By: Laura-Jane Hatcher (WRGA News)
Three finalists have been named in the search for Rome City Schools’ next superintendent; Dr. James Arnold, Dr. Jeffery Bearden, and Dr. William McCown.
All three are sitting superintendents in Georgia schools. Arnold is the superintendent of Pelham City Schools out of South Georgia. McCown is local, currently leading the Gordon County Schools. And Bearden, who was a finalist in the Floyd County Superintendent search, heads up the Fayette County School system. They were selected out of a pool of 30 candidates.
The announcement came after a teary final school board meeting for Dr. Gayland Cooper. Board members professed their immense admiration for the retiring superintendent, who has sat in his chair for close to ten years. His impact on the school system was described as ‘immeasurable’ and his final words were met with a standing ovation. Cooper said he is both humbled and blessed to have worked with such a wonderful school system.
“What a great team I’ve worked for. I’m blessed. My only sadness is leaving,” Cooper said. “In one way I’m glad to get out from under the pressure of budget and all the things we have to do to make it work every year. I will continue to live here and hopefully teach some at Berry College-- And be a part of the community. In any way the Rome City Schools call upon me, I will go back to mentor, help or teach, because I love the people and children in these schools. I’ve been blessed. What an honor and privilege it has been to serve here.
A reception in Cooper’s honor will be held on November 25th at 2pm at Elm Street School. As for his potential replacement, the board anticipates making their decision known November 26th.