Bearden is scheduled to begin his term as superintendent on Jan. 15 and negotiations are ongoing to finalize his contract, said Chairwoman Judy Sims.
“We authorized our attorney to enter into contract and negotiations with Dr. Bearden,”
Sims said. “We expect that this contract will be very similar to Dr. Cooper’s and that it will be subject to the same furlough days and salary raises of the other employees of the system.”
The board also voted that Lucian Harris will serve as interim superintendent for the month of December and the beginning of January. Harris is a former assistant superintendent of Rome City Schools and worked from 1989 to 1993. He then returned to the position part time during the 2003-2004 school year.
“Dr. Harris is a former superintendent and an assistant superintendent,” Sims said. “He knows the system well and will guide us through this period.”
The decisions came after months of sifting through resumes and applications with guidance from officials from the Georgia School Boards Association. From a pool of 30 applicants at the end of October, the board narrowed the applicants to four and then three before they made their decision.
Bearden was one of the final two candidates for Floyd County Schools superintendent before the position went to Jeff McDaniel in November.
He has served as 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.
Bearden will step down from the Fayette County post Dec. 31 in what he called a mutual termination.
His first Board of Education meeting will be on Feb. 12, but Sims said the board will set up a time for community members to meet and greet him prior to that date.
“It’s been a very interesting time for us because in my tenure as a board member and as a community member, we’ve never had a superintendent that was not grown in this system,” Sims said. “It’s going to be a new experience, but we expect that with Dr. Bearden’s experience and energy and vision that he will build upon the progress of Dr. Cooper and take this system forward into the 21st century.”