Demond Means plans to create a new strategic plan for the school district in his first year as Clarke County School Superintendent.
But unlike previous strategic plans, this one would be developed with major community input, in a process that would be run by a company or agency with expertise in developing such plans.
Means’ aim is to have a plan “we can collectively rally around” that is “truly representative of the Athens-Clarke County community,” he recently told members of the Clarke County Board of Education.
Strategic planning was the second initiative Means announced at a board meeting earlier this month, his first board meeting since he took over the school district’s top administrative post July 10.
The organization would conduct focus groups, do surveys and ensure the plan is “data-driven,” he said.
In that meeting, Means also said he planned to hire a firm to conduct an external review of how the school district handled a rape case at Cedar Shoals High School last year and unrelated complaints of inappropriate sexual conduct against a coach and substitute teacher now charged with sexual molestation.
“We hope to have this process concluded by March 2018,” Means said after board Vice President Sarah Ellis asked what the timeline would be.
“It should drive everything that we do,” he said.
Board member Ovita Thornton noted the many other data-collection efforts that agencies in the county, including the school district, have undertaken in recent years.
“The RFP (request for proposal) should encourage them to do their homework on what we’ve already done,” she said.
Board member Vernon Payne asked Means if he knew the community well enough to get a plan done.
Means, who’s made it a point to meet people since he left Wisconsin for the Clarke job, said, “I haven’t gone one place” where people are not interested in the welfare of the community’s children, but noted many people don’t feel their voices are heard.
“I think this will be a very different process (than previous strategic plans) and I look forward to it,” said Ellis.