Three finalists for Douglas County Schools superintendent have been selected by the Board of Education.
The BOE announced the finalists during a called meeting Tuesday afternoon.
The three candidates, all from Georgia, are Dr. Donna Ray Hill of Snellville; Trent North of Carrollton; and Dr. Barry Williams of Bremen.
Hill, who resides in Snellville, is currently employed with BRP Associates, LLC as an educational consultant. In her position, she provides leadership coaching to district leadership and school boards on strategic planning and school improvement plans. She served as a middle and high school principal in the Clayton County School System and was a high school principal in the Greene County School System.
Hill served as superintendent with the Macon County School System from 2014-2017. She also worked as an assistant principal in both Gwinnett and DeKalb School Systems. Hill also served as a middle school band director in the DeKalb and Dougherty School Systems.
He received a bachelor’s degree in music education from the State University of Florida, Florida A&M in 1992, and master’s and doctorate degrees in educational leadership from Clark Atlanta University.
North, who resides in Carrollton, is a returning principal at Carrollton Middle School, a school he founded and led between 2005-2011.He currently serves a District 1 Commissioner and vice chairman on the Carroll County Board of Commissioners, a position which he has held for six terms. He also served as director of public affairs for the Carrollton City School System for five years.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1991 and master’s degree in educational leadership in 1996 from the University of West Georgia. He earned a specialist degree in leadership from Lincoln Memorial University in 2006.
Williams, who resides in Bremen, is currently employed as executive director of special education for the Douglas County School System, where he has served for the past eight years. Prior to that, Williams was a principal and director of middle grades education in the Carroll County School District for 10 years.
He earned a master’s degree in secondary education from West Georgia College in 1992, specialist degree in educational leadership from Jacksonville State University in 2001 and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Alabama in 2010.
Among his honors was being named 1995 Teacher of the Year at Bremen High School and 2005 Administrator of the Year by the Carroll County Association of Educator.
The new superintendent will replace Gordon Pritz, who is retiring May 31 after 40 years in education and seven years as Douglas County’s School Superintendent.
Following a lengthy review process, the school board interviewed eight candidates, which was carried out over the course of May 6 and 7, said Douglas County Board of Education Chairman Tracy Rookard.
“I was extremely impressed with the credentials of the applicants being interviewed,” she said. “Our school system is attracting the very best of the best.”
The BOE is required by law to notify the media and public of up to three finalists at least 14 days prior to the appointment of a superintendent, according to Rookard. The law specifies that all materials received from the candidates be made available, with some personal information, such as home addresses and Social Security numbers, redacted.
The board will make available documents to the public for inspection and/or copying of the three finalists under consideration whom the board has determined to be best qualified for the position, Rockard said.
Rookard said 44 applicants were received from a broad pool of candidates, including candidates from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin. The pool of applicants consisted of 15 women and 29 men, Rookard said.
The school board voted during a called meeting Jan. 9 to approve hiring the Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA) to help the conduct the search for a new school superintendent.
At that time, Trudy Sowar from the GSBA presented an overview to the board of how a school superintendent is conducted. She said the process takes about three months to complete and is based on a leadership competency framework – skills that are required for today’s superintendent.
She said that the GSBA will assist the school board in establishing “operational norms with an induction plan” once the final candidate is selected.
“Within the first 30 days,” said Sowar, “we will facilitate operational norms with the board and superintendent for a smooth entry and to ensure success.”
The cost for the GSBA to conduct the search for a new school superintendent was given at between $7,000 to $8,500 plus expenses.