Nationwide search for new Bibb schools superintendent is underway

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Liz Fabian

Bibb School District Superintendent Curtis Jones explains items included in the 2020 ESPLOST sales tax referendum to the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce at its September meeting.

Bibb County schools will have some help searching for a new school superintendent to replace Curtis Jones, who is set to retire next summer.

The school board will pay up to $12,000 to Georgia School Board Association to look for candidates, according to a contract it unanimously approved at a regular meeting last Thursday. GSBA provides legal aid, training and other services such as superintendent searches to local school districts in the state.

GSBA has recruited more than 300 superintendents in Georgia since 1987, according to a presentation it delievered to the school board last month. In fact, the group helped Bibb schools recruit Jones in 2015 from Griffin-Spalding County schools.

Earlier this year, GSBA recruited Mack Bullard, formerly Bibb County schools’ assistant superintendent of human resources, to lead Twiggs County schools. It also recruited Keith Simmons, who resigned from his job as chief of staff for Bibb schools to become superintendent for Griffin-Spalding schools.

“I feel certain we’ll have internal candidates but we’ll also have some from the outside, so it’s nice to have that option,” Bibb school board President Daryl Morton said.

Georgia law requires that school boards release names of at least the final three candidates two weeks before appointing a superintendent.

Jones, of Griffin, is set to retire next June. He was named Georgia Superintendent of the Year and National Superintendent of the Year in 2019. Under his leadership, graduation rates increased from 71.2% in 2015 to 80.67% in 2020. Jones’ salary was $418,612 in 2020, according to open.ga.gov.

When Jones was hired, the district was still reeling from the criminal saga surrounding disgraced former schools superintendent Romain Dallemand. Dallemand was hired in 2010 at the recommendation of a private consulting firm, ProAct Search, with which the school board contracted. That company has since been embroiled in controversy of its own.

“The one thing with private agencies is they tend to have candidates they want to promote,” Morton said. “Whereas with GSBA, they just want people to do well because it makes them look good. … They want everybody to win, essentially.”