Special advisor says she will work ‘collaboratively’ with DeKalb County School DistrictPhoto obtained via the Bibb County School District
Editor’s note: This reporting first appeared in The District, an exclusive publication for Decaturish.com subscribers providing a behind-the-scenes look at our reporting on DeKalb County Schools. To become a paying subscriber, visit supportmylocalnews.com
By Sara Amis, contributor
DeKalb County, GA — The Georgia Department of Education has hired Dr. Tanzy Kilcrease as a Special Appointed Advisor to help the DeKalb County School District address the issues outlined in the corrective action plan that GA DOE presented to the district May 12.
Kilcrease says her role is to support the district so that they can meet the objectives laid out for them by the state superintendent.
“My primary role is to work collaboratively with the DeKalb County facilities team to ensure that we have standard quality facilities and for them to implement the corrective action plan with fidelity,” said Kilcrease.
That action plan was developed after an inspection of Druid Hills HS by a team from GADOE and a series of meetings with DCSD staff. The plan includes a list of immediate repairs to Druid Hills High School and a requirement to modernize both Druid Hills High and Cross Keys High. It also requires the district to address systemic operations issues throughout the district, including but not limited to maintenance workflow.
Kilcrease, as the outgoing Chief of Staff of the Bibb County School District, brings her prior experience overseeing operations, maintenance, facilities, and capital planning departments for the school district that encompasses the city of Macon.
Before serving as Chief of Staff, Kilcrease was the Assistant Superintendent and an Associate Superintendent in Bibb County, and the Director of School Improvement in Peach County. She holds an Ed.D. in educational leadership from Argosy University, a specialist degree in administration and supervision from Georgia College and State University, a master’s in administration and supervision from Georgia College and State University, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Georgia College.
Kilcrease was already slated to take a school improvement program manager position in the state Department of Education when she was asked to take on the advisor role for DeKalb.
Kilcrease will also assist the district in assessing existing internal processes and putting “effective and efficient” practices in place.
The goal, she said, was to implement best practices so that the district won’t find itself back in the same place after the current action plan is done.
Kilcrease, who is still in the process of finishing up the school year in Bibb County, has not been able to meet with DCSD staff in person yet but has spoken to interim Superintendent Vasanne Tinsley.
“[She was] very receptive, and understands that this is a collaboration,” said Kilcrease.
Kilcrease said that the action plan has some short-term goals with a deadline of June 30, and the first objective is to meet that deadline while also developing a plan to meet the longer-term goals. The district is required to provide GA DOE with regular updates, and Kilcrease said she would be in frequent communication with State Superintendent Richard Woods and GADOE Chief of Staff Matt Jones.
Kilcrease emphasized that the corrective action plan encompasses all the district, not just one or two schools.
“The goal is to have facilities that are a standard of quality for the entire district, and a safe learning environment for every student, every administrator, and faculty and staff member,” said Kilcrease.
To that end, in addition to improving efficiency in operations, Kilcrease will help develop a District Rapid Response Team that will address additional facilities issues identified by students and stakeholders. She also plans to focus on the district’s existing Comprehensive Master Plan as a tool to solve the district’s facilities problems.
“That is the goal, for us to really dig into this comprehensive master plan, to look at these assessments, and really, truly sit down to develop a plan of action to ensure that there are quality facilities for all schools,” said Kilcrease.
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