The Long County Board of Education chose a new board chair and vice-chair Monday evening. Dr. Carolyn Williamson will serve as chair and former Chair Florence Baggs will serve as vice-chair. Former Vice-Chair Marcus DeLoach nominated Williamson to lead the BOE.
The board also approved Jeff Arnold as board attorney and will keep its regular monthly meeting schedule at the second Monday of the month at 5:30 p.m.
Interim Superintendent David Edwards presided over the meeting, although outgoing Superintendent Dr. Robert Waters attended the meeting. Waters will officially retire at the end of the month.
Waters introduced Bill Sampson and Dr. Samuel King from the Georgia School Boards Association to speak to board members about the GSBA’s superintendent search service. Waters commented he was the result of the GSBA previously assisting the school board in a search.
According to gsba.com, “GSBA helps school boards by responding to requests for information, establishing a search timeline, seeking community input, establishing selection criteria, advertising the announcement of vacancy, checking references, providing interview training, facilitating candidate interviews and finalizing the selection process.”
“This is probably one of the most important decisions a board has to make,” Sampson said.
“The board is the major piece of the governance team,” King said. “The superintendent is the other piece.”
King said GSBA represents 180 school boards across the state. They work to ensure legal requirements for the superintendent searches they conduct are met, through the Gainesville law firm of Harben, Hartley and Hawkins, he said.
Sampson and King told school board members that if the board agrees to the search services, at a base cost of $7,000, the GSBA staff would assist the BOE with interviews and scheduling second interviews with final candidates.
Sampson explained that a board can legally announce up to three final superintendent candidates to the media 14 days before a final hiring decision is made.
Board member Marcus DeLoach asked if other boards have ever hired a superintendent from among internal school system candidates.
Sampson responded that Houston County has in the past. King recommended that the board still conduct due diligence in a search even if they choose a qualified candidate from within the system.
In other school board business, the board agreed to serve as the FY 2020 fiscal agent for Family Connection.
Board members also approved a consent agenda, which included scheduling Long County’s high school graduation for 9 a.m. Saturday, May 18, and accepting several employee retirements, resignations and hires.