Sometimes keeping the status quo is a good thing. Especially when school administrators want to continue a particular set of goals, with quality academics placed at the top of their to-do list.
Long County Board of Education members decided that the next person to carry out their agenda should be David Edwards.
Edwards, former Long County School System chief financial officer and director of consolidated funds, was named interim superintendent in December when outgoing Superintendent Dr. Robert Waters announced his retirement. The two have been working together during the transition.
“We selected Mr. Edwards because he was the CFO and has been there quite a long time,” said former BOE Chair and newly elected Vice Chair Florence Baggs. Baggs told the Courier the board has so far been pleased with the improvement in student test courses and plans to keep its current agenda until a final appointment for superintendent is made. She added that Edwards is familiar with the construction of the new school building, and is qualified to complete final touches on the project, such as landscaping. The building that houses Long County Middle School and Geraldine C. McClelland Elementary School opened to students in August 2018.
The interim superintendent said the system is working on a “punch list” of repairs at the new facility.
“We’re going to be sure that it gets closed out,” he said. “Anything that needs addressing, we’re going to address.”
Edwards said the new elementary school serves students in third through fifth grades, and already is close to capacity. Increasing enrollment is an ongoing challenge in Long County, he said. Edwards said more students equates to a need for more classrooms, more teachers and more staff. He said Georgia, like many states, is experiencing a teacher shortage.
He added that transportation is also an issue, especially when serving a growing student population. He said the system is working to replace aging buses. Hiring additional bus drivers or making drivers’ schedules more efficient are also options for upgrading school transportation, he said.
The interim superintendent said board members are experienced and remain focused on student achievement.
“You can tell they have the best interests of our children in mind,” he said.
Edwards himself attended Long County public schools from Kindergarten through high school.
“I’m Blue Tide through and through,” he said. “I have been a part of Long County schools most of my life, as a student, graduate, teacher, parent of students, administrator and CFO.”
He has a bachelor’s degree in business education from Georgia Southern University, a master’s degree in educational leadership from GSU and a specialist degree in brain science from Nova University.
Edwards began his education career at his alma mater in 1998. Edwards has taught in the classroom, been a technology director, was assistant principal at the high school for three years, a CTAE director, was principal at Smiley Elementary School for seven years, was LCHS principal for two years, served as director of the Pre-K program and has been CFO for two years.
Edwards added that the Long County community has been supportive of its schools, its students and teachers.
“Even though we’re growing, we still have that family atmosphere,” Edwards said. “We want to be a place where people want to come to work.”