Grier to make early exit; Ozment, Becoats named “co-interim superintendents”


The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Thursday evening, the GCS Board voted unanimously to allow San Diego Supt. Terry Grier to complete his duties in Guilford County in mid-March.

In a meeting that was fairly routine, the Board continued their discussion on what traits they wanted in a new superintendent. This was at about 7:30. At 8pm, they went into a 2-hour closed session. When they emerged, they voted to accept Grier’s resignation.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Simultaneously, in a separate vote, the board voted 8-2 to name chief of staff Dr. Eric Becoats and chief financial officer Sharon Ozment as co-interim superintendents. Board members Garth Hebert and Darlene Garrett voted “ney,” presumably because both board members have bucked heads with Ozment off and on in the past.

Board member Anita Sharpe was absent Thursday evening; Grier was out sick and was also absent.



UPDATE, 2/8/08, 8:32AM: today’s News & Record story. Grier’s resignation is effective March 23; he will use personal leave time between March 14 and March 23 to aid in his transition. Grier’s still scheduled to start in San Diego in July. The Oz & Becoats show will start march 15.

N&R Excerpt:

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. “Their willingness to do anything they could to help the district … we’re extremely appreciative of and thankful for,” said board Chairman Alan Duncan.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. [Board member Garth] Hebert said he realized Ozment and Becoats are in for a long and difficult job.

“You have my sympathies and blessings and best wishes,” he said. “Thanks for stepping up.”

Ozment and Becoats said they will be working with Grier and Duncan to learn their new responsibilities. Ozment has worked with Guilford County Schools since 1974; Becoats since 2005.

“It’s very flattering and humbling,” Ozment said about the short-term promotion. “And it does afford you the opportunity to look at the district through a different set of lenses.”

Jill Wilson, attorney for the board, will draw their contracts.


Speaking of administrator contracts…as these are public documents, they should be posted somewhere on the GCS Web site.


The board also laid out a checklist of leadership characteristics members want in a new superintendent.

The board plans to allow the public to comment on the list once it is formally compiled later this month.

Members did not decide this week when to schedule community forums or whether to employ a firm to interview candidates.

Several board members said they want someone who will focus on strengthening teacher instruction, particularly in elementary schools.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. “We have an appalling and unacceptable number of kids in middle school and high school who cannot read,” Jeff Belton said.

A superintendent who can be visible in schools, integrate the various agendas of business and community stakeholders, and encourage transparency among employees is also important, board members said.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. “Please look very carefully within the district for someone,” Deena Hayes said.

Duncan said the candidate would need “high energy” to handle the more than 10,000 employees and 71,000 students.

Not to mention, Alan, someone who has no problem dealing with a board that at many times has “low energy.”

Belton makes a striking point. Take a few minutes and read this week’s YES! Weekly about the runaway illiteracy epidemic in High Point.

It’s not funny anymore. We need a chief that will have thick skin to come in here.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. And as usual, God bless Darlene. She said we need someone who will “listen to teachers and principals” and someone who will encourage them to talk to Board members because so many of them are afraid to talk.


I think the Board is taking a good approach so far. Several of them have listed to the community and have read this blog and are publicly saying that we should look for someone from within GCS. I applaud that. There’s enough talent here.

On the Oz & Becoats show…time will tell how this dynamic will play out.

I probably would have likely voted for Becoats, but not Oz. I’m looking exclusively at the record of her not providing documents to the Board in a timely manner. Once or twice, that’s one thing. But it is a constant, and I have a problem with that.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. However, Becoats, too, has a questionable history, specifically in his last position in Charlotte. Let me take you to Greensboro’s premier newspaper of record, The Rhino Times; March 29, 2007:

Another relatively new face to the school system is Chief of Staff Eric Becoats. Becoats, who joined the schools in 2005-2006, also has somewhat of an interesting employment history. Prior to joining Guilford County Schools, Becoats worked for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS). Becoats left in a hurry from his position as associate superintendent after CMS board members accused him of abusing his privileges by using CMS telephones, computers and an employee for his personal consulting business.

Jocelyn Becoats Becoats’ wife joined the Guilford County Schools’ staff during the 2006-2007 school year in Guilford County. Jocelyn Becoats was hired in July 2007 as an instructional improvement officer to work in Allen Jay, Brown Summit, Ferndale, Hairston, Jamestown, Kernodle, Kiser, Northeast, Penn-Griffin and Southeast middle schools.

According to last summer’s Rhino Times GCS school salary survey, both Oz and Becoats make $145,866. It was not disclosed how much of a step-up they would be pulling in as a result of the extra duties they would now be doing.

It will be interesting…

E.C. 🙂


27 Responses

  1. Grier to make an early exit is GREAT news.

  2. “Grier out sick”—that’s funny, he’s never sick….sickening yes, but he never uses a sick day. He must be packing.


  3. Also, Becoats was kicked to the curb in Charlotte, we take him in and make him a Super. That’s Super De Duper. I’m not sure about Sharon, she’s at least business savvy, but if this board even starts to think that they can groom Mr. Becoats into becoming the permanent, and washing their hands of a REAL Super-search, they better re-think that.

  4. Well, the good news is that Grier is leaving before the July 1st, since he’s currently working for another school system.

    The bad news is that he still will receive nearly two months’ worth of Guilford County paychecks after announcing he was leaving. Basically, we’ve paid him to write his San Diego master plan.

    You’ve got to hand it to Dr. Grier – he has a unique ability to always land on his feet and find some new sucker to write him a big check.

  5. Google Eric Becoats and you’ll find out about his integrity or lack therof.

    “CMS has an assistant superintendent who has been caught red-handed conducting private business while on the CMS time clock, using school material for personal gain – to the tune of close to $4,000 – and lying about it to the public. For his misdeeds, Eric Becoats was suspended for one day and required to repay money that was never rightfully his to take in the first place. He was also given a written reprimand from CMS Superintendent James Pughsley. Apparently, Pughsley’s official note to Becoats must have read, “Go to time out and stand in that corner for one day – or at least, if you wouldn’t mind too terribly, until all this commotion dies down.”

  6. So Mrs. Becoats now reports to her husband, Eric Becoats??????

    Yes, integrity in GCS.

  7. Where’s my “buzzer” sound effect?

    Yep…unless it is fixed before mid-March, Mrs. Becoats will report to Mr. Becoats.

    This blog just writes itself…

  8. I for one to not trust Beacoats and hope he will not be considered for the super.

  9. Just LMAO!!! Belton wants a “super that will be visible in schools”!!! HAHAHAHAHAHHA!!! How about a school board that will be visible in the schools? How embarrassing when we start the interview process:

    Belton at interview with potential Super: “Uh, Mr. Prospective Superintendent, do you think that you would be a visible leader within our schools?”

    Prospective Super: “Well, Mr. Belton, with all due respect, you and most of the other board members aren’t visible leaders so I figured I could just sit back and watch my checks roll in like that Grier fella did.”

    Belton: “Uh, urrrr, um….well, we’re hopin’ the new Super can turn things around for us and most importantly ‘integrate the various agendas of business and community stakeholders'”

    Prospective Super: “Oh, you mean do whatever those groups like ‘Action Greensboro’ and Mr. Melvin tell me to do? Sure, I can do what I’m told. I’ll work at your pleasure Mr. Belton and the pleasure of this board.”

    Belton: You’re hired.

  10. I would have liked to see some other names nominated last night besides Becoats and Oz. GCS has to start thinking as though they’re capable of doing better.

  11. I think what Belton was referring to was a feeling that many parents, teachers and some principals have that Eugene Street was even more detached and unapproachable than under previous administrations. To use a military analogy, the command structure was out of touch with the situation on the ground.

  12. unapproachable because of fear- of being moved plain and simple

  13. Don’t let the door hit you….Goodbyes are so hard-NOT
    I see that it was Darlene and Garth who stepped up and did not vote for Becoats and Ozment- We need to shake up that board. Time for change is NOW.

  14. Oh I know exactly what Belton was referring to when he said ‘we need a superintendent that will integrate the various agendas….blah, blah, blah’ Oh yes, I know. I’ve watched it for many years now. When GSO speaks, the BOE is at attention–to use a military term.

  15. Garth voted no because he doesnt believe in double leadership. It should be one name only.

  16. Doesn’t the Becoats Family arrangement violate GCS’ Policy GAGA? Did the school board consider this policy when they made the decision?

    The Superintendent or his/her designee, in making recommendations for the employment of personnel or in making assignments of personnel, shall give consideration to conditions which could result from the employment of two members of an immediate family in the same school, department, or line authority. Particular attention should be given where one member would occupy a position which has influence over the other’s employment, promotion, salary, or other related management and personnel considerations.

  17. Erik, here is what we need in our schools. So, let’s find the super that can best help deliver this:


    High expectations for every student
    Quality public schools recognize that all students can learn and provide the tools, support, and connections students need to reach their full potential.

    Parent and community support
    Parents and community members are actively engaged in supporting their schools in constructive ways. They hold school officials and themselves accountable for results.

    Qualified teachers in every classroom
    Highly qualified teachers who benefit from continuous professional development strengthen teaching and learning.

    Rigorous curriculum and fair assessments
    A rigorous instructional program tied to high standards builds student knowledge and strengthens critical thinking skills, while fair assessments monitor progress and truly measure what students know and can do.

    Sufficient resources that help all students achieve
    Student achievement is the measure of school success. Resources and teaching strategies are tied to this goal at quality public schools.

    Safe, healthy and supportive learning environment
    Safe, sound facilities and student enrichment activities create an environment where students can learn and grow.

    Schools and classrooms equipped for teaching and learning
    Students and staff have access to timely, relevant resources including up-to-date textbooks and current technology.

    Strong school leadership
    Principals are empowered to lead and make informed decisions that promote learning at the school level.

  18. By the way, who nominated Becoats and Ozment for the job? Whose idea was it?

  19. Okay Stormy, I nominate YOU for Super! That’s an excellent list of qualities.

  20. Mr. Huey to add to the twist of things….Mr. Becoats was also involved previously in a relationship with Kendra March, who arrived in January 2007 as IIO supervising Dudley and Smith…she was doing a horrible job and knew they were going to ask her to step down as principal and as you may suspect..the cronies always bell each other out..So we’ll have a Co-Superintendent who is married (or separated) to Mrs. Becoats, IIO and former bo of Kendra March, IIO – while – interesting bed fellows to say the least…I am moving on…

  21. Oh, I didn’t mention that March came from CMS as well, so good for Gorman, b/c with the help of Grier and Becoats, GCS has helped Charlotte get rid of the trash – no wonder Gorman was able to get their board to pass bonds – establishment of trust!!!

  22. How many CMS transplants there in GCS?

  23. Nice. So GCS is becoming the trash collector for CMS. Nice. Our kids deserve better.

  24. Oh by the way, the board really needs to look into the Becoats’ love triangle…Kendra March arrives in January 07, the Becoats separate and put their 514,900 home in Summerfield on the market…this could end up like the NASA situation…these are “public” educators being paid by taxpayers’ dollars and between all of their salaries and Mrs. Becoats free ride at UNCG working on her doctorate their is at least half a million dollars being spend on this triangle alone each year…now Mr. Huey how will you address these type of issues, b/c you cannot expect for student achievement to increase, when the public and teachers, and principals to not trust their leaders….this is why trust continues to be loss in public schools….b/c these situations are allowed to occur and my question is now that you know… what will you do?

  25. Beth,

    Thanks, but it is not my list, but rather one from educational professionals. I did note that the list does not mention that a highly-compensated superintendent is part of building quality schools.

    Erik, will you work to ensure that our schools become quality, rather than what they have allowed to become. You will note that the list only mentions sage and sound facilities as important to quality. Not expensive. Not green. Not spacey. But, safe and sound. We should be able to get safe and sound for less than $88 million per school.

    And, as for the rest of the factors, this is what I am willing to pay to get. The other trash that we have come to know under the tutelage on Terry Grier is not something that I am willing to pay to get. I don’t see innovative and costly anywhere on the list.

  26. Oz had my vote for interim. As to my run – ins with her, I have a good relationship with her so far, and disagreements are overstated somewhat. I wanted one accountable leader in the district, what we have now is none! Majority of the Board wanted this and do not understand leadership and accountability or if they do they want none of it. I have serious reservations about husband and wife relationship in top leadership and therefore would not support Eric Becoates, who appears to be a nice guy.

    Most senior staff already know Alan rules, the rest follow. Divided leadership just confirms the matter so no one gets a mixed signal. I do not have a GCS mail account as I have had staff inform me that their email has been read and or accessed by others. If this is true or not I do not know but I give high credibility, but any staff wanting privacy should open Google or Yahoo accounts and keep all personal email web based.

  27. […] offices have a husband-wife duo that fled from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, as the Rhino noted back in 2007, via Erik Huey (bold mine): Another relatively new face to the school system is Chief […]

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