An administrator for DeKalb County Schools is being suspended for 10 days for selling a book he wrote to five schools within the DeKalb system, including one where he previously worked.
Former Assistant Superintendent Ralph Simpson agreed to the suspension after an investigation by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GPSC) found that he and a principal had circumvented the system, purchasing policy.
School spokesman Jeff Dickerson said that concerns about Simpson were first raised after the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported in July 2010, that Simpson sold more than $12,560 worth of copies of his book From Remedial to Remarkable to five schools, including Miller Grove High School in Lithonia, where Simpson had once been principal.
“The finding was that Simpson had sold a book that he had published to schools within the DeKalb School System and the sales of those books were done with public funds,” Dickerson said.
The school system conducted an internal audit and found that in 2007, several months after Simpson was promoted to assistant superintendent and departed from Miller Grove, his successor Selina Carol Thedford, who is also being suspended, purchased 600 copies of the book using school funds.
The school system’s policy requires that all purchases over $5,000 be approved by school staff and according to a case summary obtained from the GPSC, Thedford had originally presented a single purchase order for $9,600 but it was denied. Thedford then directed a subordinate staff member to split the invoice into two invoices of $4,800, which were then paid.
Dickerson said that immediately after discovering this Interim Superintendent Ramona Tyson demoted both Simpson and Thedford to assistant principals and they are currently awaiting placement for the new school year.
Leading up to the time that the audit was done the school system had no policy in place that forbade a school system employee from selling goods or services to the school system when public funds are used.
Dickerson said that after finding out about the sales Tyson and the board quickly put a policy in place to police such sales.
“She also put into place a new training program that starts this year and it’s something that everyone has to do every year, in addition to other ethics training,” Dickerson said.
Dickerson also stated that the money for the book sales have been repaid by Simpson and Thedford.