The Thomas County Board of Education has named Associate Superintendent Dr. Lisa Williams as its sole candidate to succeed Dr. Dusty Kornegay as superintendent of the county school system upon his retirement which will be effective June 1, 2018.
Kornegay informed the school board in January that he plans to retire at the end of the 2017-2018 school year, and he provided official notice of his retirement in a letter to the board in June.
During its spring training session, board members were briefed by Bill Sampson of the Georgia School Boards Association on options for superintendent succession. Boards may promote a qualified member of its staff to the position of superintendent or conduct a search for an outside candidate.
After reviewing superintendent qualifications and the overall goals of the district, the board decided to promote from within.
State law provides that a school board may name a new superintendent up to twelve months before an anticipated vacancy in order to provide a smooth and orderly transition.
“Healthy organizations have a succession plan for key leadership positions,” Kornegay said. “Dr. Williams began planning for this next step in her career several years ago by completing the Georgia School Superintendent’s Professional Development Program and her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership. I congratulate her upon this appointment and look forward to working with her throughout the upcoming year as she makes plans to lead the school system into the future.”
After serving in the Decatur School System for seven years, Williams joined the Thomas County School System ten years ago, serving as a school counselor, Director of Student Services, and Assistant Superintendent.
Williams has been involved in writing several grants that have produced millions of dollars in funding for the school system over the last five years, and she has introduced a number of new programs including an evening nutrition program for students, a crisis counseling program in partnership with Georgia Pines, and a virtual education program for home school students.
As assistant superintendent, Williams has worked closely with the school board on revising the school board’s entire board policy manual. She also worked with the board and the state department of education on developing the system’s current Strategic System Contract which grants the system freedom from many state rules and regulations in exchange for higher accountability standards.
Williams met with the board during a work session in June and outlined her plans for conducting a system-wide needs assessment during the 2017-2018 school year to revise and update the system’s strategic plan which was crafted early in Kornegay’s tenure. Having this year of transition will allow her to meet with faculty, staff, parents, students, and community leaders as she works with the board to shape the system’s vision for the future.
Kornegay plans to complete the 2017-2018 school year as superintendent and will include Williams in all personnel and budgeting decisions.
Board member Charles Evans made the motion that Dr. Lisa Williams be named Superintendent Designee to follow Kornegay. Mark NeSmith provided the second, and the vote was unanimous.
Chairman Nancy Hiers stated, “We are very pleased to announce Dr. Lisa Williams as Thomas County Schools’ next superintendent beginning in 2018-2019. The vote was unanimous which states that she will have the full support of the board.”
Board member Mark NeSmith said, “Dr. Williams has already proven to be a valuable asset to Thomas County Schools. We are very fortunate to have someone of her caliber ready to step up and lead our system. I look forward to a seamless transition next year. I don’t think we will miss a beat.”
Board member Kay Streets agreed, “Lisa has been very instrumental in the positive direction of our system. Her commitment to Thomas County is evident through her leadership and hard work.”
Williams stated, “I want to thank the members of the Board for this opportunity, and I look forward to working with them and the Thomas County Schools’ faculty, staff, students, and parents as a team to continue moving our system to great heights. I want to thank Dr. Kornegay for his guidance and support and look forward to working with him throughout this coming year.”
The board approved a three-year contract for Williams with the first year being associate superintendent/superintendent designee with the following two years as superintendent with the terms of the contract to be worked out by Williams and Board Chair Hiers.
The board is expected to approve Williams’ contract at a meeting on July 25. Georgia law specifies that systems announce a potential superintendent candidate’s name fourteen days prior to the award of a contract.