Bibb school board mum on search for new superintendent


Bibb County Schools has historically shared at least some information with the public as it conducts searches for new superintendents, but so far this time is different.

The school district has declined to share any information with the public about its process and progress on finding a replacement for Superintendent Curtis Jones, who was hired in 2015 and is set to retire in June.

The Georgia School Boards Association was contracted by the district in October to help find Jones’ replacement. The window for applications closed Jan. 16.

School board members have been tight-lipped despite a busy month including a Feb. 15 called meeting and a Feb. 17 regular monthly meeting. The bulk of the monthly meeting, nearly two and a half hours, took place behind closed doors and focused on topics of personnel, property, pending litigation and school safety. Jones was absent from that meeting.

The Macon Newsroom has asked several school board members about the number of applications being reviewed, the estimated timeline for decision-making and what the process entails. Those inquiries were directed to Bibb County Schools spokeswoman Stephanie Hartley who responded with a  “no comment.”

Historically – and as recently as 2015 – the school board publicly disclosed the number of applicants after the application deadline passed.

In the past, the public also has been included in the decision-making process through public forums during which school board members and hired consultants listened to stakeholders describe what kind of person they want to lead the district.

The school district has provided no new information about the search so far this year. Information on GSBA’s website as of Feb. 18 indicated interviews with job candidates had not yet started.

Finding the right person to lead the school system is no simple task but it is one of particular importance for Bibb Schools.

The BOE’s decision to hire Romain Dallemand as superintendent in 2011 resulted in the school district being mired in controversy and scandal for years.

Dallemand led the district for 28 tumultuous months before quitting. The BOE bought out his contract for $350,000 plus benefits.

The fallout occurred over years following Dallemand’s departure. There were civil lawsuits, federal criminal trials and probes by the FBI and IRS related to the defrauding of the school system of $3.7-million for bogus computer equipment. Eventually, Dallemand pleaded guilty to tax evasion and his cooperation with the FBI resulted in the other charges being dropped.

Interim superintendents led the district for two years while BOE sought Dallemand’s replacement. BOE conducted two searches through GSBA at a cost of $21,000 before voting to hire Jones in February 2015. At the time, he was the district’s seventh superintendent in five years.

To contact writer Laura Corley, email [email protected] or call 478-301-5777.