Thad Mayfield

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Thad Mayfield
Thad Mayfield.jpg
Board member, DeKalb County Board of Education, District 9
Former member
Elections and appointments
Last electionJuly 22, 2014
AppointedMarch 13, 2013
Appointed byGovernor Nathan Deal
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
South DeKalb New/More Schools Initiative
1985 - 1990
Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity
1989 - 1993
Education
Bachelor'sTougaloo College
Master'sMercer University
Personal
ProfessionManagement consultant
Websites
Office website
Campaign website
Thad Mayfield campaign logo
Thad Mayfield was the District 9 member of the DeKalb County Board of Education in Georgia. He won the District 5 general election on May 20, 2014, but lost to newcomer Vickie B. Turner in the runoff election on July 22, 2014.

His District 9 seat was eliminated in the May 2014 election when the board shrunk from nine to seven seats.[1] He was first appointed to the board by Governor Nathan Deal on March 13, 2013.[2]

Prior to Mayfield's appointment, Governor Deal removed six members of the DeKalb Board of Education from office after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed the school district under "accredited probation" status. This was due to an audit that revealed issues with board governance, unethical practices and fiscal mismanagement.[3]

Biography

Thad Mayfield resides in DeKalb County, Georgia. Mayfield received his B.A. in political science from Tougaloo College earning his M.B.A. from Mercer University. He spent 10 years working for AT&T as an account executive and business portfolio manager and another six years as a sales and customer business manager with Guoxin Lucent Technologies Network Technologies.

Since 1998, Mayfield has been employed as a senior partner with FOCOM, Inc., which is a business management and consultant firm.[4] From 1985 to 1990, he served as a member of the South DeKalb New/More Schools Initiative grassroots initiative. He also served three terms as a member of the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity from 1989 to 1993.[5]

Elections

2014

See also: DeKalb County School District elections (2014)

Opposition

Thad Mayfield and Vickie B. Turner defeated challengers Pia Bhatti, Jesse Cunningham and R. Alexander Fitzhugh for the District 5 seat in the general election on May 20, 2014. Although the District 5 seat normally carries a four-year term, this election was for a two-year term. Turner defeated Mayfield in the runoff election on July 22, 2014.[6]

Cunningham was the District 5 member of the board from 2006 to February 2013.[7] He was removed from office by Governor Nathan Deal, who appointed Mayfield to replace him.[2]

Results

Runoff election
DeKalb County School District, District 5 Runoff Election, 2-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngVickie B. Turner 59.7% 5,192
     Nonpartisan Thad Mayfield Incumbent 40.3% 3,499
Total Votes 8,691
Source: Georgia Secretary of State, "General Primary/General Nonpartisan/Special Election - July 22, 2014," accessed July 23, 2014 These election results are unofficial. They will be updated once certified election results are available.
General election
DeKalb County School District, District 5 General Election, 2-year term, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngThad Mayfield Incumbent 36.1% 4,407
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngVickie B. Turner 28.1% 3,436
     Nonpartisan Jesse Cunningham 27.6% 3,372
     Nonpartisan R. Alexander Fitzhugh 4.5% 549
     Nonpartisan Pia Bhatti 3.8% 460
Total Votes 12,224
Source: Georgia Secretary of State, "General Primary/General Nonpartisan/Special Election - May 20, 2014," accessed July 10, 2014

Funding

Mayfield reported $1,173.00 in contributions and $798.56 in expenditures to the DeKalb County Department of Voter Registration and Elections, which left his campaign with $374.44 on hand.[8]

Endorsements

Mayfield did not receive any endorsements during the election.

Campaign themes

2014

Mayfield published a list of his priorities on his campaign website:

Vision: A DeKalb County school system that ensures all students master critical skills and cultivate their natural abilities, in a safe and open environment that maximizes the quality of their learning experience.

Mission: Create a high performing school system

Goals:

A) Create a school system that strengthens the student-teacher bond and makes it easy for parents and communities to work with each school.

B) Build strong parent and community relationships with each school to get the ideas, volunteers, and funding needed to best equip our classrooms and prepare our students for a global future.

C) Strengthen our school system's leaders and administrators to make continuous improvements in academics and to be more responsive to the DeKalb community, at the least practical cost to tax payers.

Immediate Priorities: 1) Increase graduation rates with confirmed students results, 2) Implement a measurable school system strategic plan, 3) Implement results driven parent and community engagement plan for each school, 4) Improve training and performance of school leaders and monitoring of entire system 5) Collaborate to implement proactive economic development and tax base management plans[9]

—Thad Mayfield campaign website, (2014), [10]

In an interview with 90.1 WABE, Mayfield answered several questions outlining his campaign themes:

Why should voters choose you? What makes you stand out as a candidate?

Voters should choose me because I care and I am committed. I am a collaborator and can support and get the support of my peers. Ultimately, I get positive results. Equally as important, I am visionary about the outlook for our children and our school system. Finally, among my challengers, I also uniquely understand the leadership and governance challenges of our county and believe I can contribute to a way forward.

What are some of the biggest educational challenges facing the district? How can you, as a board member, address those issues?

I think the biggest challenge facing our school district and constituents in District 5 is one of culture – multiple unaligned paradigms. We don’t conduct ourselves as if we have a comprehensive and collective understanding of the challenges we face or the opportunities we have to overcome the challenges and excel, how we can and must collaborate, and consequently how to move forward. As a board member I believe I can help address those issues by first getting and sharing information based clarity about our performance as a District and how that performance impacts the quality of our daily lives. Secondly, I have a broad set of county-wide relationship that I believe can be convened to set a tone for common ground and mutual progress, instead of what appears to often a tone of mistrust, misaligned expectation, and zero-sum gamesmanship.

Until recently, DeKalb was on “accredited probation” due mainly to concerns about school board governance. The district recently improved its status to “accredited warned.” But DeKalb still has a long way to go. As a board member, what will you do to ensure the district keeps improving?

The short answer to ensure the district keeps improving is to complete the 6 Required Actions (RA) the District has and establish a monitoring and reporting protocol for all fourteen RA for the next 3-5 years. During that time and for the long-term, I believe we need to integrate the criteria associated with the RAs and SACS standards into our District ongoing and routine evaluations of its performance in ways that show material impacts on academic, financial, Board, Administration output.

According to the Georgia School Boards Association, individual board members don’t have the authority to make decisions about the district. That authority lies with the board as a whole. How will you work to ensure the board makes decisions together instead of pursuing individual agendas?

This is a fundamental question, my top priority following the academic and financial performance, culture of the District. The answer is essential to our success, not simply in mitigating the concerns of SACS, but in setting a cultural tone and accountability for high expectations and high performance.

I am actively working with board members off-line and in Board Retreats to address that very issue. My contribution to the effort is to encourage the Board as a body to establish a base set of standards that reflect our combined priorities from which to begin all deliberations and decisions/votes. I expect and certainly hope that this approach will begin to solidify our common ground and help to work through and resolve our differences.[9]

90.1 WABE interview, (2014), [5]

In response to a questionnaire conducted by It's For Them - DeKalb, Mayfield answered several questions outlining his campaign themes:

1. What is your understanding of the role of a school board member? In your answer, explain (1) the level of engagement that a board member should have in the affairs and operations of the district and, (2) the relationship between the board and district staff.

My understanding of the role of a school board member includes the following:

i.Set the vision and direction of the school district ii.Establish school district policies iii.Establish the budget for the school district iv.Hire the Superintendent

The level of engagement that a board member should have in the affairs and operation of the district should be one of strategic direction through the strategic plan, and oversight and accountability of the administration through the Superintendent for performance

b.The relationship between the board and district staff should be one of approving senior level staff assignments, cordial and professional in our interactions with all staff, and requests only through the Superintendent and/or as advised by the Superintendent

2. Explain your views on the current state of transparency of information at DCSD.

I believe the current state of transparency of information at DCSD needs improvement. The four major challenges are timeliness, completeness, and clarity of information communicated to the public and on occasions the timeliness of special reports requested by individual board members.

3. How would you inspire parents and other stakeholders to have confidence in DeKalb schools?

I would inspire parents and other stakeholders to have confidence in DeKalb schools by the following:

  • Establishing high and reasonable goals, expectations, and accountability for academic, operational, and financial performance
  • Increasing parents and other stakeholders access and involvement in DeKalb schools activities
  • Improving school district responsiveness to parents and other stakeholders inquiries
  • Ensuring open and routine dialogue with parents and other stakeholders through public and electronic forums

4. What skills, talents, and personality traits do you believe that you possess that would make you work effectively with the rest of the board to get things done?

Overall, the skills, talents, and personality traits that I believe I possess that would make me work effectively with the rest of the board are as follow:

  • Skills: Leadership, business experience, problem solving/solution development, communications, and interpersonal
  • Talents: Strategic, critical and creative thinking, ability to synthesize ideas and assess board members decision-making styles and priorities
  • Personality: Observant, goal oriented, pragmatic optimist, inclusive and collaborative, driven by ideas and information, seeks full understanding, options, and alternatives, open minded, flexible, and adaptable, but need evidence or data; and seeks balanced, methodical approach to assess and address issues and decisions

5. How will you enhance the mix of skills and backgrounds on the board and help represent the diversity of the community?

I will enhance the mix of skills and backgrounds on the board and help represent the diversity of the community, as I already do, by reaching out to and engaging a broad spectrum of ideas and input from all segments of the DeKalb community. I will synthesize the best of that input in making as many decisions and votes I take as often possible. I will encourage all segments to actively participate in public forums and discussion as possible, including and perhaps especially those with English as a second language.

6. What do you see as the opportunities and threats facing the DeKalb school system?

I see a number of opportunities and threats facing the DeKalb school system, but the most significant ones to me are as follow:

  • Opportunities: 1) Increase academic performance and achievement 2) Increase and strengthen parents and stakeholders engagement, and 3) Proactively collaborate to strengthen tax base and reduce millage rate.
  • Threats: 1) Suppressed tax base due to sluggish economy and slow economic development, 2) Under investment in state funding, 3) Hyper-competitive environment to secure proper superintendent fit, and 4) Impatience or low confidence by DeKalb stakeholders for school system performance improvements could accelerate separatist movement

7. Describe the achievement gap in this district. What causes it? What can be done?

Four DeKalb County schools received gold, silver or bronze medals in U.S. News's Best High Schools rankings. However, the system has a 59% overall graduation rate (lowest in metro Atlanta) and SchoolDigger ranks the district as # 134 of 162 in the state. I translate this to mean that DeKalb has the capability to a national high ranking school district when we align micro-level assessments and our resources (funding and trained personnel) with our own best practices.

8. The next school board will likely be tasked with selecting a new superintendent. What will you look for in a candidate?

In selecting a new superintendent, I will look for a candidate with competencies and proven skills and successes in governing and managing within large, complex education organizations (ex. K-12, collegiate); and a strong record of performance in academics, business management improvements, and parent and stakeholder engagement.

9. What is your experience with reviewing complicated budgets? How will you approach the district’s budgetary process from a policy perspective?

My experience reviewing complicated budgets includes reviews during three terms on the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity and for the past 7 year as a current Commissioner on the Board of the Lithonia Housing Authority.

My corporate experience includes preparing budgets for AT&T sales and marketing organization and Lucent Technology budgeting for market management, and Product Research and Development. Both experiences included profitability planning and projections to support and justify the budgets. This means that I bring experiences to review, assess, and align the efficacy of budget expenditure.

I will approach the district's budgetary process from a policy perspective by adhere to current budgetary policy to ensure a balanced budget, and look to establish policies for quarterly review and alignment of the financial reviews with correlating academic and departmental performance.

10. What needs to be done to ensure the district regains full accreditation, without probation, and what is the role of the board in ensuring DCSD remains in excellent standings with SACS?

To ensure the district regains full accreditation, without probation, and remain in excellent standings with SACS I think the board needs to do the following three things:

a) Ensure that we complete outstanding Required Actions (RA) 3, 6, (new) 12, 13, and 14

b) Establish monitoring and reporting policies on the maintenance and performance by the District on all 14 RAs

c) Establishes clear definitions and policies on monitoring and reporting of the Districts health on all SACS accreditation standards, including how they are manifested in other District performance metrics such as academic and organizational performance[9]

It's For Them questionnaire, (2014), [11]

About the district

See also: DeKalb County School District, Georgia
DeKalb County School District is located in DeKalb County, Georgia
DeKalb County School District is located in DeKalb County, Georgia. The county seat of DeKalb County is Decatur, Georgia. DeKalb County is home to 713,340 residents, according to the United States Census Bureau.[12] DeKalb County School District is the third-largest school district in Georgia, serving 98,088 students during the 2011-2012 school year.[13]

Demographics

DeKalb County outperformed the rest of Georgia in terms of higher education achievement in 2012. The United States Census Bureau found that 39.2 percent of DeKalb County residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 27.8 percent for Georgia as a whole. The median household income in DeKalb County was $51,252 compared to $49,604 for the state of Georgia. The poverty rate in DeKalb County was 18.6 percent compared to 17.4 percent for the entire state.[12]

Racial Demographics, 2012[12]
Race DeKalb County (%) Georgia (%)
White 37.4 62.8
Black or African American 54.6 31.2
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.6 0.5
Asian 5.5 3.5
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0.1 0.1
Two or More Races 2.0 1.8
Hispanic or Latino 9.5 9.2

Presidential Voting Pattern, DeKalb County[14]
Year Democratic Vote Republican Vote
2012 238,224 64,392
2008 254,594 65,581
2004 200,787 73,570
2000 154,509 58,807

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one or two tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.[15]

Recent news

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See also

External links

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References