What kind of person should lead Bibb Schools? The public has spoken.


Bibb Schools

Bibb County Superintendent Curtis Jones is set to retire in June 2022.

What kind of leader would best fit Bibb Schools? District employees, teachers and taxpayers have chimed in.

More than 800 responses were submitted to an online survey seeking community input on the types of personality traits and work experience Bibb County residents wish to see in the next school superintendent.

The survey was conducted by the Georgia School Board Association,  who were hired in October by the Bibb Board of Education to aid its search for a new superintendent. Superintendent Curtis Jones is set to retire in June after seven years with the district.

There were 33 applicants for the job by the Jan. 16 deadline and about half of those people live in Georgia.

The weeklong community input survey closed March 1. Results were obtained by The Macon Newsroom under the Georgia Open Records Act.

Of the 812 survey respondents, 46.80% identified themselves as school system employees, 45.95% as parents of students and 30.54% as Bibb County residents.

More than half of respondents indicated a desire for someone with a leadership style as Jones’ administration, “but with some necessary changes.” About a quarter preferred a candidate who will “stay the course and continue the style and vision of the previous administration.”

Two diametrically opposing viewpoints are apparent: many feel the next superintendent should come from within the district while some feel the BOE should look outside the district.

In fact, two preferred district employees were mentioned by name in responses: Tanzy Kilcrease and Julia Daniely. The district reported receiving 16 applications from candidates in Georgia but it was unclear if Kilcrease or Daniely were among them.

Tanzy Kilcrease, Bibb County School District’s Chief of Staff, was named as a preferred candidate for superintendent in a public input survey conducted by the Georgia School Board Association on behalf of the Bibb County Board of Education. (Bibb County Schools)

Georgia law requires that school boards release names of at least the final three candidates two weeks before appointing a superintendent. The search process began in October and GSBA officials said it typically takes about five months.

Kilcrease’s name was mentioned no less than a dozen times as the preferred candidate. She is the current chief of staff for the district. She started her career teaching middle school and has held leadership positions including principal at Southwest High School and assistant superintendent.

Kilcrease also serves on the Georgia School Superintendents Association’s Board of Directors among other state and national education-related advisory boards, according to the district’s website.

Daniely is the lead administrator for the VIP Academy. She taught math at Miller Middle School for 11 years before working as an assistant principal and later principal at Westside High School. Daniely also oversaw several federally-funded grant programs for the school system, according to the district’s website.

Public input responses show stakeholders overwhelmingly want the next superintendent to have experience teaching in the classroom. Numerous comments mentioned the district’s high rate of teacher turnover and the desire for the next superintendent to focus on retaining, understanding, listening to and supporting teachers.

Julia Daniely, lead administrator for Bibb County School District’s VIP Academy, was named as a preferred candidate for superintendent in a public input survey conducted by the Georgia School Board Association on behalf of the Bibb County Board of Education. (Bibb County Schools)

Respondents indicated the following personal traits are most important for the district’s next leader to embody: Honest and ethical, problem-solver, communicator and transparent. Many implored the BOE to thoroughly investigate and vet candidates having lived through the tenure of or worked under disgraced former school Superintendent Romain Dallemand. Dallemand, hired in late 2010, was the district’s top leader for 28 months before the BOE bought out his contract. In the years after that, a criminal saga played out in federal court trials and civil lawsuits related to the defrauding of the school district of millions of dollars through purchases of bogus compuer equipment.

The school board is set to hold a called closed-door meeting at 8 a.m. Monday in the Maple Room at the Macon Convention Center. Personnel matters are among the topics to be discussed at the meeting, but the board is not expected to take any action.

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