Whoever is picked by the Floyd County Board of Education will succeed Lynn Plunkett, who will retire Nov. 30. Plunkett has been superintendent of the Floyd County schools since the spring of 2008.
The school board will hold a special called meeting at 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 5 to make its final decision public.
“In the meantime we’ll be talking with both of them,” said David Johnson, who serves as vice chairman of the board.
McDaniel joined the Floyd County school system in 2003 as director of school improvement, became executive director of curriculum services in 2008 and was named chief of academics in 2010.
Before coming to Floyd County, McDaniel served various positions in Cobb, Cherokee and Polk counties.
Bearden has been superintendent in Fayette County for two years. Before moving to Fayette County, he was superintendent of the Maine School Administrative District 35 and was an adjunct professor at Nova Southeastern University in Florida. He has agreed to step down from the Fayette County post Dec. 31, 2012, in what he called a mutual termination.
Bearden attended high school in Bremen and is very familiar with Floyd County.
Bearden said that Floyd County is progressive in becoming a complete charter school system and that he was extremely impressed with the College and Career Academy.
“Academically, Floyd students achieve at a high level,” Bearden said. “I’m not one that focuses solely on test scores, but when you look at Floyd SAT scores, you see they are above the state average, above the national average, that is certainly appealing.”
Bearden said he is also impressed with the financial condition of the Floyd school. “Floyd I’m sure has made some really challenging decisions but the fact they have a relatively healthy fund balance tells me it’s been managed pretty well up there,” Bearden said. So there are a lot of things about the community and school system that makes it a very attractive job.”
McDaniel said he had been very fortunate throughout his career to have good leaders who helped him along the way.
“They have known that I wanted to be a superintendent and these individuals and these folks have embraced that,” McDaniel said. “I’ve learned a lot from a lot of great people over my years and it’s time for me to give back now. It’s time for me to give back to those that aspire and want to do great things in leadership to help them along the way in any way I can.”
McDaniel said he was humbled to have been selected as a finalist. “This is a fantastic school system, its got wonderful principals, wonderful teachers and excellent personnel, no doubt about it,” McDaniel said. “When you’ve got the lives of 10,000 kids on your shoulders, and they’re looking to you and your system to provide an excellent education and move them into going out and becoming productive citizens, that’s continuous improvement from the word go. We have a lot of folks working hard in this county to make that happen every day.”
“There’s just something when you’re talking with people that makes you feel comfortable with them and that’s what stood out about both of them,” said George Bevels, chairman of the Floyd County Board of Education.
“What probably singled these (two) out were their enthusiasm for academic achievement,” said Johnson, “Those two just stood out, both interviewed well, and I think either of them would be a good choice.”
Some 30 applications were submitted to the post.