Michael Buck will be back to lead Rome City Schools on Dec. 12.
“I am coming home to Rome,” said Buck. “I am thrilled.”
The Rome Board of Education unanimously voted to hire Buck as the school system’s superintendent at a called meeting Wednesday morning.
“He does have work to wrap up in Atlanta, but he will be here Dec. 12 and Dr. Jackson (interim superintendent John Jackson) will work to bring him up to speed on everything,” said Cheryl Huffman, chair of the board.
Buck will spend his first day having a short meeting with central office staff and then visiting each school in the district, he said.
“Dr. Barge wanted me to stay until Dec. 11 to attend the state board meeting,” explained Buck. “The next day I will start at Rome.”
Buck is currently the chief academic officer for the Georgia Department of Education under State School Superintendent John Barge, who lives in Floyd County. Buck was employed by Rome City Schools from 1997 to 2011 in positions ranging from principal of Rome High to assistant superintendent.
“This is the job I’ve wanted for 17 years,” said Buck. “I remember interviewing with Larry Atwell, and he asked me where I wanted to be in 10 years. I told him I wanted to be on the other side of the desk. It’s taken a little more than 10 years, but I think this is a wonderful, wonderful time to be coming back to Rome.”
Buck, who lives in Rome, has children attending Rome City Schools.
“I have a vested interest,” he said. “My twin daughters Anna and Christina are in fifth grade and my son Dylan is in second grade at West End. Even though I was driving 150 miles a day to go to work, I thought so much of this system, I kept my children here.”
Buck will attend the upcoming Georgia School Board Association and the Georgia School Superintendent Association Annual Conference in Atlanta next week with the Rome board, he said.
“I think it will be a great time for us to get together and plan for the future,” said Buck.
Bill Byington, the system’s lawyer, will discuss Buck’s contract with him, according to Huffman.
“Because we are hiring him mid-year, he will have a two-and-a-half year contract to start,” she said. “We have not set a salary yet, but we are expecting it to be comparable to what we’ve offered in the past.”
The board is also thrilled with bringing Buck back, Huffman said.
“He has experience with Rome and he has experience at the state level,” she explained. “We are very happy. I know my Thanksgiving will be much better now that we’ve made this decision.”
The board has been searching for a new superintendent since August, when Jeff Bearden left for Forsyth County.