During a work session Thursday, the Gordon County Board of Education began discussing how to go about hiring a new superintendent since the district’s current Superintendent Susan Remillard will not be renewing her contract after it expires in June 2020.
Remillard has been in the education sector for 30 years and is planning to retire when her contract expires. She’s been working for Gordon County Schools for the past 12 years, starting out as curriculum director before becoming superintendent. She said following her retirement, her and her husband plan to retire to their house in Alabama.
At the work session, Chairman Charlie Walraven started a conversation about how to look for a new superintendent, saying he didn’t want to make a vote yet, but that it was “never too early to start planning.”
“This is the single most important decision we’ll make as a board,” Walraven said. “We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but we need the best person for the system.”
Other members chimed in on how to accept applications, considering whether they wanted to look at candidates within the school system first and then receive outside applications, or take in both at the same time.
“We owe it to our system to look at (inside candidates) first and then open it up to the community,” Vice Chairman Bobby Hall said, adding on that the district already has qualified staff members who would be a good fit for the position.
And while other board members agreed they wanted to look internally, they didn’t think applicants from within the system needed to be received necessarily before candidates from outside the district. Dana Stewart and Eddie Hall both commented that they wanted to consider all applications at the same time.
Remillard handed out a list of qualifications, from the Georgia School Boards Association website, which included required work experience, education, achievements and necessary references. She said the website, gsba.com, has helpful information regarding a search process for a district’s superintendent.
Though the board didn’t make any decisions, Walraven said their discussion was off to a good start and that the sooner they can start the search process, the sooner they can get someone in office. The board’s plan is to hire someone before Remillard retires so she can help walk them through the transition.
Also brought up by Walraven was an idea for developing a procedure with regards to recognizing noteworthy student achievements, whether through athletics, academics or the arts.
A few board members said they thought high school events and competitions should be recognized during regular board meetings if they qualified for regional and state tournaments. As for elementary and middle school, Stewart proposed they recognize state champions, both individuals and teams.
Bobby Hall said he’d like to see acknowledgements extend to academic teams and Eddie Hall added on students who place in Special Olympics events. Concluding the discussion, Walraven proposed Remillard make a list of all the note-worthy students within the district for each month, at which point the board can handpick a few to be acknowledged at the board meetings.
Again, no official vote was made by the board; rather a procedure was started as far as who and when to recognize stories of students’ success.