Berkeley school district names likely new superintendent

Edmond Heatley: most likely BUSD’s next Superintendent

Berkeley Unified School District looks set to name Edmond Heatley as its new Superintendent, pending agreement on his contract.

Heatley is currently Superintendent and Chief Executive Officer of Clayton County Public Schools, a school district near Atlanta, Georgia.

BUSD says they have narrowed the field of candidates down to one and that is Heatley. Once due diligence is completed, the Board will be in a position to formally offer Heatley an employment contract.

Heatley announced his resignation from his post yesterday, saying he was leaving for an unspecified post.

“The board believes we have our superintendent,” said Board President John Selawsky. “We just need to fill in the details.”

Selawsky added that even though the appointment is not confirmed, the board wanted the community to know that they are in the final stages of finding a replacement for Bill Huyett, who recently retired.

A district team, headed by School Board member Karen Hemphill, is today in Georgia completing a site visit in Clayton County Public Schools where Heatley is superintendent. The visit consisted of interviews with school board members, parents, teachers, staff, district administrators, union leadership, and community leaders. Selawsky said Hemphill had reported that the visit went well.

Selawsky said Heatley impressed the board because he has been a successful superintendent and because “he has a real commitment to changing children’s lives and to helping them be successful.” “He has all the skill sets necessary to be successful in Berkeley,” he said.

Clayton County has approximately 52,000 students and more than 7,500 employees serving in 70 school sites. Berkeley Unified is responsible for educating more than 9,400 students in 16 schools.

Heatley began his career in public education as a classroom teacher in the Norfolk, VA, public schools teaching students with disabilities in 1996. In 1998, Heatley moved to California, where he would spend the next 11 years of his professional life. He was assistant superintendent in the Grant Joint Union High School District in Sacramento and associate superintendent for personnel with the Oceanside Unified School District in Oceanside. In 2005, he was chosen to lead the Chino Valley Unified School District as the superintendent of schools.

Hentley assumed his current position in Clayton County in 2009. He was the fifth superintendent in the district in just two years.

Heatley retired as a decorated Marine officer serving on active duty from 1983 to 1996 and was a member of the Marine Corps Reserves from 1996 to 2004. Heatley and his wife of 21 years, Karen, have three children, including their youngest who is a senior in high school this year.

Heatley’s financial management and management style sometimes collided with board members in Clayton, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also criticized for putting his wife and two children on the district payroll while teachers were being laid off.

In a press release, Heatley said he was looking forward to coming to Berkeley. “I am excited about the opportunity to join a high achieving team focused on ensuring that every student has the opportunity to achieve greatness. I believe in a fair break for every child and that all students can learn. It is great to see that the Berkeley community feels the same way, putting action behind their words,” he said.

Selawsky said he hoped the BUSD could make the appointment at its meeting on Sept. 19.

Read Heatley’s biography here.
Read more biographical information here.
Read the BUSD press release on Heatley.

Georgia newspaper stories on Heatley’s departure:

Clayton News Daily
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Berkeley school district names two interim superintendents [08.23.12]
Two interim superintendents to take reins at BUSD [08.16.12]
What does Berkeley want from its new schools head? [03.14.12]
Berkeley schools superintendent Bill Huyett to retire [12.06.11]

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  • The Sharkey

    Heatley announced his resignation from the 51,000-student Clayton
    County district last week, just days before officials from the Berkeley
    Unified School District visited Clayton to interview school board
    members, teachers and parents. That site visit is the final step in an
    extensive vetting process to verify the credentials of Heatley, the sole
    finalist in what was a national search for a superintendent, according
    to a press release sent out by the Berkeley school district.

    “I’m excited about the opportunity to join a high achieving team
    focused on ensuring that every student has the opportunity to achieve
    greatness,” Heatley said in the released sent out by the Berkeley
    district. “I believe in a fair break for every child and that all
    students can learn. It is great to see that the Berkeley community feels
    the same way, putting action behind their words.”

    Those words come less than a month after Heatley in an interview with
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reiterated his commitment to Clayton
    County students. “My plan is to be in Clayton County until the work is
    done,” Heatley said in the Aug. 21 profile about him. “Is that a number
    of years? I don’t know. I will know when my team says we’re able to
    stand on our own two feet … when disciplinary rates go down and
    graduation rates go up.”

    Wow. Just… wow.
    I can’t fathom why Berkeley would want to hire someone who’s so eager to skip town and lie to the parents and teachers in his district.

  • Baseballmom

     Sorry to say the student achievement scores have dropped ever since he walked in the door.  The achievement gap has grown deeper.

  • Done there. Been that.

    Why did Slemp jump ship abruptly? Why did Huyett suddenly develop a burning desire for home life? Because they wanted to. What should Heatley have said to the reporter – “Hey I’ve had enough of this. I’m looking for a job. Can you help me spread the word?”

  • Heather_W_62

    Well that would be in keeping with Huyett’s record then. 

  • The Sharkey

    You may find lying to the public “par for the course” for a school Superintendent and leave his district in the lurch, but I find it unacceptable.

    Why spend well in excess of $300,000 a year for someone who’s going to bolt at the first sign of trouble?

  • Done there. Been that.

    “lying” “…leaving his district in the lurch”! The campaign against this man has won the heart of one of our more critical posters. 

  • PragmaticProgressive

    So he resigned on August 29th, after saying this on August 21st.  In just 8 days, the “work [was] done” and Clayton became “able to stand on [its] own two feet.”  

    Maybe he really does walk on water!

    So if it only takes 8 days to cut disciplinary rates and boost graduation rates in a district of 51,000 students, he’ll have our 9,000 students whipped into shape in less than 1.5 days.  Amazing!

    BUSD should re-open Willard pool just so Heatley can walk across it for his victory lap.

  • Done there. Been that.

    Why the next BUSD superintendent will be so important to our kids education: 

    If you’ve got a kid at BHS, ask them how many of their classmates don’t have desks.  Ask them how many students are in their classes. 35? 38? 40?

    When the big cuts to education come next year, BUSD will not have sufficient funds to continue educating the entire East Bay. Berkeleyans will have a choice: Fulfill our obligation to Berkeley’s children. OR: Continue bloating the district with other cities kids for the benefit of BUSD staffing levels and salaries.

    Tacitly permitting fraudulent registration isn’t  driven by ‘inclusiveness’, it’s a money grab for state funding. Every warm body in BUSD’s classrooms drives cash to the district. It doesn’t matter were the kids are from, BUSD gets the dough. But it’s not nearly enough to do the job. Not without diluting BSEP funds and adding more parcel taxes. 

    The board alone will not make the decisions necessary to downsize BUSD to meet the demands of Berkeley’s own children. Strong leadership from the superintendents office will be crucial to meeting this challenge.

  • So I obviously agree with you.

    However, I must point out that the Board has shown no interest in even talking about this challenge, let alone taking it on.  We need outside intervention.

  • The Sharkey

    By “campaign against this man” do you mean “reality” and “examining his recent actions?”

  • Disillusioned Berkeley Parent
  • Teenie8270

    Story in Georgia is BAD   Cheating scandal at several schools on standardized testing  the Kids can’t read at grade level  and teachers are disgusted…  and I heard  DR Heatley loves the ladies… his  wife ( on the payroll )   found out about one and started a BIG ruckus at the  main office….

  • From Clayton

    We had plenty of money when he came.  I put his Deputy, who served as his Deputy (no leadership certificate) who was a former Chief Financial Officer, in charge of the Finance Department.  He put two leaders in charge of the Finance Department (Chief and Director) who had “ZERO” experience in this area.  That was a red flag for me.

    In essence, Heatley and his Deputy had their hand on the pulse of ALL of the money in the school district; therefore, could make the reports look any way they wanted them to look.  When the Board asked for details, he accused them of interfering with the operation of the school district.

    Do your home work.  This Deputy Superintendent has followed him to “3” school districts and has  no credentials in education.

  • No it’s not Sharkey.  You must not know Ed.

  • LocalParent

    Some people making comments here have discussed “being a more
    data-driven” district (a goal Wilson describes for Berkeley) have
    assumed that this means either A) being a more careful watchdog of the
    budget or B) removing kids from BUSD who they feel do not meet residency
    requirements (and never met them in the past). 

    However, “data-driven” applies to test scores.  Being MORE data-driven means:

    making MORE assessments of children that can easily be understood and
    compared by politicians, bureaucrats, the media, and the general
    public.  Read: more bubble tests.

    – It means LESS education and
    MORE testing.  Time taken for testing is less time to actually teach :
    Finland does NO standardized testing. They know it provides no value to
    the KIDS.
    – It means narrowing the curriculum still further. 
    The curriculum in Berkeley schools has narrowed in the time that my kids
    have been in the district (since 2003), particularly in the realm of
    science, but also the homework has degraded to bubble sheets, which are
    used as “test practice.”  The public and the politicians have demanded
    the blood of teachers who don’t keep raising those test scores in TWO
    subjects : reading and math. And, so we are getting what we have
    demanded : two subjects being taught.

    – It means more remediation (especially for poor kids) to the exclusion of a rich arts and science curriculum.

  • LocalParent

     Nepotism is the norm in BUSD.  You can see it in who is hired as teachers, support staff and the after-school program : look for the relatives or the people dating relatives, look at which employees qualify for health insurance and which do not.

    Nepotism is wrong.

  • LocalParent

     And did that increase the suspension rate of black kids?  Aren’t we trying to decrease that? :-)

    Of course, the “gap” in suspension can always be decreased by INCREASING the suspension rate of white and latino kids. 

  • bgal4

    Flash point, not all poor kids, minority and English language learners included, test poorly and are placed in remediation. In fact,  ESL students who identified as English proficient within three years of instruction test also test scholars in Math and Science, despite economics or parental English skills.These kids come from homes with structure and expectations of success in education.

  • Tedwest70

    Dr. Heatley leaves a hot mess here in Clayton County.  Don’t just listen to his the few he hand selected to be questioned by your team.  Do real research on what Dr. Heatley has accomplished as the leader of Clayton County Schools…… Nothing.  Our test score, graduation rate, employee retention, budget is at an all time low.  Look past the smoke and mirrors.  He does not care about the children, He cares about HIS career.

    You can have him we will put a bow on him and ship him to you first class however your children will pay the price.

  • newread

    We had to go far afield because the School Board completely botched the last search.  Nobody local would dare take the job when the Board is so dysfunctional. I think they should have stayed with their Interim Superintendents for the rest of the year and started again when the new board is seated.

    Why Heatley is what I am wondering. Yes, perhaps in a troubled District as a “fixer,” but that is not where BUSD is at. Yes, there are many differing opinions and things aren’t perfect, but we also don’t need someone to come in and completely reorganize the district. We need a strong leader who will tackle problems without alienating the amazing community of families and staff that we are truly lucky to have. BUSD has a 10% reserve. We have small classes, arts, libraries, athletics, and great facilities. We don’t need a fixer. We need a leader to get us into the 21st century.

  • Andie Mock

    Woa. Woa. Woa. Check out this blog about Heatley from Clayton County GA. 

    Not too many tears. Most comments were of the “I do not care who hired him as long as he is GONE!” variety. According to the blog he hired his wife and kids with retirement plans at the same time he laid off teachers. Sounds like we dodged a bullet here. What were the board and fancy consultants thinking?!?!?


    His Salary: 2010—–$285,000     2011——$340,000.  Straight robbed the school district and tax payer.