Heard By New Cobb Superintendent: Board Needs to Work Together

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New Cobb County school superintendent Michael Hinojosa revealed on Wednesday that disharmony among his bosses weighs on the minds of staffers as well as people he's spoken with in the community.

Hinojosa, who took over in July from retiring school's chief Fred Sanderson, said before making any major changes, he would embark on a listening tour, asking 100 people their thoughts about the system's needs.

He cut his tour short after interviewing 85 administrators, principals and non-staffers. He asked them all the same questions about what he should do first, then tabulated the results. (He's said he's fond of spreadsheets.)

A common thread: the board of education needs to harmonize.

"It was overwhelming that somehow I need to find a way for us -- all of us -- to work together as a board, as a team," Hinojosa told the board at their meeting Wednesday.

The seven-member board was locked in controversy earlier this year over a school calendar disagreement. New board members formed a majority that discarded an attendance calendar in effect since last year. That calendar, which would have continued this year, sliced a couple weeks off summer break and sprinkled them around the rest of the year.

The move prompted hundreds of letters to a regional accrediting agency demanding an investigation. People complained that the board was ruling by a four-person majority rather than by consensus.

Yet the board did manage unanimous agreement when selecting Hinojosa as the new superintendent.

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