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CCSD moves closer to hiring new superintendent

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Dr. Robbie Hooker is the sole finalist to be the next superintendent of the Clarke County School District. If the Board of Education approves his hire, he's set to start work in October.

The Clarke County School District is one step closer to hiring a new superintendent after a brief meeting of the county’s Board of Education on Thursday.

In contrast to many school board meetings, which can run for hours, the Clarke County Board of Education wrapped up their first meeting of the school year in under 45 minutes, including the time it took to introduce all the district’s principals and assistant principals.

The move to name Dr. Robbie Hooker, a former Clarke Central principal, as the sole finalist to be the next superintendent, came at the end of the meeting, and board members approved the measure by a vote of 7 – 0. District 3’s Linda Davis was not at the meeting, and newly-sworn-in member from District 1, Heidi Hensley, abstained because she had not been part of the search process. Hensley did say she was supportive of Hooker’s hire, however.

"He checks all the boxes, I think," Hensley told colleagues. "I think a lot of thought has been put into this. I think he will be a great candidate."

Board President LaKeisha Gantt acknowledged concerns from some in the community about the transparency of the hiring process.

"We, in many ways, do wish at times that there could have been more public aspects of the process," Gantt said. "We remain open to hearing any concerns that constituents have. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us."

Thursday’s vote isn’t the final step in the process, however. Right now, Hooker is still a finalist, albeit the sole finalist. Board members will vote again on whether to actually hire him as superintendent.

"After action is taken tonight, there will be a couple of weeks that this information will be out there," Gantt said. "Then the board will take final action in a couple of weeks at a called meeting."

In other business, board members unanimously approved a new policy tasking the superintendent with reviewing curricula and textbooks for bias. The board also unanimously shot down a proposed policy creating a process to deal with complaints about so-called “divisive concepts.”

The need for such a policy came about after state legislators passed a law this year banning the teaching of those divisive concepts. Critics of the law say that it hampers an accurate presentation of US History, and that the vagueness of some of the law’s language could create a chilling effect among Georgia teachers.

Martin Matheny was promoted to Program Director and Content Strategist on July 1, 2022. He has served as the Executive Producer of our local news program 'Athens News Matters', and he covers local government for WUGA News. He started at WUGA in 2012 as a part-time classical music host and still hosts WUGA's longest-running local program 'Night Music' which is heard on Tuesdays and Wednesdays on WUGA at 10pm. 'Night Music' can also be heard statewide on the GPB Classical stream Mondays and Tuesdays at 8pm. As part of 'Athens News Matters' Martin works with student interns to help cultivate the next generation of Public Media rock stars! In his spare time Martin is an amateur book binder and freelance musician who frequently performs with Big Band Athens playing bass trombone. He lives in Normaltown with his wife, Shaye and dog, Murphy.
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