The Gordon County Board of Education plans to use an outside educational consultant to provide temporary services during the search for a new superintendent.
Following a lengthy executive session during a called meeting on Monday, board members approved the contracting of James Wilson, the founder of Education Planners. He will be helping the board in their search to replace Superintendent Susan Remillard, who on April 8 announced she plans to retire in July, a year earlier than when her current contract expires.
Board Chairman Charlie Walraven said Wilson is highly experienced and will help provide a neutral perspective in the search process, which he believes will be beneficial to the board. Walraven said a price for Wilson’s services has not yet been finalized by both parties, and he didn’t want to release an estimate this early in the negotiation process.
Gordon County Financial Director Mendy Goble said she has “not seen any details of the service (Wilson) is providing.” Yet, the board agrees bringing Wilson to the search will help the district find the best candidate.
“He’s done this before, and he will help the board to make this a smoother process,” Walraven said. “The only board member who’s been through this search before is Eddie Hall, so Wilson will help guide us.”
Wilson has served as the superintendent of schools in two metro Atlanta districts – Cobb County Schools and Fulton County Schools – and established Education Planners to assist schools in the areas of leadership and management.
Vice Chairman Bobby Hall said that the board has been in communication with Wilson and told them what they’re looking for in a superintendent, as well as some of their priorities for the right candidate.
“We’ve pretty well said that we want to interview all the way through everybody that’s qualified in our system,” Bobby Hall said. “We may not interview everyone from the outside if there are a lot of applicants, which we expect.”
At a meeting in March, prior to Remillard’s announcement, the board discussed how to consider internal versus external applications. Bobby Hall said he felt like internal candidates should be offered preferential treatment, whereas Eddie Hall and Dana Stewart commented they wanted to consider all applications equally.
Bobby Hall also said that having Wilson on board would contribute a neutral factor in the search.
“He’s an outside person, so he’s not going to have a dog to hunt in this race,” Bobby Hall said.
With the applications less than a week from being due, the board will be starting to review candidates and their qualifications, hoping to offer interviews by the middle of May, according to Walraven.
Further details on the application process are available at gcbe.org/Page/9296 or on teachgeorgia.org. The application materials from candidates are to be sent to Board Chairman Charlie Walraven by April 23 to be considered.
Also at the meeting, the board approved to finance a new base layer of asphalt for the Sonoraville High School track, which will be in addition to the cost of resurfacing of the track.
During an April 8 regular meeting, they approved a bid from Hellas Construction for $226,232 for resurfacing the track. Yet, when a walk-through of the property was completed by Hellas employees, they discovered the base layer of asphalt needed reconstructing as well.
“The asphalt base is wavy and has been down since the early 1990s,” said Goble. “There were some drainage issues and they all agreed that before you resurface, you have to redo the base. Otherwise, you’re wasting your money.”
Goble said following receiving that information, the board went back to Hellas and requested a change order for a new base layer of asphalt. The bid came back at a total of $235,348, which will be added on to the originally approved cost.
The total of the project to remodel the Sonoraville track, including a new level of asphalt and resurfacing, is now $461,580.