After the Civil War, Union General William Tecumseh Sherman famously declined all invitations to run for President, stating “If nominated I will not run, and if elected, I will not serve.”

He was in a bad mood when he said that, and if it was on the day of this photo, he was having a bad hair day too.  Maybe he looked at the polls and got discouraged.  Certainly he couldn’t have carried Atlanta.

Anyway, I find myself in the odd position of declining a chance for high office too, or at least the fancy office that houses the Hamilton County Superintendent of Schools.  As you’ve probably heard, Rick Smith is on the way out, one way or another, after almost five years on the job.  Some of the School Board representatives, and even some community members are advocating an “out of the box” superintendent.

One local writer named Bill Colrus, whom I have not met, was kind enough to throw my name in the hat, particularly after reading my recent blog about reorganizing the school system into smaller districts.  Mr. Colrus recently sent me a message informing me of his intentions to write a column suggesting I be superintendent.  I was flattered by his kind words, but quickly confessed: I’m not qualified.  Not even close.  Undeterred, he replied, “No problem,” and I figured my outside chances of a huge contract and an attractive buyout package were long gone.

But Mr. Colrus is a determined fellow, so he eventually posted the flattering column on, including my acknowledgment of no qualifications.  To that, he concluded, “Perhaps the qualifications could be changed.”  I knew his website had a lot of readers, but I was not prepared for what happened next.

On Facebook and Twitter, the onslaught began.  First, I should thank several people, both friends and strangers, who said nice things.  One sweet lady said that I should not be superintendent because “we would lose our star news anchor.”  I quickly friended her on Facebook.  I may owe her a burger.

Some people actually read the article, and of course others didn’t.  That often happens when an idea or thought is presented on those pages.  We see a picture, or a statement, and we’re obligated to respond, and fast!  Many of us are hurriedly scrolling through the feed, and we don’t click the link to actually read what we’re commenting on.  You know, sort of like some legislators when they vote on proposed new laws.

So evidently some people saw Mr. Colrus’s headline, “Why David Carroll Should Be Our Next Superintendent,” and assumed I had put my hat in the ring.  Long ago, my dad taught me that if you want to know what people really think about you, put your name on a ballot.  Or in my case, unwillingly allow your name to be discussed for a high-profile government position.

One kind soul wrote, “Being a superintendent involves more than reading a teleprompter.”  I heartily agree.  Sadly, I don’t even do that particularly well.  From earlier in my career, there’s strong evidence to back that up.


A dear lady wrote, “He’s not qualified.” Well, at least she agreed with what I said about myself in the article.  Or maybe she just knows.

Another opined, “A lot of times he likes to blow things up just to get a story, when it’s not really a story.”  When I responded by promising to be more careful about blowing things up, she replied, “You are a journalist, so it just is what it is.” At least she called me a journalist, although that apparently is not a good thing in her book.

One gentleman saw the headline and wrote, “Oh, hell, no.” I’m not sure exactly where he stands on me, but I “liked” his comment.  I thought that might add some sunshine to his otherwise rainy day.

So, for a day or so, my name was floated for the big job, with a variety of reactions. Now that I’ve officially declared my firm non-candidacy, here’s the sad part:  I have known some very qualified superintendents in our area who were chased out of office after some controversial escapades.  Everything from financial misdeeds to sexual misconduct, to gunfire. So even with my glaring lack of qualifications, I might not have been the worst superintendent ever.

Besides, as one gentleman wrote on Facebook, “I hope they get somebody good because now, more than ever, the steaks are high.” That’s for sure.  Have you been grocery shopping lately?

(From David Carroll's