On the eve of Rome Superintendent Gayland Cooper’s retirement, the board announced the three finalists who are in the running to replace him when he ends his nine-and-a-half year tenure next month.
Finalists are James Arnold, superintendent of Pelham City Schools; Jeff Bearden, superintendent of Fayette County Schools; and Bill McCown, superintendent of Gordon County Schools.
“We had great interviews with the four candidates that came down last Friday,” Vice Chairman Will Wood said before revealing the three finalists.
Bearden was a finalist for the Floyd County Schools superintendent position, which was awarded to Jeff McDaniel last week. Floyd County Superintendent Lynn Plunkett will retire at the end of the month.
Rome board members will now have a 14-day period during which information about the candidates will be released and more deliberation will be done.
Because of that, a new superintendent will be announced on Nov. 26 at the earliest, but must be named by Nov. 30, according to the Georgia School Boards Association.
Cooper spent the final minutes of his last board of education meeting as superintendent hearing words of thanks and appreciation from the other members.
“The impact on this system by Dr. Cooper is immeasurable,” Chairwoman Judy Sims said before presenting Cooper with a special plaque. “Thank you for your dedication and vision to our school system.”
Cooper said he knows that he leaves the children of Rome City Schools in good hands following his retirement.
“We have got a great team at the central office and a great team of administrators,” he said. “And they all care about children and want to serve.”
There will be a retirement reception for Cooper at Elm Street Elementary School from 2 to 4 p.m. on Nov. 25.
In other action:
Cooper said negotiations are under way with property owners of the future South Rome home of the school and that they are making progress.
He said they would hopefully begin work on the site in December or January and have it ready for teachers and students to move into the classrooms in August of 2014.
The school system has also partnered with Berry College to offer a 3-year-old pre-K program at the new school and with Georgia Northwestern Technical College to conduct a pair of adult education classes in the facility during the evenings.
She said the biggest shift is from having students copy the teacher when solving problems to having them embedded in context and making the students decide where the starting point is and where to go from there.
Academic coaches at each school are providing support for teachers and parents as they deal with the transition to the new Georgia Performance Standards.
The group performed three selections and was presented certificates by the board.
Rome City Schools Director of Special Education Dawn Kemp was also recognized as she was named the Georgia Special Education Director of the Year last week at the Georgia Council of Administrators of Special Education’s fall conference.