In the weeks ahead, the current members of the Fayette County School Board — Janet Smola, Terri Smith, Lee Wright, Marion Key and Dr. Bob Todd — will make the most important decision a school board can make: the naming of a new superintendent to head the Fayette County School System.
Their decision will either enhance or be detrimental to our school system. Many Fayette County residents moved here for the highly regarded school system that makes Fayette County’s way of life so valuable. Now the present 5-member school board will make a decision that could affect the way of life in Fayette County.
There are three finalists, Dr. Roy Pugh, Dr. Jeffrey Bearden, and Ms. Lynda (Lyn) Wenzel.
At the Jan. 27, 2009 board meeting, a recommendation to the board was made by Dr. John DeCotis that all certified 210-day and 240-day employees would take four and five days of voluntary furlough, respectively. These employees are the assistant principals, principals, superintendent, assistant superintendents, deputy superintendent, and instructional coordinators.
At that time, the language of the contracts for these individuals did not allow for mandated furloughs, hence, the furloughs were voluntary.
Dr. DeCotis told the board that he thought these administrators would all participate. As it so happened, 88 percent of the 210- and 240-day administrators chose to take voluntary furlough days.
At the same board meeting, Dr. DeCotis also recommended that all non-certified 210-day and 240-day employees take two days of involuntary furlough. These employees did not have contracts and therefore could be furloughed. The non-contracted employees hold positions such secretaries and custodians.
Since the 2008-2009 school year, the head of the school system has called upon all employees to sacrifice. Dr. John DeCotis did this on Jan. 27, 2009. All but a few accepted his call.
According to her application for superintendent, in January 2009, Ms. Wenzel was an assistant superintendent in Fayette County, with a salary of $130,000. Although her salary was among the four highest salaries of nearly 3,000 employees, she chose not to take any furlough days.
Leadership is an important quality for the new superintendent to possess. A leader leads by example. When Ms. Lyn Wenzel was called upon by Dr. John DeCotis to sacrifice five days of her salary, Ms. Wenzel did not show leadership.
Ms. Lyn Wenzel should not be considered for superintendent of Fayette County Schools.
teacher, Fayette County Schools
Peachtree City, Ga.