when he came on stage. I was appalled. Betty Gray was never late to attend a graduation. I thought it was very disrespectful and self-centered. SomeXFINone beside me then said that he was late to everything so he could make an entrance. RECALL HIM!
South Cobb Voter
|
June 18, 2010
David Morgan should be recalled. If that does not work this South Cobb Voter will certainly remember this disrespectful behavior in the future. Mr. Morgan recently voted to dismiss some teachers with only attendance or tardiness issues! Considering the seriousness of Mr. Morgan’s offense I do not think the voters should allow him time to “remediate his poor job performance”. As for his attire at the hearing, perhaps he thought it was the School Board’s designated day for “Thoughtless Thursday”.
OHBROTHER
|
June 18, 2010
And Morgan is one of the people who are helping to decide the fate of the RIFed teachers? That is a joke!!! Maybe the CCSD higher administration did that on purpose!!!!!!!!!!!!!
piggybacking
|
June 18, 2010
I would like to affirm what Morgan "constituent" has posted. Two days after the flood in September, the Clarkdale community was to attend a meeting at Ewing Road Baptist Church. This was to inform the parents of how the students were to be taken care of for the rest of the school year. County officials, including other school board members were in attendance. However, David Morgan strolled in at least 30 minutes late, sort of lingering around the front of the church until someone acknowledged his presence. He appeared to be making his "grand entrance". Some who sat near him said he seemed to spend a lot of time texting or playing on his cell phone. These reports of him showing up late for this tribunal are not surprising to me in the least.
Full Disclosure
|
June 18, 2010
FYI - The Hillgrove Principal has very few fans among his staff. It is said by many he is a dictator and is given to throwing veiled threats at teachers and staff. He is one of Fred's "yes men". Thirteen years ago Mr. Shaw was a Dock Supervisor for Roadway Express in Atlanta. I hope all of these CCSD elites realize a new board will soon be seated and they have NOT missed one moment of the elites’ pathetic behavior.
Tired of Morgan
|
June 18, 2010
David Morgan is a waste. He never promotes the positive in the south end of the county, and we are doing great things down here! He is oblivious to his surroundings and just doesn't care. His wife should be very upset with him, because he is not helping her cause.

You can put David Morgan and David Deru on the same bus out of Cobb!!!!!
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides