Board trying to fast-track superintendent search

The Georgia School Boards Association posted late last week the announcement of the superintendent of schools vacancy in Grady County. A newspaper ad calling for applicants appears in this issue of The Cairo Messenger.
Grady County Board of Education Chairman Drew Pyrz said Tuesday he had been in contact this week with Bill Sampson, the consultant with GSBA who is assisting the school board with the search process.
According to Pyrz, the board hopes to hire a replacement for the retiring Superintendent Dr. Tommy Pharis as soon as possible.
“If we are able to keep our timeline going we hope to announce three finalists by April 1 and then vote on a new superintendent by April 15,” Chairman Pyrz said.
The school board chairman said the board’s desire is to bring the new superintendent on board a month prior to Dr. Pharis’ retirement so the new superintendent can work with and benefit from the current school chief’s knowledge of the system.
Pyrz credits Dr. Pharis for announcing his retirement early enough for the board to recruit and hire a new superintendent in time for a smooth transition into the new fiscal year, which begins in July 1.
“Dr. Pharis is retiring. He is leaving on good terms and we just want the new superintendent to have a chance to see the system through Dr. Pharis’ eyes and gain from his experience and knowledge,” Chairman Pyrz said.
Although the position announcement just went up Thursday, the school board has set a deadline of March 8 for submission of applications.
Pyrz said the board set a March 8 deadline because board members believe the candidates who will be interested in applying will be local or from the southwest Georgia, north Florida area.
“The candidates who apply for this job will do so right away. The pool of candidates we expect to apply will come from this general area,” Chairman Pyrz said.
GSBA is accepting the applications on behalf of the school board and will review and rank them based on required and preferred qualifications.
The board then will select how many candidates to interview. Once the interviews are conducted and the board narrows the field to at least three candidates, the names of the top finalists will be announced. A vote to hire the new superintendent cannot be made until 14 days later.
The school board is paying GSBA $6,500 to coordinate the superintendent search. GSBA is currently conducting superintendent searches for Newton, Treutlen and Liberty counties. Other school systems seeking superintendents, but not using GSBA, include Bacon and Twiggs counties.
Dr. Pharis announced last month his plans to retire effective July 1.

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