By Harold C. Ford
The frequent makeover of board and administrative leadership teams at Flint Community Schools (FCS) was front and center at the board’s annual organization meeting Jan. 12.
Danielle Green replaced Carol McIntosh as the school board’s president. Joyce Ellis-McNeal moved into the vice president position, replacing Green. Adrian Walker replaced Ellis-McNeal as the board’s new secretary. Chris Del Morone was chosen to fill the assistant secretary-treasurer position previously held by Walker.
Laura MacIntyre was the only board member returned to the position she held in 2021, as the board’s treasurer.
Additionally, Kevelin Jones – FCS superintendent for two months since his appointment Nov. 17 last year – proposed a new-look structure for FCS central administration.
Contested presidency and vice presidency
Three persons were nominated for the board’s top position: Green; McIntosh; and Del Morone. Green claimed the president’s position on the first ballot with votes from Ellis-McNeal, MacIntyre, Walker, and Green. McIntosh received votes from Del Morone, Trustee Allen Gilbert, and McIntosh.
Ellis-McNeal captured the vice presidency by a similar 4-3 margin with support from MacIntyre, Walker, Del Morone, and Ellis-McNeal.
Walker (secretary), MacIntyre (treasurer), and Gilbert (assistant secretary-treasurer) all received winning 7-0 vote margins.
A “green” board
Except for Green and McIntosh who are in their sixth years of FCS board service – both elected in 2016 – all other board members have served on the panel for one year or less.
After taking two of the top three spots in the November, 2020 general election, Ellis-McNeal and MacIntyre took their seats in January, 2021. Walker was chosen the same month by the FCS board to fill the unoccupied seat of a third general election winner, Anita Moore, who did not fully meet board requirements.
In September, 2021, Del Morone and Gilbert were picked to fill seats that had been suddenly vacated due to the resignations of board veterans Diana Wright and Vera Perry the month before.
McIntosh had served as the board’s president for one year during calendar year 2021. It was an uncertain year marked by a pandemic, infrastructure challenges, financial uncertainties, unexpected board resignations, changes in administration, declining student enrollment, low standardized test scores, staff departures, board-administration tensions, and a controversial parting of ways with the district’s long-serving legal counsel.
Board meetings in 2021 were often lengthy, generally running three to five hours, and frequently marked by obvious tensions between and among its members.
Nonetheless, McIntosh was gracious in defeat.
“It was an honor to serve you [the public],” McIntosh said. “I’m sure Ms. Green will do an amazing job. And I’m in full support of all our officers no matter where I sit. My fight will always be for our students, the people who work in our district and in our community. So, thank you.”
According to her LinkedIn page, Green “was born and raised in Flint, Michigan.” She received a General Studies degree from Mott Community College, a Bachelor of Science degree from Central Michigan University with a concentration in Public Administration, and a Masters in Educational Leadership from Wayne State University.
Proposed new look for central administration
Supt. Jones proposed a new look for the central administration team:
- Keiona Murphy’s duties as the district’s assistant superintendent would include: “state and federal programs; technology; director of student and family services (enrollment); pupil accounting/programmer; athletics.”
- The executive director of academics (vacant at present) would preside over: “(the) office of academics; building principals; PE (presumably professional education); MTSS (multi-tiered system of supports) and health services; student data.”
- The executive director of HR (human resources) is a position currently occupied by Jorgina Rubin on an interim basis.
- The executive director of finance, a post currently occupied by Ayunna Dompreh, also includes a director of operations.
In 2021, Jones became Flint’s eighth superintendent in 16 years following the contentious departure of Anita Steward. A lawsuit was filed by Steward’s attorney, Tom Pabst, charging breach of contract and other violations.
In the past 18 months, FCS administrative changes began, but did not end with the superintendent’s office. It included the office of assistant superintendent, director of operations, director of finance, and multiple changes at the building(s) level.
An acrimonious ending of the decades-long relationship with its former legal counsel, The Williams Firm, may yet end up in court.
Eileen Tomasi, FCS school health coordinator for 11 years, stepped down in Sept. 2021. That position is still vacant.
EVM Education Beat reporter can be reached at email@example.com.